"Fort Scott can boast of the handsomest Square in Kansas Territory."
Fort Scott Democrat, praising the town plaza, April 5, 1860
The grassy square in front of you silently witnessed events that defined Fort Scott and that reflected a growing nation. Built originally as the fort's parade ground, this square truly is the heart of Fort Scott.
When the army sold Fort Scott in 1855, the parade ground became a town park called Carroll Plaza. Through the years this ground hosted military pomp, music, laughter, civic pride, political strife, violence, and suffering - events and emotions symbolic of a young America.
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The basic, historic look of the parade ground is seen in this circa-1900 postcard view. Notice all four officers' quarters, and that the well canopy and powder magazine are gone. A bandstand occupies the site where the post flagpole once stood.
A military band practices on the plaza (far left) during the Civil War. In 1862 the Fort Scott Bulletin observed, "The Brass Bands of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry and 9th Wisconsin Infantry, daily discourse the best music, from Carroll Plaza. They are both good bands, and will be much missed when they leave us.
Through the years the plaza survived intact, even though the town grew to its edges (1960s photo, near left).