Fort Larned . Kansas . Circa 1868 . National Park Service . Department of the Interior . Aerial Illustration . Watercolor & Gouache. 27" x 30"
... Fort Larned was a US Army outpost, established by the United States government at the head end of the Santa Fe Trail, located in Kansas, first established as Camp Pawnee Fork in 1859. Its purpose was to provide military cover for wagon trains of westbound settlers migrating into Indian Nation lands and the various commodities traders traveling back and forth beyond the western boundaries of the 37 contiguous states of the Union that existed at that time... and as a major distribution center for Arapaho, Lakota and Cheyenne appeasement annuities. Between 1859 and 1878, 24 different Army Units served at the fort. This illustration represents activities in and around the fort, circa 1868, during the height of its active status. During this period (1867-'69), Ft. Larned was also the forward home of the US 10th Cavalry Regiment, known as the "Buffalo Soldiers". Following completion of the Transcontinental Railroad by the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in 1869... the relevance of Ft. Larned was diminished and by the end of 1878, the fort was decommissioned and abandoned. The land was farmed until the Ft. Larned complex was designated a National Landmark in 1961 and acquired in 1964 by the National Park Service. In 1966, stabilization and restoration of nine surviving sandstone structures commenced, plus a reconstruction of the blockhouse... and currently Fort Larned National Historic Site stands as the most complete and authentic example of a mid 1800's, US-Indian Wars era garrison.