Fort Ridgely Closes

Fort Ridgely Closes (HM1DW4)

Location: Fairfax, MN 55332 Nicollet County
Buy Minnesota State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 44° 27.204', W 94° 44.078'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites


As the frontier moved westward, Fort Ridgely's importance declined. Troops were withdrawn on May 22, 1867, but the buildings and land remained the property of the federal government. Settlers pillaged the fort, carting off stone, wood, and other materials. Squatters turned the commissary into a barn, and even the massive stone barracks—more than 200 feet long and two stories high—was torn down. Ignoring the army's threats to remove them, the illegal homesteaders eventually petitioned the federal government for ownership of the lands they occupied. Legal title was granted in 1874.

The Minnesota Historical Society began archaeological excavations at Fort Ridgely in 1936. Eight building sites were uncovered, and visitors can now see the exposed stone foundations. Site excavations also revealed a long history of Indian occupation prior to the fort's construction. After the excavations were completed, the commissary was rebuilt and used as a museum and assembly hall.

Pillaging the Remains

On one day, no fewer than 100 teams were seen hauling away materials. According to The History of Renville County,

The settlers were all busily engaged picking out the particular material they desired, when word came that a government officer was approaching. One old settler says he never saw anyone move as quickly as did the men there in unloading their wagons and disappearing on the horizon.

Minnesota Historical Society
Fort Ridgely
HM NumberHM1DW4
Series This marker is part of the Minnesota Historical Society series, and the Minnesota: Fort Ridgely Interpretive Series series.
Historical Period19th Century
Historical PlacePark, Monument, Military Installation, Fort, Battlefield
Marker TypeOther
Marker ClassNeither
Marker StyleFree Standing
Placed ByThe Minnesota Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 8:59pm PDT -07:00
Photo Credits: [1] MARTHA DECKER  [2] MARTHA DECKER  
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 361990 N 4923696
Decimal Degrees44.45340000, -94.73463333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 27.204', W 94° 44.078'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 27' 12.2400" N, 94° 44' 4.6800" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 250-294 Co Hwy 30, Fairfax MN 55332, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. This marker could use another picture or two.