The original Fort Abercrombie was constructed in 1858, and it was the first military settlement in what would become North Dakota.
Fort Abercrombie was a relic of the first transportation boom in the Dakota Territory — riverboats. Before the railroads, riverboats were one of the most efficient means of hauling cargo, and the Red River became a highway between Fort Abercrombie and Winnipeg.
The fort was besieged by the Sioux for more than six weeks in 1862, an event that came to be known as the Dakota War of 1862. Four soldiers were killed and two wounded.
The fort was abandoned as a military outpost on October 23rd, 1877, and the town of Abercrombie was officially established nearly seven years later, about a half mile west.
Fort Abercrombie was largely forgotten for decades, but started to come back to life when the WPA began reconstruction of the original fort in 1939 and 1940. You can read more about the history of Fort Abercombie here.
Two reconstructed blockhouses and the original guard house now reside at The Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site. Fort Abercrombie is right on the Red River, about forty minutes south of Fargo.
The Red River has shifted its track over the years and the land under part of the site was compromised. This marker provides a nice reference point for getting your bearings on the site.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC