Fort Robinson began in 1874 as a temporary encampment because of
the Indian unrest in the area. It was named for Lieutenant Levi
Robinson, who was killed in February 1874.
|One of the many historic
buildings at Fort Robinson
It expanded and became
one of the largest military installations on the northern
plains. It was the place where Crazy Horse was killed after
surrendering in 1877 and the site of the last great Cheyenne
Outbreak in 1879.
Unlike many of the forts built to protect
settlers for Indian attacks, Fort Robinson continued on into the
It became the nation’s largest
quartermaster remount depot in
1919 after the Remount Service was officially activated. The
fort also served as an Olympic equestrian training center from
1935 to 1939. No wonder so many horsemen visit the fort.
When I visited, I found an well-equipped riding stable where
visitors can rent a horse for a trail ride or you can bring your
own and have it stabled here. The park has two stables. Although
the park is 22,000 acres, there are about 40 to 70 thousand
acres you can ride.
|The horse is reminiscent of the
Fort Robinson served as a remount station
You can take a horse drawn wagon tour if
you aren't a rider. There are still a lot of the original army
buildings. I visited the old blacksmith shop. It really takes
you back to the old days.
When World War ll broke out, it served
the country as a war dog training camp and a prisoner of war
camp. According to Peter Wilson, at one point there were as many
as 3000 POWs housed here.
It also was a base of the new Women's Army Corp (WACs). You can
only imagine how the arrival of these women must have been
looked forward to by the male soldiers serving at Fort Robinson.
|WAC display in the Historical
||Former headquarters building now
gift shop and musuem
The WACs were quartered in barracks built behind the officers
quarters. They preformed jobs on the post ranging from
secretarial to truck driving and transporting prisoner of war to
|Replica of the stockade office
where Crazy Horse was held
The museum in the Post Headquarters
Building above the gift shop is maintained by the historical
society and tells a lot more about the WACs at Fort Robinson. It
also had a lot of informational about the dogs that were trained
there and other fort information. Be prepared to spend a lot of
time browsing all the interesting information, artifacts and
There is another museum near the marker
where Crazy Horse was killed that relates more to the earlier
operation of the fort during the Indian Wars. Be sure to visit
the stockade where Crazy Horse was imprisoned just next door to
Today, the park is still serving the
public. It has about 55 buildings averaging over 110 years old.
I stayed in the officers' quarters and as Park Superintendent
Mike Morava stated, "I challenge you to find another 1874
building you can stay in overnight."
The Officers Quarters are comfortable,
spacious and well equipped but not luxurious. For me the thrill
was lying in my bed and wondering about the officers who had
stayed here many years ago. Perhaps a young lieutenant just out
of West Point anticipating a long career in the army or an
captain with his wife and children may have called this his
You can stay in the enlisted men's
quarters or camp here too either with your tent or an RV. During
the heat of the day, you can head for the indoor Lindeken Pool,
complete with outdoor wading pool and sun deck.
|A big horn sheep jumps down a
||Fort Robinson's wagon tour
The park has a
well established little theater for entertainment. There is also
a rodeo every Thursday. This is more like a little town than a
park. For nature lovers, there is hiking, kayaking, canoeing on
the White River.
The park has jeep tours, where you can get an
ride among the buttes. I took this one and was thrilled to have
a really good view of the newly re-introduced long horn sheep.
|Dining room at Fort Robinson
Fort Robinson has more facts than a history
book and is so much more fun.