Fort Snelling on the Fourth

On July 4th, 2017, we drove to Fort Snelling to celebrate our nationís 241st birthday.† Itís only a half hour from Victoria.

We arrived early, checked out the Mississippi River, went through the museum, and watched a documentary in a small theater.

Volunteers told us that July 4th was Fort Snellingís busiest day of the year.

Like I said, we were there early and so were a few others and the gate to the inside of the Fort wasnít yet open.

Volunteers in period dress contributed to the pioneer atmosphere.

Cold drinks were for sale, but not hard cider or Jamaican Spirits.

It was close to 90 degrees and we wondered how the men in military dress could withstand their heavy uniforms.

By the time the show (the enactment) began, there were thousands of visitors at the Fort.

We learned that Fort Snelling was built in the early 1820ís at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

This post was established to protect the fur trade.

It became the site of military training and operations for conflicts from the Civil War through World War II.

Iím sorry to say we did not bring our children to Fort Snelling as they were growing up.† They could have experienced how the military and citizens of our country fought, suffered, worked, and died to help ensure the freedoms that we enjoy today.

We walked through Officers Quarters and also living quarters, not so plush, for regular infantrymen.

Much of the river traffic is no longer visible because of the trees and lush brush that has grown along the river banks.

As we toured the place, several volunteer women in long dresses and bonnets told us stories from the old days.

The men playing their fife and drum, also in full uniforms, didnít seem bothered by the heat and sun.

Those old rifles still work!† You can see the thousands of visitors surrounding the edges of the Fort.† We had shade too.

We saw the well house which was excavated through 20 feet of solid limestone to supply fresh drinking water to the garrison.

We watched the ceremonial raising of the flag and climbed the rounding stairway to the top of the Round Tower, built around 1820, the stateís oldest building.

The Round Tower was originally a defensive post from where men could see for miles, when traffic was mainly by river.

We could see downtown Minneapolis off in the distance.

We didnít visit everything at Fort Snelling because it was hot and time for lunch and time to move on.† We didnít visit the Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, but I can tell you that I played funeral music on the organ at that chapel for a service held long ago, for a relative of then Victoria Mayor Mary Meuwissen.

I would say that the Fourth of July is the best time to visit Fort Snelling because you get quite a show!

Not me.