Ft. Robinson, Nebraska

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Ft. Robinson, Nebraska

Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:55 am

While many here have been there, I recently went to Ft. Robinson Nebraska for the first time. The fort and its grounds are now a Nebraska state park, used for a wide variety of purposes. Many well preserved buildings are on the grounds, and as a major Remount establishment, I'm sure the fort would be of interest to most of us here. Nebraska's done a nice job with it, and with running it as a multiple use facility.

I took quite a few photos of the post while there and I'm going to put some up on this threat. In looking at the post, it seemed to me that the post essentially had three or four distinct periods while still an Army post, and that the current site reflects that. Therefore, I'm going to bust this thread up into sections as I proceed along. Feel free to comment on everything or anything.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:08 am

Ft. Robinson's history goes back to the Frontier Era, and as a Frontier post, it had the attributes common to posts on the northern plains; log structures, etc. In Ft. Robinson's case, these were largely taken down in the late 19th Century after the post had converted to more modern adobe structures, which were no doubt much more pleasant to live and work in.

None the less, some of Ft. Robinson's most significant history falls in this early period, including the death of Crazy Horse. Recognizing that, Nebraska has reconstructed three Frontier period buildings on what was the old parade ground. These include the old post HQ and the stockade, which figured in Crazy Horse's death.

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Reconstructed Frontier Era buildings.

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Ft. Robinson naturally figured prominently in the Cheyenne Outbreak, the swansong of Cheyenne independence.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:20 am

Reconstructed barracks, also used as a museum.

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Note the incredibly long stove pipe, which runs up to a common chimney where another stove is also vented. My assumption is that this was done in part to provide heat, through radiation, to the structure during the winter.

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A familiar name there.
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Post by mnhorse » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:16 am

Pat,
Thanks for posting the picture, it has been a long time since my last visit. My wife and I spent several days there, way back when.
At the time, they has a nice quiet campground where we parked our camper. There was also a horseback riding concession that ran rides out into the surrounding hills. One of the nights we were there, they had a small "rodeo". Entertaining as only an amateur rodeo can be.
At the time, we commented that the fort was underutilized and underprompted.If it were a few mile North in SD it would have been swarming with tourists.
Richard
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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:47 pm

mnhorse wrote:Pat,
Thanks for posting the picture, it has been a long time since my last visit. My wife and I spent several days there, way back when.
At the time, they has a nice quiet campground where we parked our camper. There was also a horseback riding concession that ran rides out into the surrounding hills. One of the nights we were there, they had a small "rodeo". Entertaining as only an amateur rodeo can be.
At the time, we commented that the fort was underutilized and underprompted.If it were a few mile North in SD it would have been swarming with tourists.
Richard
Richard, I think that description would still be accurate. There's still a campground, or actually three. Two for camp trailers and one, down by the old post cemetery, for tents. When we went through, the tent campground had one tent pitched. At least one of the campgrounds has sewer hookups for trailers. The large enlisted barracks, which I haven't posted a photo of yet, operates as a hotel, and it's possible to rent some of the married officer houses. A horse concession is still there, and there's also a carriage ride concession. You can rent bicycles, including tandem bikes, as well.

Nebraska is essentially operating the post as a historical and a recreational site, which makes it a bit unusual. They seem to be doing a fairly good job of it. I'd guess that Nebraska outdoor enthusiasts probably really like it. Those who expect swankier quarters would not. Most history fans would also like the post.
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Post by Rick Throckmorton » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:37 pm

Very interesting, Pat. Thanks for posting those. A very historically significant post. I'm going to have to put that on the "visit" list.
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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:27 pm

The next series of photographs is from the 1870s and later, when adobe buildings began to come in. I probably should have posted photos of these with the reconstructed buildings, but these ones are originals. The adobe is apparently covered by the wooden clapboards.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:32 pm

Adobe structures were apparently a hit, as more were built in the 1880s.

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One of these structures is open to the public. Rick and I were discussing the construction of period buildings, in terms of the interior temperature, in the Ft. Rirchardson thread ( viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11562 ). This building is an example of what we were discussing, as on the day I visited it the front and side doors were open and a stout breeze was passing through it, even though it was not windy outside.
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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:39 pm

The current appearance of the parade ground partially dates from the 1890s, and partially from the 20th Century. The flag staff is from the 1890s.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:41 pm

Parade Ground.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:42 am

Note that item on the sign about the flagstaff that mules took it down at one time.

Must be one of the many hazards of being a Remount station.
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Post by Pat Holscher » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:05 am

And these are the buildings from the 20th Century. As we know, the post would not only continue on as an Army post, but would became one of the Army's major Remount centers following World War One.

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Flagstaff and the post HQ, now a museum, from this period.

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Enlisted barracks. There were once 15 of these structures on the post, this is the only remaining one. Today, it's a hotel.

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Veterinary hospital.

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These monuments are near the highway, behind the post HQ.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:08 am

The Cemetery, like almost all military cemeteries of this type, no longer contains any bodies a they've been moved to other military cemeteries.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:25 am

Ft. Robinson has a post museum maintained by a society that's dedicated to the history of the post. The museum is in the 20th Century Post HQ building.

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How far back does this pattern of mess kit go?

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Dog shipping crate. During WWII, Army dogs were trained at Ft. Robinson.

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Dog food.
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Post by Pat Holscher » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:35 am

A corner of the Ft. Robinson training range, near the main post but not adjoining it, was used as a POW camp during World War Two. It housed German POWs. None of the structures remain.

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Post by Pat Holscher » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:42 am

Some POW related, or manufactured, items in the museum.

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Afrika Corps uniform donated by a former POW.

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Post by Couvi » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:53 am

It looks like quite an extensive museum! :thumbup:
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Post by wkambic » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:21 am

We've been twice. A MONDO KOOL place. It it wasn't a 2.5 day drive from East TN we'd go more.

We've stayed at Commanche House (a former BOQ), the Main Hotel (former EM Barracks), and shared an officer's house with 12 others.

There is also a very nice campground for both LQ/RV and tent camping.

There are some very nice equine facilities there and the park has over 20,000 acres available for riding. The trails are quite nice and you'll get to see (but not mingle with) the Park's herds of bison and long horns.

There are a couple of big horse shows there each year (one is a Paint Horse event in Sept. that draws hundreds of participants, I'm told).

The downside: the town of Crawford doesn't offer much (population is about 2000, IIRC) and the nearest town of any size is Chadron, about 30 miles away. The Park has an eatery that's open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, then only on weekends (IIRC). Crawford has a couple of places. Some of the Park housing have kitchen facilities. It's not like going to Disneyland.

We very much enjoy it and wish we were closer.
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