Near Fairfax in Nicollet County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
With hundreds of men and some 175 horses, the garrison had a gargantuan appetite for wood, hay, grain, corn, and beef. Unable to meet the requirements of the post through any direct federal supply system, the War Department issued contracts to civilian suppliers offering the lowest bids. For years, this system made Fort Ridgely the best market in the Minnesota River valley for farmers and businessmen.
The post also provided much-appreciated services to the community. The army surgeons treated and sold medicines to area residents. Mail could be picked up or dropped off at the fort. Groceries and a variety of goods could be purchased at the sutler's store. Local farmers could use the post's slaughterhouse (located one mile from Ridgely) and buy lumber from the post's sawmill.
From 1853 to 1856, steamboats were the principal mode of transportation for military personnel and supplies going to and from Fort Ridgely. The presence of the post and increasing white settlement led Congress to improve and build new military roads in the territory. By 1858, land routes had mostly replaced the water
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Minnesota Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1853.
Location. 44° 27.188′ N, 94° 44.099′ W. Marker is near Fairfax, Minnesota, in Nicollet County. Marker can be reached from County Highway 30 1.1 miles west of State Highway 4, on the right when traveling west. Marker is in Fort Ridgely State Park; fee area – a Minnesota state park vehicle permit is required. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 72404 County State Aid Highway 30, Fairfax MN 55332, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. This Fort Had a Purpose (here, next to this marker); Four Days From Fort Snelling (here, next to this marker); A Minority in Their Homeland / U.S.-Dakota Conflict (a few steps from this marker); Reinforcements Arrive (a few steps from this marker); Fort Ridgely (within shouting distance of this marker); Officers' Quarters—C (within shouting distance Fort Ridgely Closes (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Ridgely State Monument (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
More about this marker. captions:
• David Geister, The Lowest Bid, 1856, 2005
• David Geister, All Roads Lead Past the Fort, 1858, 2005
Also see . . . Minnesota Historical Society. Fort Ridgely. History. "In 1853, the U.S. military started construction on Fort Ridgely, near the southern border of the new reservation and northwest of the German settlement of New Ulm. The fort was designed as a police station to keep peace as settlers poured into the former Dakota lands." (Submitted on January 27, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 27, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 432 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 27, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.