Fort McKinney

History of Fort McKinney

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On October 12, 1876, Fort McKinney was established on the northwest bank of Powder River, three miles above and south of the site of old Fort Reno. It was first called “Cantonment Reno” On July 18, 1877; the location was changed to the north bank of Clear Creek, a short distance west of the present City of Buffalo and about two miles above the crossing of the old Bozeman Road. The old site was then used as a depot. The mane of Fort McKinney was given to the post on August 30, 1877, after the removal. The first substantial buildings were erected in the fall of that year.

Gen Philip H. Sheridan, in a report dated March 9, 1882, stated that the fort was still incomplete and recommended that it be improved, as it would be a “necessity in Indian warfare for many years to come.” Upon this showing Congress appropriated $40,000 for the improvement of the fort. In 1892 three cavalry barracks were destroyed by fire and the following session of Congress made an appropriation to rebuild them.

Even then it was apparent to military experts that no further necessity for the maintenance of the post existed. As early as 1889, a small portion of the reservation had been annexed to the city of Buffalo. In 1895 all of the fort buildings and two sections of land were donated to the State of Wyoming and the remainder of the land transferred to the department of the interior.

Source: History of Wyoming, Volume 1, by I. S. Bartlett, Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918

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