American Forts: West


Algona Fort | Camp Atkinson | Fort Atkinson | Fort Bellevue | Big Sioux Post
Camp Black Hawk | Camp Buckenough | Camp Buckner | Camp Burnside | Cedar Fort
Cherokee Fort | Fort Clark | Fort Confederation | Correctionville Fort | Camp Corse
Council Bluffs Blockhouse | Council Bluffs Post | Fort Crawford (a) | Fort Crawford (b)
Fort Crawford (c) | Fort Croghan | Fort Defiance | Camp Des Moines | Fort Des Moines (1)
Fort Des Moines (2) | Fort Des Moines (3) | Des Moines River Post | Camp Disappointment
Dobson's Fort | Camp Dodge (1) | Camp Dodge (2) | Fort Dodge | Dubuque Shot Tower
Fort Eads | Camp Ellsworth | Farmington Encampment | Camp Fenwick | Camp Franklin
Camp Frémont | Fort Gillespie | Camp Halleck | Camp Harlan | Hart's Bluff Post | Hartley Fort
Camp Hendershott | Camp Herron | Camp Holt | Camp Hull | Ida Grove Post | Fort Ingham
Iowa Lake Fort | Irvington Fort | Camp Kearny (1) | Camp Kearny (2) | Camp Kinsman
Camp Kirkwood (1) | Camp Kirkwood (2) | Camp Lauman | Camp Lincoln | Little Sioux Post
Camp McClellan | Camp McKean | Camp McKinley | Fort Madison | Fort Marin
Melbourne Fort | Miller's Post | Mines of Spain | Montbrun's Fort | Ocheyedan Fort
Peterson Fort | Phelps' Post | Fort Plain | Camp Pope | Purdy's Fort | Fort Raccoon
Camp Rankin | Redwood Post | Camp Roberts | Fort Robinson | Post at Sac and Fox Agency
Sac City Post | Fort St. Louis | Fort Sanford | Fort Severson | Sioux City Post
Spirit Lake Fort (1) | Spirit Lake Fort (2) | Camp Strong | Tesson's Post | Camp Tuttle
Camp Union | Camp Warren | Waubonsie's Fort | West Fork Fort | Fort White | Fort Williams
Camp Young

Last Update: 07/JULY/2020
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2020 American Forts Network

Fort Severson
(1867), near Carpenter, Newburg Township, Mitchell County
A two-story timber-framed, limestone-walled blockhouse (32 by 36 feet) built along Deer Creek by local farmers (Nils Severson and others) in 1867 who feared possible Indian threats, although none ever occurred by this late date. Subsequently used as a stage coach stable and inn, then converted into a livestock barn when the railroad line came through the area in the 1870's. Still standing, located one mile north of town, about one-half mile east of Zinnia Ave. at 1068 456th Street. Restored in the 1970's, it is owned and operated by the Mitchell County Historical Society.

Hartley Fort (Archaeological Site)
(1100 - 1200), Allamakee County
A Late Woodland Period Indian fortified village site on the Upper Iowa River, about seven miles from the Mississippi River, consisting of a 200-foot long four-sided earthen enclosure surrounded by palisades and ditches. Private property, no public access to the site.

Fort Atkinson (State Preserve)
(1840 - 1849), Fort Atkinson
A 1962 reconstruction of the Officers' quarters, barracks, blockhouse, and powder magazine, all on the original site. Originally named Camp Atkinson, renamed in 1842. The fort was built to control the Winnebago Indians who were sent out of Wisconsin, and to protect the nearby Turkey River Indian Subagency, located about four miles southeast. The fort was abandoned when the Winnebago were relocated to Minnesota. Also located within the state park is the stone quarry where limestone was cut for the fort's foundations. Of interest in town is the City of Fort Atkinson Museum, located in the Public Library at 3002 Third Street Northwest.

Fort Marin
(1739), near McGregor
A French trading post built by Pierre Paul Marin de La Malgue, located opposite the Wisconsin River.

Dubuque Shot Tower
(1856 - 1860), Dubuque
Built to counter the St. Louis, MO monopoly on lead shot production in the Midwest, it was soon put out of business by those same factions. The tower was later used as a fire tower from the 1880's to 1911. The then abandoned tower was restored by the Dubuque Historical Society in 1959. Located at River and Tower Streets, the 122-foot high limestone and brick tower is one of only six remaining historic shot towers left in existence in the United States. The others are in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Columbus, Ohio, Wytheville, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mines of Spain (State Recreation Area)
(1788 - 1810), near Dubuque
French-Canadian trader Julien Dubuque was granted exclusive rights by the Spanish authorities in St. Louis to mine lead in this region, and was also granted in 1796 a 125,000 acre land grant. The mining/farming/trading settlement was located at the mouth of Catfish Creek just south of the city, and was worked by Fox Indians. It is unknown if the main settlement was fortified in any way. After Dubuque's death in 1810, the Fox burned/destroyed everything to prevent any other European from acquiring the mines. Dubuque's grave is marked by a large stone tower (1897) overlooking Catfish Creek and the Mississippi River.

Camp Franklin
(1861 - 1863), Peosta
A Civil War training camp located at Lake Peosta. Originally named Camp Union during 1861.

Fort Eads
(1854), Clarksville
A local militia "fort" built to protect the town against a feared Sioux/Dakota raid, which never occurred. The fort was basically just hastily built trenchworks and breastworks. Abner Eads commanded the local militia "dragoon" volunteers. The militia ranging across the countryside caused more fear among the settlers than the Indians did. The presumed site is marked on a hill at West Superior and North Adams Streets.

Camp Kirkwood (2)
(1862), Clinton
A Civil War training camp.

Davenport Civil War Camps
(1861 - 1862), Davenport
Camp Herron (1862), located between present-day Farnam Street and Churchill's Addition.
Camp McClellan (1861 - 1865), monument located on the riverfront at Lindsay Park on East 11th Street.
Camp Kearny (2) (1863 - 1865), a prison stockade adjacent to Camp McClellan for Sioux Indians captured after the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota.
Camp Roberts (1863 - 1865), located on Duck Creek, renamed Camp Kinsman in 1863, site marked on Eastern Ave.. The Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home was established here in 1866.
Camp Hendershott (1862 - 1863), between 13th, Locust, Ripley, and Scott Streets.
Camp Joe Holt (1861), located at the old fairgrounds between 13th, Perry, and Rock Island Streets and Northern Ave. (Kirkwood Blvd.).
Camp Black Hawk, a cavalry camp. Undetermined location.

Camp Young
(1916), North Liberty
A state guard mobilization center for the Mexican Border Crisis of 1916.

Iowa City Civil War Camps
(1861), Iowa City
Camp Frémont (1861), located at the old county fairgrounds. Site is now part of the city airport.
Camp Pope (1862), located at the present-day Longfellow School at 1130 Seymour Ave..

Camp Buckner
(1850), near Belle Plaine
A temporary Dragoon encampment on the Iowa River about 12 miles northwest of Marengo, used as a supply depot for the building of Fort Dodge to the west, and as a base to roundup renegade Sac and Fox Indians for removal to Kansas. Also known as Camp Buckenough. Exact location undetermined.

Fort Robinson
(1850), near Marshalltown
A settlers' stockade, about 90 feet square, located on the land of Arthur Robinson, southeast of town along Timber Creek. It was built after the same settlers had burned down a nearby Fox Indian village and then feared retribution. About 24 families took refuge here until the U.S. Army Dragoons arrived to settle matters. The presumed site is noted with a marker.

Camp Strong
(1861), Muscatine
A Civil War training camp located on Muscatine Island. Monument located at 2436 Sampson Street.

Camp Harlan
(1861 - 1862), Mt. Pleasant
A Civil War cavalry training camp. Renamed Camp McKean in 1862. The barracks burned down by arson in 1862 or soon after. Site marked by monument at Hickory and Courtland Streets.

Burlington Civil War Camps
(1861), Burlington
Civil War training camps Camp Warren (1861), and Camp Lauman (1862). Undetermined locations.

Fort Madison
(1808 - 1813), Fort Madison
A Federal fort and Indian Factory (authorized May 1808, built September 1808) for the Sauk (Sac) and Fox Indian Agency. Originally known as Fort Bellevue until renamed in the spring of 1809. Three blockhouses originally defended the main stockade, with a fourth blockhouse built in 1810 on the ridge 250 feet behind the fort. Two additional blockhouses were later built (1813 ?) along the river bank. Attacked by the Sac and Fox Indians in September 1812, the Indian Agency buildings, outside the fort's stockade, were burned down. Put under attack again beginning in July 1813, the fort was burned by the garrison in November 1813 to conceal their escape via a tunnel from one of the blockhouses to the river. Meanwhile, the Indian Agency was moved to Little Moniteau Creek near present-day Jefferson City, MO (see Johnson's Fort MISSOURI). The fort and Indian Agency were not rebuilt after the war. The stockaded fort and detached outer blockhouse were reconstructed in 1983 in Riverview Park (admission fee). The original site nearby was excavated in 1965. The 1908 D.A.R. "Lone Chimney" monument was erected on the actual site of Blockhouse Number One.
See also Old Fort Genealogical Society

Louis Tesson's Post
(1799), Montrose
A trading post.

Fort Des Moines (1)
(1834 - 1837), Montrose
Originally known as Camp Des Moines, renamed in 1835. Built to protect and control the Sac and Fox Indians. It was not stockaded, but an open post within a demarcated military reservation. The town was settled in 1836. Site is marked by granite D.A.R. monument at First and Main Streets, along with a Mormon Pioneer marker at the old fort's well at Riverside Park. A portion of the original site has been eroded away by the river.

Montbrun's Fort
(1780 - 1783 ?), near Sandusky ?
A short-lived Spanish military trading post located just north of the mouth of the Des Moines River, which attempted to win the Sac and Fox Indian trade away from the British during the American Revolution. Exact location undetermined. A decade later the Spanish would again attempt to build another post south of the Des Moines River to stop the British trade (see also Spanish Fort in MISSOURI).

Keokuk Civil War Camps
(1861 - 1862), Keokuk
Camp Ellsworth (1861), located on 200 acres north of town. This was the first camp set up in the state.
Camp Rankin (1861), replaced by Camp Halleck.
Camp Halleck (1861 - 1862), located at 5th and Johnson Streets.
Camp Lincoln (1862), undetermined location.
Several monuments are located in Victory Park on the waterfront.

Farmington Encampment
(1839), Farmington
An Iowa territorial militia encampment during the so-called "Honey War" against Missouri. The Missouri state militia was encamped near Chambersburg, MO. Iowa prevailed without bloodshed. (See also Camp Hard Times in MISSOURI)

Fort Crawford (a)
(1805 ? - 1812 ?), Van Buren County
A North West Company trading post located on the Des Moines River, somewhere below the old townsite of Iowaville. Exact location undetermined.

Fort Gillespie
(1805 ? - 1812 ?), near Selma ?
A North West Company trading post located on the Des Moines River, probably across the river from the old town of Iowaville, a major Ioway Indian summer village occupied from c. 1765-1820, and a white settlers' town from 1838-1870. Exact location of the trade fort is undetermined, possibly sited in Davis County.

Fort Sanford
(1839 - 1843), Cliffland
Originally built by the American Fur Co. on the Des Moines River, but the location was deemed too close to a Choteau Co. fur post already on the south side of the river. Also known as William Phelps' Post. Several buildings were burned in 1841. The U.S. Army took control of the post in November 1842, then officially renamed Post at Sac and Fox Indian Agency, to expel white squatters from the Indian reservation. Additional quarters were built by the troops. Located just south of Ottumwa at "Garrison Rock".

Fort Crawford (b)
(1805 ? - 1812 ?), near Chillicothe ?
A North West Company trading post located on the Des Moines River, opposite Fort St. Louis (see below). Exact location undetermined.

Fort St. Louis
(1805 ? - 1812 ?), near Chillicothe ?
A North West Company trading post located on the Des Moines River, opposite Fort Crawford (b). Exact location undetermined.

Camp Tuttle
(1862), Oskaloosa
A Civil War training camp. Monument located at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds at the corner of "I" Street North and "G" Avenue West.

Fort Crawford (c)
(1805 ? - 1812 ?), Marion County
A North West Company trading post located on the Des Moines River. Exact location undetermined.

Fort Plain (a) (b)
(1850's ?), Warren County
A placename shown on a Warren County map of 1868 in White Breast Township, Section 8, on Wolf Creek, northwest of Lacona. No other data.

Another "Fort Plain" seems to have been located in the same county at the old town of Green Bush in Greenfield Township, Section 31, about one mile northwest of Spring Hill. The post office there was named "Fort Plain" from 1854 - 1870.

Redwood Post
(1799 - 1803), Des Moines
A North West Company trading post located at or near the confluence of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, established by Jean Faribault. Also known as Cedar Fort. Possibly sited at Riverside Park.

Fort Des Moines (2)
(1843 - 1846), Des Moines
Built by the Dragoons to protect the Sac and Fox Indians before their removal to Kansas, and to deter white settlers to the region. This was an open post within a reservation (no stockade). The proposed name Fort Raccoon was not approved by the War Department. Buildings were built of cut logs on stone foundations. The Sac and Fox Indian Agency at Fort Sanford was also relocated in 1843 to a site across the Des Moines River from the new military post, about 1.25 miles below the mouth of the Raccoon River, and was renamed the Raccoon River Indian Agency. After the post was abandoned, the new settlement was nearly destroyed by a great flood in 1851. "Fort" was dropped from the city's name in 1857. The original site is believed to be near Water Street along the Des Moines River, where a new bridge is to be built after archaeological excavations are completed. An historic marker and original but unrelated 1840's log cabin are located at Southwest First and Elm Streets in the parking lot at Principal Park.

Camp Burnside
(1862), Des Moines
A Civil War training camp. Monument located in Redhead Park at East 18th and Dean Streets.

Camp McKinley
(1898), Des Moines
A Spanish-American War state muster camp located at the State Fairgrounds and racetrack in the eastern part of the city.

Fort Des Moines (3) (U.S. Military Reservation)
(Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center)
(1901 - 1946/present), Des Moines
Located four miles south of the city near Southwest 9th Street and Army Post Road. Named in 1903. Home to several Cavalry, Infantry, and Field Artillery units until 1940. In 1917 the post became an Officers Training School for Black troops. Became an Army General Hospital in 1918. In 1942 the post became the home training area for the Women's Army Corps (WAC). Still in use today, mostly by the Army Reserve and other Federal agencies. Several original brick buildings still exist. Admission fee to museum, located at 75 East Army Post Road.

Camp Corse
(1909), near Des Moines
A temporary Army summer encampment. Site probably the same as Camp Dodge (2) (see below).

Camp John A.T. Hull
(1910), near Des Moines
A temporary Army summer encampment for infantry, cavalry, field artillery, and engineer units. Site probably the same as Camp Dodge (2) (see below).

Camp Dodge (2) (State Military Reservation)
(1907 - present), Johnston
A National Army cantonment training area and demobilization center for the 88th Division. Previously the site of the state guard annual summer training area. Most buildings were removed in 1921. The National Guard resumed control and built new buildings in the late 1920's, some of which still exist today. Federalized in 1940 for WWII training. Resumed under state control in 1947. Still in use by the state guard. Located here is the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.
See also Building Camp Dodge || The Camp Dodge Story from Iowa National Guard

Fort Dodge
(Fort Dodge Museum and Frontier Village)
(1850 - 1853), Fort Dodge
Located on the Des Moines River opposite the mouth of Lizard Creek. Originally known as Fort Clarke, renamed in 1851. This was an open post within a reservation. The fort was abandoned in June 1853 after Indian troubles died down. The town was settled in 1854 around the old post. Former post sutler William Williams then bought the old fort and operated a private trading post here for several years. The present museum is a 1964 replica of the 1862 Iowa Lake Stockade (Fort Williams), as no original plans of Fort Dodge exist. Located just east of US 169 and US 20 Business. Admission fee. The original 1850 Quartermaster Office still survives, once a private home until restored in the 1960's by the D.A.R., and now located in the park. A five-foot boulder with a bronze tablet marks the original site of the old fort at First Ave. North and North 4th St., and a former school (now Webster County Social Services) occupies the site of the old barracks.

Fort Confederation
(1825 ?), near Dakota City ?
A trading post located at or near the forks of the Des Moines River, possibly sited near present-day Frank Gotch Park. The Yankton Sioux had villages here at that time.

This may have also been the later site of William Miller's Trading Post (1854).

Irvington Fort
(1857), Irvington
A civilian stockade, about 60 feet square with bastions, built in response to the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre.

Algona Fort
(1857), Algona
A civilian stockade, about 100 feet square with bastions, built in response to the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre.

Des Moines River Post
(1838), Emmet County ?
An American Fur Co. post located between two lakes along the northern state border, near the West Fork Des Moines River. Undetermined location.

Spirit Lake Fort (1)
(1857 - 1859), Spirit Lake
A civilian stockade built in response to the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre. It was torn down in 1859. Most of those killed had actually lived near Okoboji Lake.

Of interest nearby in Arnolds Park on Monument Drive near the Arnolds Park Amusement Park is the Abbie Gardner Sharp Cabin Historic Site, a restored 1856 log cabin and monument to the settlers killed in the Spirit Lake Massacre.

Northern Border Brigade Defenses
(1862 - 1864), various locations
State militia and civilian defenses built in response to the 1862 Sioux Uprising in Minnesota.
See also The 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre and the Iowa Northern Border Brigade from Iowa National Guard

Fort Defiance (State Park), Estherville, the original town courthouse, then being used as a school, was originally stockaded by the town residents. The state militia arrived later in 1863 and built a 132-foot square log stockade with barracks and a blockhouse near the town square, which was named Fort Ingham. Dismantled for the timber after the war. One of the barracks has been reconstructed within the state park as a public-use facility. The original site of the fort by the river (which has been eroded away), is not within the confines of the present state park. Near the original site at South Sixth Street and First Avenue South is a plaque on the Fort Defiance Professional Building. A 1911 D.A.R. monument is located at the courthouse at North Sixth Street and Second Avenue North.
Iowa Lake Fort, near Armstrong, a civilian log stockade similar to Fort Defiance. Also known as Fort Williams. Abandoned in December 1863. A replica of this fort was built in 1964 at the Fort Dodge Museum in Fort Dodge.
Peterson Fort, Peterson, a civilian triangular log stockade with a timber blockhouse. The blockhouse is still extant, relocated in the 1970's to a small municipal park at Park and Second Streets (open by appointment only). See also Peterson Heritage
Cherokee Fort, Cherokee, a civilian triangular log stockade with a timber blockhouse. The blockhouse was later used as a private residence. Marker located in the northeast part of town near IA 3, overlooking the Little Sioux River to the east.
Correctionville Fort, Correctionville, a civilian triangular log stockade with a blockhouse. Also known as Fort White. Site located on Birch Street in a residential area.
Spirit Lake Fort (2), Spirit Lake, a civilian timber stockade built around the then newly constructed Dickinson County courthouse. The building sheltered several families until the militia arrived, which then used the fort as its regional headquarters until July 1865. The courthouse was later completed in 1868, but was burned down in 1871. The second (1872) and third (1890) courthouses were also built on this site. The present fourth courthouse was built on the site in 2006 after limited archaeological surveys.
Melbourne Fort, Melbourne, Plymouth County, a civilian log stockade. The town no longer exists.
West Fork Fort, West Fork, Monona County, a civilian log stockade.
Ocheyedan Fort, Ocheyedan, a civilian log stockade.

Defense works of unknown design (troop barracks at a minimum) were also located at Ida Grove, Sac City, Little Sioux, and Sioux City, where additional Northern Border Brigade units were posted.

Big Sioux Post
(1827), near Sioux City
The American Fur Co. acquired this previously-built independent trading post on the Big Sioux River in 1827. The city was founded in 1855.

John Purdy's Fort
(1857), Denison
A town "fort" built on John Purdy's property near the courthouse square after the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre, in which 42 settlers were killed by the Sioux. Site is marked on Ridge Road by a 1911 D.A.R. monument.

Nearby in town was Benjamin Dobson's Fort (1857), another reactionary defense built after the Spirit Lake Massacre.

Council Bluffs Forts
(1824 - 1843), Council Bluffs
Originally here was Council Bluffs Post (1824), a Bernard Pratt and Co. trading post. Hart's Bluff Post (1827) was built by the American Fur Co.. The U.S. Army Dragoons built a log blockhouse and hutment, called Council Bluffs Blockhouse (or Camp Kearny (1)) (1837 - 1838), to protect the newly relocated Potawatomi Indians from the native Sioux Indians. It was probably not stockaded for defense. Abandoned the next year, the blockhouse was later used as the St. Joseph's Mission (1838 - 1841), site marked by stone monument (1971) at East Pierce Street and Franklin Avenue (separate mission marker at East Pierce and Union Streets). The blockhouse remained standing until 1857.

The Dragoons returned and built a larger fort in May 1842, located at Council Point on the Missouri River, midway between the Boyer River and Mosquito Creek, about six miles from the earlier blockhouse. It was originally named Camp Fenwick, then renamed Fort Croghan later the same year. Abandoned for Fort Leavenworth, KS in October 1843 after it was destroyed by earlier spring floodwaters. The troops had briefly occupied the old 1837 blockhouse before heading back to Kansas, and a temporary camp was also established on the west bank of Little Mosquito Creek. The 1842 fort site is generally marked by the Mormon Settlement (1846 - 1853) marker located at Council Point on Gifford Road, about one-half mile south of South 24th Street and IA 92 (South Omaha Bridge Road). The fort was actually about 100 yards south of the marker.
(additional information courtesy of Jeff Barnes)

Camp Kirkwood (1)
(1861), Council Bluffs
A Civil War training camp located north of Mosquito Creek.
Camp Dodge (1) (1860's) was just south of here.

Waubonsie's Fort ? ?
(1840 ? - 1845 ?), near Glenwood
Local legend contends that a former settlers' or military blockhouse was given to or taken over by the Potawatomi Indians under Chief Waubonsie, located somewhere south of town. Waubonsie died in 1845 or 1846. There is no official record of a fort of any kind for this area.

Camp Disappointment
(1861), Clarinda
A temporary state militia camp established to counter a possible Confederate invasion from Missouri. Also known as Camp No. 4. Renamed after learning that the feared invasion had fizzled. Marching south from Camp Kirkwood (1) in Council Bluffs, Camp No. 1 was set up on Brush Creek in Fremont County, Camp No. 2 was set up near Sidney, and Camp No. 3 was set up 25 miles east of Sidney.

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