Fort Laramie National Historic Site To Celebrate 75th Birthday

"Old Bedlam," the officers' quarters at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, was in dire need of restoration when the Park Service took over the site. Before and after photos by NPS.

Fort Laramie Historic Site, which preserves a frontier fort on the windswept Wyoming plains, will celebrate its 75th birthday as a unit of the National Park System next week.

The designation of the historic site was made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 16, 1938.

The proclamation designating Fort Laramie as a national monument (now, a National Historic Site) didn’t come easy, though. It was the culmination of years of hard work by local citizens and Wyoming government leaders who recognized the historic importance of the old fort and had the foresight to save it for the nation and generations yet to come.

The fort will be celebrating this occasion on Saturday, July 20, beginning at 9 a.m. A series of special talks and programs will be given throughout the day by nationally well-known authors and experts in the history of the 19th century American west. The day will end with Fort Laramie’s annual star gazing program. The schedule is as follows:

* 9 a.m. Mitzi Frank, Superintendent – Welcome

* 9:15 a.m. John Wessels, Regional Director, NPS Intermountain Region – Opening Remarks

* 9:30 a.m. Paul Hedren – Fort Laramie, Custer and the Great Sioux War

* 10:15 a.m. Doug McChristian – Incident at Platte Ferry: Prelude to the First Sioux War

* 11 a.m. Jerry Greene – Sutlers & Traders: Mercantilism at Fort Laramie

* 11:45 a.m. Gerard Baker – Fort Laramie: A Tribal Perspective

* 12:30 p.m. Lunch On your own

* 1:30 p.m. Dr. Danny Walker – The Mystery Solved: Where did the 1866 Barracks Come From?

* 2:30 p.m. Jerry Greene – Sutler’s Store Revisited

* 3:30 p.m. Author’s Book Signing – In front of visitors Center

* 8:30 p.m. Kendall Jacobs – Star Gazing Program. (meet on the Parade Ground)

* Let’s Dig Archeology (Children’s Program.): 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., meet at the large willow tree in front of the Cavalry Barracks

* Park Living History Program ongoing from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

A special 75th anniversary photograph exhibit, The Preservation of Fort Laramie, will be on display in the various historic structures throughout the event.

Refreshments and cake will be served in the park visitor center.