Fort Scott - Western National Parks Association

Fort Scott

National Historic Site


Promises broken! A town attacked at dawn! War making thousands homeless! Soldiers fighting settlers! These are the stories of Fort Scott from 1842 to 1873. Structures, parade ground, and tallgrass prairie bore witness to the country’s transformation from a young republic into a united transcontinental nation.

Explore the Park

Located in southeastern Kansas near the Missouri border, Fort Scott National Historic Site is the most complete example of a US Army fort from the Permanent Indian Frontier. The site was established on October 18, 1978 to preserve and interpret pivotal periods in US history. Active from 1842 to 1853, and reactivated in 1861 at the start of the Civil War, the fort played a key role in the US Army’s opening of the West—Manifest Destiny. This role, and the continued westward expansion of white settlements, hastened the demise of the Permanent Indian Frontier, which the fort was originally established to protect.  In the late 1850s, pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions moved to Kansas, including Fort Scott. Violence and unrest between these two groups became known as Bleeding Kansas—the civil strife over slavery in the Kansas Territory that riveted the nation and helped ignite the Civil War. Because of this unique history, the park is an important place to interpret the country’s policies in the 1840s and 1850s—park visitors can learn more about the buildings, grounds, and history preserved there for more than 150 years. The story of the military garrison and the civilian town of Fort Scott, from frontier patrols to agents of westward expansion, is the story of the United States—a story of promises made and broken, dreams shared and shattered, and the enduring struggle for the freedom of all people.

Since our founding in 1938

WNPA has provided more than

$136 million

in aid to our partner parks to fund educational programs, initiatives, and scientific research

Kids in Parks

National parks are places where kids can dream up great adventures! Taking in amazing scenery. Testing out new skills. Exploring places kids may have only heard about. But most importantly, creating new memories with friends and family.

Our public lands are our public commons. They belong to all of us as part of our natural and cultural heritage. They remind us of a larger world that has existed long before the arrival of humans and will survive long after we are gone. –Terry Tempest Williams, Author & Conservationist

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Bring the Parks Home

When you can’t get to a national park for a visit, experience it from the comfort of your home. WNPA’s online store is packed with ranger-approved park collectibles, books, toys, and clothing. Shop for a special item.