Fort Snelling: Boarded up, but far from boring

Along the freeway near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, there’s a long row of old, boarded-up houses. I’ve known for years that they’re part of Fort Snelling, but until today I didn’t know anything about their history.

This afternoon I had the privilege of touring Fort Snelling’s Upper Post, which was named one of the nation’s most endangered historic sites in 2006. Because the buildings are dangerously deteriorated, the grounds are normally off-limits to the public.

But today the National Park Service, the Minnesota Historical Society and the Department of Natural Resources opened the gates for a rare glimpse inside.

The goal was to spur public interest in the site. I think they succeeded: According to John Anfinson, who helped coordinate the tours, about 730 people showed up. Not bad for an event that ran only four hours.

I hope they’ll consider repeating the event, because I’d like to go back. Rarely have I felt so steeped in history.

Here are some pics from my visit today—including some shots of the circa 1941 shuttle bus.

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