Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

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Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Fort Union Trading Post NHS.JPG
View inside Fort Union from the Southwest bastion looking towards the Bourgeois (manager's) house.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is located in North Dakota
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is located in the United States
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
LocationMcKenzie and Williams counties, North Dakota, and Richland and Roosevelt counties, Montana[1]
Nearest cityWilliston, North Dakota
Coordinates47°59′58″N 104°2′26″W / 47.99944°N 104.04056°W / 47.99944; -104.04056Coordinates: 47°59′58″N 104°2′26″W / 47.99944°N 104.04056°W / 47.99944; -104.04056
Area444 acres (1.80 km2)
ArchitectAmerican Fur Company
Architectural styleGreek Revival, Other
Visitation16,940 (2005)
WebsiteFort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
NRHP reference #66000103
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966[2]
Designated NHLJuly 4, 1961[3]
Designated NHSJune 20, 1966

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is the site of a partially reconstructed trading post on the Missouri River and the North Dakota/Montana border, 25 miles from Williston, North Dakota. It is one of the earliest declared National Historic Landmarks in the United States. The fort, possibly first known as Fort Henry or Fort Floyd, was built in 1828 or 1829 by the Upper Missouri Outfit managed by Kenneth McKenzie and capitalized by John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company.[4]

Fort Union was the most important fur trading post on the upper Missouri until 1867. It was instrumental in developing the fur trade in Montana. Here Assiniboine, Crow, Cree, Ojibwe, Blackfoot, Hidatsa, Lakota, and other tribes traded buffalo robes and furs for trade goods including items such as beads,[5] clay pipes,[6] guns, blankets, knives, cookware, cloth, and alcohol. Historic visitors to the fort included John James Audubon, George Catlin, Sha-có-pay, Father Pierre DeSmet, Sitting Bull, Karl Bodmer, Hugh Glass, and Jim Bridger.

The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961[3][7] and was named Fort Union Trading Post by the National Park Service to differentiate it from Fort Union National Monument, a historic frontier Army post in New Mexico.

Today, the partially reconstructed Fort Union interprets how portions of the fort may have looked in 1851, based on archaeological excavations as well as sketches by contemporaries, including Rudolf Kurz, the post clerk in 1851.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (April 17, 2015), Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 4/06/15 through 4/10/15, retrieved April 23, 2015.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ a b "Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  4. ^ John Matzko, Reconstructing Fort Union (University of Nebraska Press, 2001), 11.
  5. ^ De Vore, Steven LeRoy, 1992. BEADS of the BISON ROBE TRADE: The Fort Union Trading Post Collection. Friends of Fort Union Trading Post, Williston, North Dakota.
  6. ^ Sudbury, J. Byron, 2009. Politics of the Fur Trade: Clay Tobacco Pipes at Fort Union Trading Post (32WI17). Historic Clay Tobacco Pipe Studies Research Monograph 2. 225 pages. Clay Pipes Press, Ponca City, Oklahoma 74602-2282 USA.
  7. ^ Roy A. Matteson (October 5, 1951) National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings: Fort Union, National Park Service and Accompanying 1 photo from July 1948.

External links[edit]