Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Interpretive Signs


John (Portugee) Phillips
Here on December 25, 1866 John (Portugee) Phillips finished his 236 mile ride to obtain troops for the relief of Fort Phil Kearny after the Fetterman Massacre.

Magazine (Built in 1849)
Restored here to the 1850-1862 period, the magazine is among the oldest surviving structures at Fort Laramie. It was during this early period that George Balch, 1st Lieutenant Ordnance Corps, sent the following report to the Assistant Adjutant General:

“I find all the ordnance property with the exception of the field guns and their cartridges stored in the magazine arranged with much order and preserved with great care. The different kinds of ammunition piled together in such positions as to be easily reached, and the artillery implements and equipments, the small arms and their equipments properly disposed of on shelves and in boxes.”

Infantry Barracks
In answer to the perpetual need for housing, construction of an enlisted men’s barracks commenced at the opposite end of these foundation ruins. The barracks were extended in this direction as more men were assigned. Kitchens, mess halls, laundress’ quarters and latrines were built behind (to your left).

Home to about 150 men, the two-story barracks were sparsely furnished. Bunks, made of wood by the quartermaster, were two tiers high with each tier accommodating two men. The Indian wars term “Bunkie,” referring to a soldier’s closest comrade, derived from this sleeping arrangement.

The two-story barracks were replaced in 1868 by a one-story barracks.

“Officers Row”
This 1889 winter scene (on plaque) shows buildings along the west side of the Parade Ground which housed Fort Laramie’s officer complement—hence “Officers Row.”

Right to left, the “Burt” House, the “Surgeon’s” quarters, two adobe quarters and “Old Bedlam”.

The surgeon’s eminent position in the social line at Fort Laramie is reflected in this 1888 view (left).

The Sutler’s Store
Parts of this building date from the earliest periods at Fort Laramie. The adobe portion on the left, built in 1849, housed the Post Trader’s Store.

In 1852, the right section was added and used at various times as the Sutler’s office, the Post Office and a game room. The photograph shows an 1877 view.

The rear portion was built in 1883. The Enlisted Men’s Bar and a rustic saloon were on the right; The Officers Club on the left housed the Sutler’s Store in 1875. (Courtesy University of Wyoming Archives and Western History Dept.)

Fort Laramie Army Bridge
This bridge was constructed in 1875. It is believed to be the oldest existing military bridge west of the Mississippi River.

Once the then-broad and turbulent North Platte River was spanned, the Cheyenne to Deadwood Route was considered the best road to the Black Hills gold fields. The bridge also influenced the establishment of the famous Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Line. The bridge remained in use until 1958.

Fort Laramie and The Transcontinental Telegraph
The transcontinental telegraph reached Fort Laramie from the east on August 5, 1861. From then until May, 1869, Fort Laramie was a major station on the telegraph line. Soldiers from Fort Laramie protected the line, made repairs, and operated remote repeater stations from Julesburg, Colorado (150 miles to the east) to South Pass, Wyoming (300 miles to the west).

Electrical Engineering Milestone Transcontinental Telegraph
Between July 4 and October 24, 1861, a telegraph line was constructed by the Western Union Telegraph Co. between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, thereby completing the first high speed communication link between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This service met the critical demand for fast communication between these two areas. This telegraph line operated until May, 1869, when it was replaced by a multi-wire system constructed with the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad Lines.

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