Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park – Burwell, Nebraska


We visited this Fort as it was recommended by a friend whom we visited in Broken Bow, Nebraska in 2015.  Appreciating how we are interested in military history, this proved its worthiness and made a few of our brain cells shine.

We two-upped on my Harley (Dan’s was broken) through a couple small Nebraska towns to see this quiet, out of the way, National Historical State Park. Its located on a lonely county road ten miles southeast of Burwell, Nebraska.  The day we visited in 2015, we were only amongst three other visiting the Fort. We were able to take spectacular photos.
Now, to show you we’ve learned something.



Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park is located near present-day Elyria, Nebraska. This fort, established in the 1870’s, resulted from confrontations between the Indians (mostly Teton Sioux) and settlers in the North Loup River Valley.


Nebraska Native American Sioux vs. Civilian Introductions…

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. Marion Littlefield of Clay County was killed a year later 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 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, a famed Civil War Soldier, lead the detachment that selected the site for a new fort.  Construction began in the fall of 1874 costing $110,000.  Nine major buildings at Fort Hartsuff were built from lime and concrete. 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.  Being we were not pass holders, we obliged through the honor system by placing $6 in an envelope with our travel card. We slid the envelope in the lockbox at the door outside their office.

If you’re interested in more Nebraska tourism, check out our other blogs…

2 Replies to “Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park – Burwell, Nebraska”

  1. If you were an 18 soldier looking for action, looking for excitement, this was not where you wanted to be stationed. Fort Hartsuff, near the North Loup River on the eastern edge of Nebraska’s Sandhills between Ord and Burwell. “They talk about how bored they were, that there really wasn’t a whole lot going on other than like the drills on the parade ground,” said Mary Hughes, who helps run the Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park .

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