|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Bake House|
| The foundation before you marks the stone bake house, where all the fort's bread was baked. The inner rectangular foundation at the east (right) end marks the oven, while the foundation of the pantry is in the west (left) end. The original wooden bake house burned down in December 1875. The post quartermaster reported that the bakery had been "a miserable affair: a stockade building with the interstices [crevices] plastered. The oven was old and needed constant repairing."
The idea of . . . — Map (db m59749) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Band Barracks|
| A regimental band was located where there were regimental headquarters. The 18th U.S. Infantry band is pictured here. The band's quarters, located between the blockhouse and post trader's store, consisted of two buildings. One was the barracks and the other was a combination mess hall and practice room. When no regimental band was assigned to the fort, the building served, among other things, as the library and chapel.
The Fifth Cavalry Band have returned from their eastern trip. They . . . — Map (db m59787) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Blockhouse|
| This hexagonal building, made of native limestone quarried three miles west of here, was the first building constructed at Fort Hays. The blockhouse was intended as a barracks for soldiers. When it was finished wooden barracks had been built, so it became the commanding officer's headquarters and post adjutant's living quarters.
Although not intended to be a defensive building, the blockhouse had defensive features such as gun slots and possibly a second floor catwalk. However, the fort . . . — Map (db m59767) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Chapel|
| The Fort Hays chapel, acquired in 1872, stood directly behind this sign. The officers' wives wanted a dance hall, but army regulations prohibited the use of military labor and resources to build one. But there was no such regulations regarding chapels. So the women got their dance hall in the guise of a chapel. The building was moved from the recently abandoned Fort Harker, 60 miles east of Fort Hays.
When the building arrived, 25 of its 105 feet length were partitioned off for worship and . . . — Map (db m59789) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Commanding Officer's House|
This single-family residence, built in 1867, was at the center of officers' row. It contained a parlor, dining room, kitchen, and two bedrooms downstairs, and upstairs four bedrooms, a servant's room, and lumber room (storage room). The house remained at Fort Hays until the 1920s. It served as a residence for the principal of the normal school and was later used by the Fort Hays Branch Experiment Station.
Of the 10 houses on officers' row, two officers' quarters and seven foundations . . . — Map (db m59720) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Commissary Warehouse|
The commissary warehouse, which stored the fort’s food supply, was located behind this sign. The commissary officer was responsible for food storage and preventing loss from theft and spoilage. Bars on the windows kept out enlisted men trying to supplement their meager daily rations.
In contrast to enlisted rations, the officers’ “mess,” as described by Captain Albert Barnitz in an 1867 letter to his wife, Jennie, sounds like a feast.
[W]e have good cooks, and the . . . — Map (db m59714) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Enlisted Barracks|
Four enlisted barracks were hastily assembled during the winter of 1867-1868. They faced the parade ground on three sides. Each barrack held a company of 60 to 100 men and consisted of two squad rooms, a room for the first sergeant, and a small storeroom. The mess hall and kitchen were located in back of the barrack buildings.
Quartermaster First Lieutenant Frank Baldwin requested the addition of washrooms to the barracks in May 1870. “The men now have to wash in the open air, . . . — Map (db m59715) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — First Presbyterian Church|
| Hays City's first years were marked with bloodshed, lawlessness, and feuds. Eight Presbyterians sought to form a church that would help create law, order, and decency in the community. Under the leadership of a dauntless woman, "Grandma" Annie Wilson, they organized the First Presbyterian Church on May 27, 1873. This native stone church was built in 1879. — Map (db m59795) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Fort Hays|
This noted U.S. Army post was established in 1865 as a headquarters for troops given the task of protecting military roads, guarding the mails and defending construction crews on the Union Pacific Railway. Fort Hays also served as a major supply depot for other army posts in western Kansas.
The coming together of the fort, the railroad, and the Smoky Hill Trail resulted in the creation of nearby Hays City, where free-spending soldiers, freighters, and railroad workers frequented dance . . . — Map (db m59207) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Fort Hays|
| As settlement increased in the West during the 1850s and 1860s, the U.S. Army built and maintained a series of frontier forts, usually on major transportation routes. Trail traffic and railroad expansion came into conflict with native people who had lived here for hundreds of years. The forts were established to protect settlers and enforce treaties made with native tribes.
The U.S. Army operated Fort Hays on this site from 1867 to 1889. In addition to its primary purpose of protecting . . . — Map (db m59794) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Fort Hays - Fort Dodge Road Trailhead — 1867 - 1872|
Used to transport military
supplies from Fort Hays to
Fort Dodge 75 miles southwest
Used by civilians until 1879 — Map (db m59716) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Fort Hays Military Cemetery|
Often times soldiers who died while fighting were buried where they fell. Most who died at or near the post were buried at the fort's military cemetery, approximately one mile northwest of here. Nearly 25 of the 175 buried here were civilians. The first burial was a victim of cholera in 1867. That summer's epidemic claimed 23 military victims in approximately one month's time. The last burial at the post cemetery took place in 1889 after the death of the five-year-old son of an 18th U.S. . . . — Map (db m59724) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Fort Hays State University War Memorial|
"The people who know war, those who have experienced it...I believe are the most earnest advocates of peace in the world."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
This memorial is dedicated to those of the Fort Hays State University family who have fought and died in the service of their country, and to our university's continuing pursuit of a humane knowledge that will bring us peace.
October 10, 1998
Fort Hays State University was established June 23, 1902, on the former federal . . . — Map (db m59810) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Guardhouse|
| The native limestone guardhouse replaced an earlier wooden structure in 1872. It included a room for the non-commissioned officer of the guard, the guardroom, and the military prison, which included three solitary cells.
Most prisoners were enlisted men, held for disorderly conduct, insubordination, desertion, and even murder. Prisoners slept on straw bed sacks on the stone floor until 1881 when a "banquette" or platform was built. Soldiers on 24-hour guard duty looked after prisoners and . . . — Map (db m59747) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Icehouse|
| The icehouse was built 300 yards behind this sign during the winter of 1870-1871. It was built into a hillside, which offered much insulation. The icehouse could store 1,000 tons of ice harvested and hauled from Big Creek. Soldiers occasionally constructed dams along the creek to produce ice.
The water from the creek was unfit to drink during the final year of operation at the fort. The post surgeon warned that water should be cooled only "by surrounding the vessels containing it with the . . . — Map (db m59788) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Laundress' Quarters|
| The four wooden frame buildings that comprised "Sudsville" or "Laundress Row," were located approximately 100 yards behind and to the left of this sign. Each building housed four laundresses and their families in two 12' by 12' rooms. Laundresses were often enlisted men's wives who were allowed to live at the post by doing laundry for a group of 15 to 20 soldiers. Each soldier paid the laundress $1 per month to do most of his laundry, paying extra for overcoats, pants, and bed sacks. With . . . — Map (db m59752) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Monarch of the Plains|
| Herds of 60 million buffalo once roamed the prairie until reduced to 300 and near extinction. They were the basis of Indian economy; food for the emigrant, railroad worker and soldier. — Map (db m59713) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Officers in Tents|
Sometimes officers shared quarters on officers' row, three or four men to a house. Housing was assigned by rank and seniority within that rank. If a higher-ranking officer was transferred to the fort, he could bump a lower ranking officer out of the house. This was called "ranking out." If all homes were occupied, the lowest ranking officers (and their families, if they had them) lived in tents on the fort grounds.
Some officers put together more than one tent for their dwelling with . . . — Map (db m59722) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Officers' Row|
A series of 10 houses on the south side of the parade grounds was built between 1867 and 1870. Starting to the left of this house and moving right were the chaplain’s quarters, three partial duplexes for officers’ quarters, the commanding officer’s house, three additional duplexes for officers, and two additional officers’ quarters – one single family home and one full duplex with separate doors and living spaces.
The partial duplexes that still stand today housed two officers and . . . — Map (db m59717) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Otero & Sellar's Warehouse|
| Originally this was the site of the warehouse of a large shipping firm which ran bull trains to Mexico during the days when Hays City was "the end of the line." The owner, Miguel Antonio Otero, had acted as Territorial Governor of New Mexico in 1861, and his son Miguel, Jr., governed the territory from 1897 to 1906. Two of Otero's Mexican drivers once had a fight with stilettos, and one remained here on Boot Hill. The younger Otero wrote later that he had known "Calamity Jane" when she lived in Hays City in 1868. — Map (db m59797) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Parade Ground|
The field before you is the parade ground. Approximately the size of two football fields, the parade ground was bordered on four sides by roads whose ditches are still visible.
The parade ground was a hub of activity at the post. Soldiers performed drills, had dress parades, and trained in marching and movements. Bugle calls were given from the base of the 85-foot-tall flagpole. This was also a space for relaxation and entertainment. Concerts were performed, soldiers played baseball, and . . . — Map (db m59718) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Post Hospital|
| The post hospital was prefabricated in St. Louis, shipped to Fort Hays by rail, and erected in November 1867. Initially a 36-bed hospital, it was enlarged in 1870 to accommodate 44 beds. A picket fence later enclosed the hospital complex, including the limehouse (morgue), well house, stable, outhouse, hospital steward's residence, and when conditions were favorable, a post garden.
In 1902 the Western Branch of the Kansas State Normal School of Emporia was located on the Fort Hays grounds . . . — Map (db m59793) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Post Surgeon's Quarters|
| Records are unclear as to the exact date of construction of the surgeon's quarters. It was a one-story, four-room, frame residence. Prior to its construction the surgeon was housed on officers' row. As part of his medical duties, the surgeon kept detailed records of soldiers and civilians receiving care at the hospital, as well as deaths and births. The surgeon also acted as health inspector and reported on local plants, animals, and weather. Many of these records and reports have been . . . — Map (db m59790) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Post Trader's Store|
| Each post had its trader or sutler that sold general merchandise to soldiers. The trader was the only civilian allowed to operate a business for profit on a military fort. The trader's store at Fort Hays was located 50 feet behind this sign.
The building included living quarters for the trader, separate rooms for the officers and enlisted men where they could buy alcohol and play cards or billiards, and even a one-lane bowling alley. Soldiers could purchase all matter of items in the store . . . — Map (db m59768) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Quartermaster's Complex|
| The massive quartermaster's complex was located 100 yards behind the sign. The complex included offices, noncommissioned staff quarters, warehouses, shops, and wagon shed. The quartermaster was in charge of all equipment, supplies, transportation, animals, and construction and building repairs, as well as the post inventory. His shops included those of the blacksmith, wheelwright, carpenters, and saddlers.
Quartermaster Reed is now superintending the erection of winter quarters, which . . . — Map (db m59792) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Sentinel Hill|
The hill approximately two miles south of the guardhouse was known as Sentinel Hill. As part of the Fort Hays military reservation, a sentry (guard) posted at this location could have seen several miles in all directions.
The legend of Elizabeth Polly, also known as "the blue light lady," is closely linked to Sentinel Hill. When a cholera epidemic hit in 1867, hospital steward Ephraim Polly was assistant to the fort doctor. His wife, Elizabeth, comforted patients in the hospital. When . . . — Map (db m59723) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Time Capsule|
In commemoration of Hays Centennial - 1967
Plastic capsule buried May, 1967 - to be exhumed 2067
Buried 10' 0" below this marker.
The Time Capsule is to provide historical reference on the progress of Kansas family farmers working with the federal government for stabilizing and protecting soil, water, and other renewable natural resources for future generations.
Contents: Three foot soil core sections from each of the 12 major land resource areas in Kansas, records, reports, . . . — Map (db m59719) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — United States Land Office|
| Built as a dry goods store by Hill P. Wilson in 1874, this stone building was the home of the Government Land Office from 1875 till 1877, and possibly as late as 1879, when the office was moved to WaKeeney. Thousands of pioneers filed homestead and timber claims at the U.S. Land Office of Hays City between 1874 and 1879. In 1896 this building became the hardware store of George Philip who had come to Ellis County from Scotland in 1873 as a member of George Grant's Victoria Colony. — Map (db m59796) HM|
|Kansas (Ellis County), Hays — Well House|
| In the summer of 1867 four wells were dug on the Fort Hays grounds. The one before you serviced the post hospital. These wells provided limited quantities of water. Periodic contamination rendered the water undrinkable.
As a result Big Creek became the primary source of water, supplying 1,500 to 2,000 gallons per day. Water was distributed daily to barrels throughout the fort, but not in quantities large enough for firefighting emergencies. This was later resolved when windmills were built . . . — Map (db m59748) HM|