Historic Fort Snelling - once a lonely symbol of American ambition in the wilderness - is located at the junction of Minnesota Highways 5 and 55, one mile east of the Twin Cities International Airport, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The fort now serves as a museum that peeks into Minnesota’s past and discovers the significance and impact Fort Snelling had on the surrounding area.
The story of Fort Snelling is the story of the development of the U.S. Northwest. The fort was built in 1825, as an outpost at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. It was a means for controlling river traffic throughout the Minnesota Territory. It remained as an active military post until after World War II.
Minnesota used this fort to train volunteers who wanted to join the Union Army during the Civil War. It was also used as a supply base for the Dakota Territory and a training center for soldiers assigned to the Indian Campaigns, the Spanish American War, and World Wars I and II.
Between 1880 and the early 1900s, scores of new barracks, officers' quarters, and storehouses were built at the post. The fort was withdrawn from its active service during the end of World War II in 1945, and was given to the Veterans Administration. A few years later, freeway construction threatened the future of Fort Snelling.
The fort was designated as Minnesota's first National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1960.
Since then, Historic Fort Snelling has been rebuilt and maintained by both private and public funding and is managed by the Minnesota Historical Society. The historic site, along with 17 buildings, portrays 1820s military life, with demonstrations of blacksmithing, carpentry, and military ceremonies.
The adjacent Fort Snelling History Center provides orientation films and changing exhibits on aspects of Minnesota's past, while Fort Snelling State Park below, offers dozens of hiking trails and natural settings.