During our visit to Dodge City, Kansas, we drove out to visit Fort Dodge. There are still several historic buildings there, and we enjoyed seeing them all.
Which came first, the city or the fort? Fort Dodge was actually first in 1865, as it was established to provide protection for the Santa Fe Trail. Dodge City was then established a few years later as a place for soldiers from the fort to get drinks, because they could not get any at the fort. The original buildings were just sod dugouts, but soon more permanent buildings were built of wood or stone.
Since 1890, Fort Dodge has been the site of the Kansas Soldiers’ Home, which is still in existence today. However, many of the old fort buildings are still in use.
There is no actual tour of Fort Dodge. However, we did check in at the main office, and they gave us a handout that told the history of the fort and highlighted the historic buildings that were still there. After that, we set out on a walking tour to see what we could see. That handout was the source of much of the information that follows, by the way.
The first building we saw was the Pershing Barracks, which was originally built in 1867. At first, the building was a hospital, and then a barracks. Now, it houses the Commission on Veterans Affairs. The stone construction of many of the buildings is evident here. Most of the stones came from around 15 miles away.
The Fort Dodge Chapel was built in 1902. And as you can see, it was built of wood instead of stone. I always like seeing old church buildings, and this one definitely had an interesting character.
The Army Quartermaster building was built in 1867 using sandstone from the area. It is now the museum and library, although it was closed on the Sunday that we were there. An interesting old wagon was on display, too. It was not actually from the fort, but it was used nearby and was from the time that the fort was in use.
The original barracks buildings were built in 1867 as two separate buildings. They were joined together as a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s and are now known as Nimitz Hall.
This side view of Nimitz Hall, the same building as above, shows the sandstone structure of the building. Just imagine all of the work of moving those stones from where they were found to here, back in the days when there were no large trucks to haul them.
This stone cottage now houses the Fort Dodge Post Office. Maybe it seemed ordinary back when it was built, but now it looks like it would be such an interesting place to live.
The building now known as the Custer House was built in 1867 and was originally the commanding officer’s headquarters. The officer and his family lived on the second floor. It is now the home of the Kansas Soldiers’ Home superintendent.
The Sutler’s Store, built in 1865, originally served as the post office, as well as a place to buy and sell goods. Because of its wood construction, it has a much different character than the stone buildings.
There were many other interesting buildings on the property. These pictured above were just a few of my favorites. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed walking around the property and seeing all of the buildings there. We even talked to a couple of the veterans living there, and they were all friendly and helpful to us visitors.
Just for Fun
Laura thought the Custer House was a good place for a photo. It did have a definite old-time charm to it. Can you imagine living here in the late 1800s, out on the Kansas prairie, as settlers and merchants passed through on the Santa Fe Trail?
Remembering Those Who Served
It is somewhat of a coincidence that these photos are being posted on Memorial Day. Memorial Day is actually to remember those who lost their lives in service to their country, while Veterans Day is to honor all who have served in the armed forces.
However, every day is actually a good day to remember and honor those who have served, as well as those who are currently serving. They sacrifice a lot for our freedom, and we are thankful to them for all that they have done and are now doing.
I hope you feel the same way.
About the Photos
Once again, it was a beautiful day to be out exploring. But I decided to give these photos what is becoming my “Dodge City Look”, with slightly faded colors and a slight brown tint to them. That look seemed to fit the character of the buildings well here.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: April 17, 2022
Location: Fort Dodge, Kansas