Log in

Fort Snelling Upper Post Tour

  • Wednesday, May 17, 2023
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Fort Snelling Upper Post - Weis Construction Trailer on Taylor Avenue


Registration is closed

Built between 1820 and 1825, Fort Snelling served as one of several Army outposts during Euro-American settlement of the nation’s western frontier. When the frontier passed the Fort, the property was sold and stood empty between 1858 and 1861. It was pressed back into service during the Civil War, providing a base for training and equipping over 22,000 soldiers from the Upper Midwest region. New barracks, barns, warehouses, and kitchens were built outside the stone walls of the original fort.

After the Civil War, the federal government designated the fort as headquarters for the Department of Dakota, which administered the expansive Dakota Territory to the west. The fort was also a staging point for military campaigns against Native American tribes, a tragic chapter of our nation’s past. The fort’s expanded role launched an extensive construction campaign in 1878, producing dozens of new buildings on the Upper Post for training, supplies, and administration.   Seven of the original thirty buildings remain.

Fort Snelling grew during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to meet military needs within and outside of U.S. boundaries, including Word War I. Life was more leisurely during the 1920s and 1930s, when officers played polo on one end of the parade grounds and golf on the other, giving the fort its reputation as “the country club of the army.” After America’s entry into World War II, the fort’s induction center was again filled with new recruits—over 300,000 men were processed by a permanent staff of 1,000. After the war, though, the Army found the fort of little strategic value. It was decommissioned and turned over to the Veterans Administration in 1946.

The nearby restored 1820s historic fort, the Lower Post, has become a popular destination for regional school groups, families, and tourists. The Upper Post area, on the other hand, was overlooked for 50 years, even though it played the primary role in the fort’s history for three-quarters of a century. While sports fields have been added to the parade grounds and the golf course remains in use, visitors have had little incentive to explore the area and its decaying buildings.

However, that has changed. A housing development by Dominium is turning the 26 historic buildings at Upper Post Flats into affordable housing program with a preference for active, former, or retired military members, their dependents, first responders, VA employees, Richfield municipal and school employees. The project, Upper Post Lofts, is now partially occupied and scheduled for completion in 2024.

The tour may include access to select buildings and will be less than one mile walking. The tour guide will be John Stark AIA of BKV Group, Historic Architect and Project Manager.

A signed waiver will be required and solid-toed shoes and appropriate construction site attire required.  Bring a hard hat if you have one.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software