Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park – Burwell, Nebraska

Nebraska Native American Sioux vs. Civilian Introductions
We visited this Fort through
recommendation from a friend we visited in Broken Bow, Nebraska.  Knowing how we appreciate military history of
our Country, this proved its worthiness and made a few of our brain cells shine. 
We two-upped on Lisa’s Harley through a couple small towns to see this quiet, out
of the way, historical state park located on a lonely county road ten miles southeast of Burwell, Nebraska.  Today, we
were only amongst three others who were touring the Fort, so we got to take spectacular photos.

Now, to show you we’ve learned something. Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park is located near present-day Elyria, this fort came into
being in the 1870’s because of confrontations between the Indians (mostly Teton
Sioux) and settlers in the North Loup River Valley.

After the Civil War, homesteaders
streamed into the region, eager to lay claim to free government land.  As more and more settlers arrived, they
encroached farther onto lands the Indians had traditionally roamed.  One skirmish between the Indians and settlers
took place in 1873 on the Sioux Creek, 15 miles west of the Fort.  It resulted in the loss of $1500 worth of
horses, which today, would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  A year later, Marion Littlefield of Clay
County was killed by Indians at Pebble Creek near the fork of the North Loup
and Calamus Rivers.
A fort was needed on the North
Loup not only to protect white settlers, but the friendly Pawnee as well. 
The Pawnee Reservation near Genoa was raided
periodically by their traditional enemies, the nomadic Sioux.

Another influencing factor was the
abandonment of Fort Kearny on the Platt River to the south.

General E.O.C Ord, famed Civil
War Solder, lead the detachment that selected the site for a new fort.  Construction began in the fall of 1874 and
cost $110,000.  The nine major buildings
at Fort Hartsuff were built of lime and concrete, since ample supplies of
gravel were available locally.  This
contributed to the ability of these structures to survive.  All the buildings seen in our pictures have
been restored.

To enter this Nebraska State Historical Park, you need to have purchased a Nebraska Annual Park Entry Permit or pay a small fee.  Since we had not purchased the pass yet, we, through the honor system, placed $6 in an envelope with our travel card and placed it in the lockbox at the door outside their office.   The Park Manager was mowing the grass.   Budget cuts??

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