Wyoming Forts


Wyoming has some of the best known forts in the west. Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger were busy Oregon Trail stops and both still support active tourist’s trade. Today most westward expansion forts are but footnotes in history books, or even less. I found four Wyoming Forts that have great names, but seem lost to all but a very few locals, too bad they didn’t last.

Fort Nonsense - Built in 1832 by Captain Bonneville, six miles west of present day town of Daniel. It was the first fort built in Wyoming specifically for the fur trade. Before it was finished Bonneville realized it was a bad location, too high and too hard to reach. Bonneville and his company abandoned the fort soon after it was completed. The fort was actually named Fort Bonneville, but it was usually referred to as Fort Nonsense or even Bonneville’s Folly. The fort was a stockade, described as 100-foot square and built of 12-inch cottonwood logs, 15 feet high with blockhouses on opposite diagonal corners. The location was close to several of the famous mountain man rendezvous held in the 1820s and 1830s. But they were held in the summer and Wyoming has great mountain summer weather.

Fort Stand Off - Obscure even to citizens of Wyoming and not found in many history books. That is unless a Teton County history book is checked then one might find something about Fort Stand Off. Some believe it to be more legend than fact. It wasn’t really a fort, nothing like a fort in the military sense. Fort Sand Off was an area surrounded by rocks where outlaws held off U.S. Marshalls. Outlaw Cal Thompson was the most famous of those who used this hideout. Maybe it could have been as famous as Hole-In-The Wall if Butch Cassidy would have used it, instead of Cal Thomas, an outlaw lost in history.

Fort Yellowstone – The Military ran Yellowstone Park from 1886-1918. It was the first National Park and congress had not yet set up a way to manage national parks. The headquarters were at Mammoth Hot springs and were called Fort Sheridan, after the Civil War general, but it was soon changed to the more appropriate Fort Yellowstone.

Fort Davy Crockett – Located in Sweetwater County and named by a man who had a friend killed at the Alamo. Like many obscure forts, in the mountain west, it was a fur trading station. And also like other of these forts, it was short lived, opening in 1836 but reportedly abandoned and falling apart by 1844. Must not have been much of a carpenter who built this one.
Trail Ruts a half mile south of our house and 13 miles out of Fort Laramie
 
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