Fort Simcoe

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Fort Simcoe State Park
Washington State Park
East (front) elevation of commandant's house - Fort Simcoe, Commandant's House and Blockhouse, Fort Simcoe Road, White Swan, Yakima County, WA HABS WASH,39-WHIT.V,1-6.tif
Commandant's House
Country United States
State Washington
County Yakima
Elevation 1,401 ft (427 m) [1]
Coordinates 46°20′34″N 120°50′13″W / 46.34278°N 120.83694°W / 46.34278; -120.83694Coordinates: 46°20′34″N 120°50′13″W / 46.34278°N 120.83694°W / 46.34278; -120.83694
Area 200 acres (81 ha)
U.S. Army Fort 1856-1859 [2]
 - Indian agency 1859-1923 [2]
 - State park 1956 [3]
Management Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Location in the state of Washington
Website: Fort Simcoe State Park
Fort Simcoe State Park
WhiteSwan FortSimcoe Blockhouse.jpg
Fort Simcoe blockhouse, ca. 1930s (HABS archives)
Location Yakima County, SW of Yakima on SR-220
Nearest city Yakima, Washington
Built 1856
Architect Robert Seldon Garnett; Louis Scholl
Architectural style Gothic Revival
NRHP reference # 74001994
Added to NRHP June 27, 1974

Fort Simcoe was a United States Army fort erected in south-central Washington Territory to house troops sent to keep watch over local Indian tribes. The site and remaining buildings are preserved as Fort Simcoe State Park, located eight miles (13 km) west of modern White Swan, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.[3]


The site was a meeting, trade and culture center for prehistoric tribes of Indigenous peoples of the Americas from areas all around the present state of Washington. Prior to 1850, the site was used as a trade center and campground for the various bands of Native Americans that now make up the Yakama Indian Nation.

The fort was built in the late 1850s in an old oak grove watered by natural springs by future Civil War general Robert S. Garnett. The fort was in use for three years. In 1859, the military turned the fort over to the Yakama Indian Agency.[4] The fort was then converted to an Indian school and the Yakama Indian Agency managed its affairs from the site until the early 1900s. The park was established in 1956.

Park and museum[edit]

Fort Simcoe State Park is a 200-acre (0.81 km2), day-use heritage park on the Yakama Indian Reservation. The park is primarily an interpretive effort, telling the story of mid-19th century army life and providing insights into the lifeways of local Native American culture. Five original buildings are still standing at the fort: the commander's house, three captain's houses and a blockhouse. Various other buildings have been recreated to appear original. Houses are filled with period furnishings. The park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The interpretive center, the original commander's house and two officer's buildings with period furnishings open to the public from April through September on Wednesday through Sunday. The original blockhouse and other recreated fort buildings are not open to the public. Special re-enactments and living history events are held during the year, as well as other special events.


  1. ^ "Fort Simcoe State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ a b Douglas M. Whisman, Historic Preservation Specialist (May 21, 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Fort Simcoe State Park". National Park Service. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Fort Simcoe State Park". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-918664-00-6. 

External links[edit]