Old Fort Boulevard
Fort Scott Kansas 66701United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Both Civil War buffs and casual history fans will appreciate Fort Scott National Historic Site's beautifully preserved buildings and special programming.
Fort Scott National Historic Site might be the main draw in the town of Fort Scott, but it's still a pretty tranquil place. It's not uncommon, on a summer weekday, to share the fort with just a few other visitors. You might even end up with a private guided tour! All the better for imagining what the fort might have been like at its founding in 1842 as an outpost to keep the peace between settlers and Indians, later when the Union trained soldiers here, and in the late 1860s, when the fort helped protect the new railroad being built through town. Your $3 admission pays for a self-guided map tour, cell-phone guided tours, or guided tours in summer. There are 20 tidy white buildings around a serene grassy central field -- 11 are original, the rest reconstructions. The daily routine of the fort comes to life as you walk around. In the infantry barracks, two soldiers shared each narrow bunk bed. The laundress room includes a cot, fireplace and washboards. In the commissary, barrels of coffee, salt pork and other staples give a sense of the soldiers' diets. The level of historic detail is impressive, down to labels in the stable that mark placement of each grooming tool for the horses.