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Historic Fort Snelling, Saint Paul

(4.6/5 based on 130+ reviews on the web)
The history of this place is more than just the story of the fort itself. The junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers is a place of major social, cultural, and historical significance to all people inhabiting the region, a place whose history evokes both pride and pain. It is a place of cultural importance to many Dakota people as a historical gathering place, the site of the B'dote creation story, and as a place of Dakota internment and exile after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

This area was also the crossroads of two major river highways of the fur trade, one of the most lucrative businesses during the 19th century. After the War of 1812, the U.S. government established its strategic presence at the river junction with the arrival of military forces and an Indian agent, whose goals were to promote and protect the interests of the United States in the region's fur trade and to gain the friendship and cooperation of American Indian communities. The establishment of the fort and Indian Agency became a foothold of U.S. expansionism in the territory that would become Minnesota.

Fort Snelling also played an important role in the great conflict over slavery in the United States. During the 1820s and 1830s, it is estimated that between 15 and 30 enslaved people lived and worked at Fort Snelling at any given time, in spite of the fact that the Missouri Compromise (1820) made slavery illegal in the region. Dred and Harriet Scott, two enslaved African Americans, used their time held at Fort Snelling as part of their decade-long legal battle to gain freedom for themselves and their children.

Located on top of the bluff overlooking the river junction, Fort Snelling served the U.S. military for over 120 years, through conflicts at home and abroad, and thousands of Minnesotans received their first taste of military service within its walls. By the late 20th century its national cemetery became the site of the final resting place for more than 180,000 men and women who served in the armed forces. Today, the historic fort has been restored to its early 19th century appearance, and the site's living history program brings the past to life!
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is a really fun place to take the whole family. You get a feel for what life was like in the military during the Civil War and early Minnesota history. 
  • Located on the East side of the airport this golf course with nine holes is a 5-minute drive from the main station. In marginal condition generally, it can go in two hours or less. There are rather beat clubs rent available. Help with long stops.
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  • I've lived 15 minutes away from Fort Snelling for almost 40 years and just recently visited. It is a fun place to learn about our history and to get a glimpse into what life was like for our soldiers....  more »
Google
  • Much better than my last visit (which was also very enjoyable) they have been really working towards making this a first class historical sight!
  • Cool park. It's really cool all year (even though you can't go inside the fort in the winter).
  • I have taken my kids a couple of times, worth learn about the history of the area. People in costumes make it fun and easier to imagine what it was to live back then in the Fort.
  • Fort Snelling is awesome. They have tons of reenactors and do different army demonstrations throughout the day. Great family spot if your looking for some where to take your kids this summer.
  • Great place to visit on foot, bike, etc. History plus great recreation paths for miles! Enjoy.