Little Forts on the Prairie



Last Friday, the four oldest granddaughters and I took a little field trip. Sort of an End of the Summer thing. Or, “Yay! School is just around the corner!!”, which describes the granddaughters’ attitudes but definitely NOT the grandsons. They are SO not ready to go back.

But I digress…our field trip.


There’s a town about 30 miles east of us called Larned. And right before you get to the town, there’s Fort Larned.  Back when the Santa Fe Trail was heavily traveled (we’re talking the 1860’s through the 1890’s) Fort Larned was a main supply stop for wagons headed west. Not only that, but the fort served to protect the settlers from “hostiles” and then later, with the coming of the railroad, the fort helped protect the railroad workers who were building the rails.

I’ve always been fascinated with forts.  The Alamo wasn’t an official fort but that’s where it all started…when I was twelve and stood in the main hall of the Alamo and could’ve sworn I heard Col. Travis  and Jim Bowie whispering. There’s just something about that place…

That was about when I sent off for this sketchbook…yep, it’s OLD!!! An official antique.  I spent hours and hours looking through the pages of this book and still do!

Our house was built-in the fashion of Texas forts back in the day, although I didn’t realize it until 30 years after we built it.  I was actually designing the house after a home in my hometown…a doctor’s home. I had worked with his wife on a convention and loved their home, which had been designed to mimic Fort Fisher in Waco.  And when it was all said and done, our house was closer to Fort Fisher due to the limestone rocks we used instead of the doctor’s bricks.


Where was I?

They insisted on a pic in front of the canon??

They insisted on a pic in front of the canon??


Anyway, we headed east last Friday and had a blast!  I told them we were going to see how Pa and Maw Ingalls might have lived and that pumped them up big time.  Actually, the Ingalls were no where close to us and never lived in a fort (that I know of) but the time period is close and besides, Larned was a vital town for our family in the early days.


This is a really well-kept fort. You should see it if you’re ever “Out West”. There are tour guides or you can walk through the buildings at your own pace, which is what we did.

The girls were fascinated with the commissary.

The girls were fascinated with the commissary.


I had planned on spending an hour or so at the actual fort and then head up the road to the main museum.  The girls got so involved in checking out each building that we never made it to the museum.  We’ll do that at a later date.

They really surprised me with their enthusiasm though!  I had to drag them out of the fort school.  They would still be there taking turns being “teacher” if I would have let them!!



No idea what caused the giggles!??


“Laura and Carrie” know the answer!


We ended the trip by taking backroads home.  One of the main roads in our area for the last hundred years or so goes past many of our corn and wheat fields from Larned.  And it goes through the area where the girls’ great-great-great grandfather lived and raised a family of twelve children.  And right at the corner on the quarter where he built his house years ago is a red brick building…called “The Brick”…he taught school there and preached there on Sundays.


They really REALLY wanted to go into the building, which is still in remarkably good shape, but I held them off with the reminder that rattlesnakes LOVE old buildings especially in the hot summertime.  Worked like a charm.

Of course, they’re planning a trip BACK after the first freeze.

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3 Responses to Little Forts on the Prairie

  1. Frances King says:

    What a fun day


  2. Pingback: Fort Griffin: A Frontier Oasis | Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Country Life

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