Sunday, September 1, 2019

Fort Laramie excursion. Part 1

Saturday morning after the fog burned of and the wind still hadn't picked up we jumped in the Jeep and went back out to the Oregon Trail Ruts. Bill got the drone out. Turned on the controller and NOTHING. The drone would not fly! Why? Well because according to the tablet controller "No Fly Zone - Restricted Air Space Guernesy National Guard Air Base." Some how they manage to jam the mechanics so the drone will not even try to lift off the ground. Well crap! But that is for another day. 
Yesterday we went about 15 miles east to Fort Laramie. Going through Guernesy I finally got a good picture of this old two story building. Looks like it is apartments now. 
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad came to Guernsey County in 1854. In 1873 another railroad was established. So there was excellent rail service in all directions. This happened just as coal was being mined in the county. The mining soon became the principle industry of the area. Hundred of immigrants from central Europe moved here to work in the coal mines.
There are hundreds of train cars loaded with coal
Or waiting to be loaded. And tracks and tracks with more cars. 
We stopped at a rest area for some more information about the area. 

Some information about the river.
Mexican Hill was a part of the trail. The more I read from the emigrants - the more I'm amazed so many went west.
Mexican Hill is out there somewhere.
What a view. Imagine looking at that and knowing you will be traversing it on foot.
Just before we got to Fort Laramie we came to this old iron bridge across the river.
This iron bridge was built by the Iron Bridge Company. It was started in August 1875 and finished by February 1876 at the cost of $15,000.
Can't drive out on it any more, but I walked out a ways and it look to be in darn good shape. 
Why it was built. 
This part of the bridge is now over dry land. But I understand the river used to flood this area . And that is why the Oregon Trail went up over the rocks instead of right next to the river. 

Saw this sign for Fort Laramie which we could see in the distance. So took the gravel road it was pointing at. 
OOPS! Not the road to the Fort but the road around a cemetery. Thank goodness it lead back out to the street. Thought this was an unusual marker. 
Oh yes, on the right road. No charge to visit.
 Sitting way up on a rise away from the rest of the buildings. It was the hospital. Had 12 beds, a dispensary, kitchen, isolation room and the surgeons office. It was the first concrete building at the Fort. Built in 1873.
 The Cavalry Barracks built in 1874.Kitchen and mess room downstairs. Sleeping Quarters upstairs. I meant to go back and check it out after going to the Visitors Center. But forgot.
Some information about the Fort through the years. 

Tens of thousands of people! The second paragraph is interesting. 

There was so much construction around the Visitor Center I didn't think it was open. But persistence paid off - There was a way in. Looks like there was a lot off water damage so they were getting a new roof. 
This was a big fort. No walls around it like some we've seen and what you see in the movies. 

Back outside looking at the parade grounds. 
Built in 1849 this was the Post Trader's Store. Also housed the Post Office. 

 And an office. 
 Had to take this picture through a window.
 I think they are going to have to give this building a new roof too. Lots of water damage in it.  
Bill took the next set of pictures. He was talking to the Ranger and learned a lot about the Covered wagons. 

This was an original wagon from that time, of course it has been restored. Notice there is no seat on the front of it where you could sit and ride. According to the Ranger the women and children walked. Also any man without a horse or mule walked. They were a lot narrower then they seem in movies. 
 Quite high up off the ground too.
No room inside to sleep. The wagons were filled with possessions. The further west they went and the more tired the oxen or horses got and the rougher the terrain more and more of the stuff was discarded along the trail.

A Mormon Handcart. Imagine pulling that from Saint Louis to their destination. To read about that Click Here
I'm going to stop here. Will continue our visit of the Fort in the next blog. 
We didn't do much today - just too hot out for me.


Kathy Tycho said...

A real up close look at American history. I thought the wagons must be narrow judging by your photos of the cuts through the rock in the previous blog.

Carol and Bill said...

Can you imagine doing that trip? Sure is different then they show in movies.