"The Crossroads of a Nation Moving West." This unique historic place preserves and interprets one of America's most important locations in the history of westward expansion and Indian resistance.
Fort Laramie, the first garrisoned post in Wyoming, is located adjacent to the town of Fort Laramie near the confluence of the North Platte and Laramie rivers. It was the most important outpost on the major emigrant trails – the Oregon, Mormon and California. The fort was named in honor of Jacques La Ramie, a French fur trapper who worked in the tributaries of the North Platte in the early 1800s.
Fort Laramie had its beginning in June, 1834, when fourteen Rocky Mountain Fur Company men built a small stockaded post. The post, under different names, served the varied, changing needs of thousands who lived there or passed through the area on the way to “greener pastures” during its active 56-year existence.
Fort Laramie became a haven for gold seekers and weary emigrants, a station for the Pony Express and the Overland Stage, and it served as an important military post during the Plains Indian Wars. It witnessed the growth of the open range cattle industry, the coming of the homesteaders and the final settlement in the 1890s marking the closing of the frontier. The fort was abandoned in 1890, the year that Wyoming gained statehood.
For the next 50 years, Fort Laramie went untended. In 1937, Wyoming appropriated funds for its purchase and donated the fort to the federal government. The 214 acres of former military reservation land was proclaimed a national monument in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Today, the site is managed by the National Park Service, which is charged with its protection and restoration. The historic structures reflect the drama of life and actions of the fort’s people – military and civilian, resident and transient alike. There are 22 original structures, many of which have been restored and are available for the enjoyment of visitors.
This national historic site is located three miles southwest of the town of Fort Laramie off U.S. Route 26.