Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fort Maginnis ...

The United States Army had a very strong presence in Montana during the last third of the nineteenth century, in large part a military response to the Custer massacre of 1876. Scattered across much of the territory, the Army's forts were busy and often well-built places ... but most of them also had fairly short lives.

One of the lesser-known Montana posts was Fort Maginnis, situated in a remote but lovely ranching area a little southeast of the Judith Mountains in Fergus County. The fort was established in 1880 and abandoned a decade later, as Montana's perceived "Indian threat" rapidly faded. There's almost nothing left at the site today, except the old post cemetery ... though the military burials there were exhumed ages ago.

This evocative old photo of Fort Maginnis dates from 1886. The buildings in the background are Officer's Quarters, built using standard military blueprints of the era.

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