Fort Simcoe

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Fort Simcoe State Park
Fort Simcoe Blockhouse.jpg
Location Yakima County, SW of Yakima on SR-220
Nearest city Yakima, Washington
Coordinates 46°20′34″N 120°50′13″W / 46.34266°N 120.83691°W / 46.34266; -120.83691Coordinates: 46°20′34″N 120°50′13″W / 46.34266°N 120.83691°W / 46.34266; -120.83691
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 located eight miles (13 km) west of modern White Swan, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.


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 by future Civil War general Robert S. Garnett and was in use for three years. In 1859, the military turned the fort over to the Yakama Indian Agency.[1] 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.

Fort Simcoe, circa 1930s (HABS archives)

Park and museum[edit]

Fort Simcoe State Park is located in an old oak grove watered by natural springs. It 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. ^ Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-918664-00-6. 

External links[edit]