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Fort Assinniboine History
The fort was a typical open plan frontier front built primarily for offensive cavalry operations in the aftermath of the massacre of Custer's command at the Little Big Horn. It was the largest fort constructed in Montana. It had long rows of brick buildings and barracks with castle like towers at the corners surrounding a very large parade ground. At its peak the fort had 104 buildings mostly of local red brick and a complement of 36 officers and 453 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men. Five large company barracks lined the northwest side of the parade while the southeast side was lined with officer's quarters and offices. The area behind the enlisted barracks was lined with long brick stables for the cavalry, the band and the quartermaster.
The most famous officer to serve at the Fort was First Lieutenant John J. (Black-Jack) Pershing (Cullum 3126) who arrived in 1896 with the 10th U.S. Cavalry, a black regiment. Pershing went on to teach tactics at West Point and later became General of The Armed Forces during World War I.
The post was abandoned in 1911. The vast reservation was divided up into the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, the Beaver Creek County Park and Montana State University Northern Agricultural Research Center. The main post area is contained in the Research Center area, some buildings remain but all of the barracks, most of the officer's quarters and all but one of the stables were demolished.
The Fort site is now the home of Montana State University Northern Agricultural Research Center and is open to guided tours. A sign at the entrance indicates that tours are available and lists two phone numbers.
Several original buildings remain including Officer's quarters, a stable, the guardhouse, the library and other support buildings. One of the buildings on officer's row still has a castle like tower that was a part of the architecture of the fort. An original post marker is under a transparent cover near the post flagstaff.
USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry:
- Name: Fort Assinniboine Historical Site Type: Class: Locale ID: 1744165
- Location: Hill County, Montana, US, FIPS Code: 30041
- Latitude: 48.5013858, Longitude: -109.7924273, Elevation: 2671 Map: Herron Park
- As Of: 21 May 1997
- Source: U.S. Board on Geographic Names
Location: 7 miles south of Havre on Hwy 87 at 82nd Ave. W., Montana State University Northern Agricultural Research Center, Hill County, Montana. The fort map point is the post flagstaff. The roadside marker is located on the south side of Hwy 87 just east of 82nd Ave W. The entrance to the old post is located on 82nd Ave W at Fort Circle Road.
Maps & Images
Lat: 48.498397 Long: -109.796736
- Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2, page 68
- Frazer, Robert W., Forts of the West, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1965, ISBN 0-8061-1250-6, page 79
Visited: 24 Sep 2013
Fort Assinniboine Picture Gallery
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