Historic Fort Snelling Project Moves Forward

The legislature included $4 million for the revitalization of Historic Fort Snelling in the capital investment budget passed May 26th. This money will fund design work, the next step toward construction. MNHS will advocate for the remaining $30 million in the 2018 legislative session.

About the Revitalization Effort

MNHS is asking for $34 million in state support to complement an additional $12 million in privately raised funds for this opportunity to present the fort and its stories in meaningful ways. If the remaining $30 million is appropriated in the next legislative session, MNHS will be on track to open the revitalized site in time for its 2020 bicentennial.

The revitalization includes renovating two historic buildings to create a new visitor center and field trip orientation space. Wayfinding will be enhanced and a park-like plaza for commemoration and reflection will be created, along with new exhibits, programs, and amenities.

Click here to learn more about how you can thank Governor Dayton and state leaders for this investment and ask for their support in funding the construction in the 2018 legislative session. 

Fort Snelling and the Civil War

by Stephen E. Osman
New book in our online store - order now!

One hundred fifty years ago, our state offered the first volunteers to defend the Union in the fight against slavery. Every Minnesota soldier passed through historic Fort Snelling to the fighting. Using detailed research and first-hand accounts, Stephen E. Osman’s new book, Fort Snelling and the Civil War, tells the stories of the men and women who created a community in the old Fort.

“Here is the finely-grained and authoritative history of Fort Snelling during the Civil War-era that it has long deserved. Osman offers a history that is carefully told, wonderfully illustrated with contemporary photographs and maps, and enlivened with the voices of the fort’s military and civilian inhabitants, its prisoners, and visitors. In Osman’s capable hands, we learn the fort’s important role in the story of wartime militarization, as the site of the horrific reprisals and internment of indigenous people following the 1862 uprising, and as a destination for enslaved people seeking freedom. It is an enlightening, painful, and engaging history that will appeal to scholars and general readers alike.”

—Leslie A. Schwalm
Professor of History and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, University of Iowa
and author of Emancipation’s Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction in the Upper Midwest

Fort Snelling Then and Now: The WWII Years

by Stephen E. Osman
Order now through our online store

Mr. Osman spent three decades as the Manager of the Historic Fort Snelling site and was the last resident of the Officer’s Quarters on the Lower Post. This extensive commitment and knowledge of the entire Fort Snelling area adds personal knowledge to the photos and narrative regarding the historic buildings.

Beginning with a discussion of how the Fort inducted nearly 300,000 men and women during World War II and how the Fort underwent changes in preparation, Mr. Osman provides the reader with an interesting and easily followed description of the history up until the beginning of World War II. As we drive by today, it is astonishing to think that in 1942 there were over 1000 soldiers and civilians working to process 800 soldiers each day. While housing all the necessary functions required to move the new recruits through the steps to mobilize, the Fort also served one particularly unique function. The Military Intelligence Language School graduated 6000 students, mainly in Japanese. The other chapters offer detailed descriptions of the Lower Post, the Quartermaster Yards and Supply Depots, the Upper Post and the Reception Center, Officer’s Club, Ranges and National Cemetery. The photographs (both “vintage” and more recent) serve to enhance the accompanying narrative. Whether you have a relative who was stationed at Fort Snelling during the World War II years or you have taken a walking tour, check out this book!

Review provided by Carol M. Forbes, Member of Friends of Fort Snelling Board of Directors

Nation's Leading Historic Preservation Organization Names 'Bdote Fort Snelling' a National Treasure

Washington, DC (April 20, 2016) - The National Trust for Historic Preservation today named "Bdote Fort Snelling" a National Treasure, bringing a national spotlight to a historic place which reveals the richness of the American story. Bdote Fort Snelling is the first National Treasure designated by the National Trust in the state of Minnesota.

This designation by the nation's leading preservation organization is in recognition of the site's connections to Native American history, its role as a military post during the 19th and 20th centuries, and its connection to several significant events in American history, from the Dred Scott decision to the Japanese language school that was part of the World War II effort...

At a press event held at Bdote Fort Snelling this morning, the National Trust, along with the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Friends of Fort Snelling announced their intention to work towards developing a vision for the area's future revitalization. With a unified vision and an effective, empowered governing entity, the coalition believes that Bdote Fort Snelling could once again be a thriving center of community life in the Twin Cities.

For complete National Treasure coverage, click here to visit our featured content page

Who are the Friends of Fort Snelling?

Our History

The Friends of Fort Snelling was established in 1961 as the Fort Snelling State Park Association. The non-profit advocacy group was integral in both establishing Fort Snelling State Park and in preserving and restoring Historic Fort Snelling.

Over the years we have helped to expand and protect the Park and Fort by working to acquire funding for land and facilities, most recently the Thomas Savage Visitor Center. We have long supported new educational and interpretive programs for the Historic Fort and the State Park.

Our Purpose

To Preserve...
The natural and historical resources of the unique area where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers converge and peoples have been meeting for centuries.

To Promote...
Recreational opportunities in the metropolitan Twin Cities only state park.

Educational opportunities using Fort Snellings nationally significant historical resources.

Increased citizen support for continuing development of these public sites.

To Assist...
Fort Snelling sites staff with acquisition of resources to maintain and improve programs and amenities.

The professional staff of the sites with educational and recreational programs.

Become a member

Members of the Friends of Fort Snelling

•  Act as advocates for both Historic Fort Snelling and Fort Snelling State Park.
•  Encourage preservation of the Fort Snelling area’s natural and historical character.
•  Seek financial support for Park and Historic Fort projects.
•  Assist the professional staff through volunteer efforts.

Our members receive

•  An informative quarterly newsletter with unique content and links.
•  Invitations to Friends-sponsored events and volunteer opportunities
•  The satisfaction of preserving and promoting some of Minnesota’s premier historic and natural parklands.

Become a Friend of Fort Snelling Today!

Upcoming Events

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We are dedicated to the preservation of the historic and natural values of the Fort Snelling Area

Contact Us:
Office: (651) 455-6100

7926 Barbara Avenue E.
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077

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