© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fort Mandan Overlook


Proudly positioned on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River stands a solitary marker commemorating Fort Mandan—headquarters of the Lewis and Clark expedition during the winter of 1804-1805. While a beautiful reconstruction of the fort was built near Washburn in 1971, the original fortification sat alongside the Missouri some ten miles west.

A small triangular structure, Fort Mandan was built primarily to provide shelter against the cold, yet it also served as an ideal location for meetings between members of the Corps of Discovery and the Mandan Indians for whom the fort was named. A prairie fire destroyed the structure shortly after the expedition left, and the original location was eventually submerged beneath the flowing Missouri. Unable to commemorate the fort's original location, the State Historical Society placed a stone marker upon the bluffs overlooking the original site on land acquired this day in 1934.

Dakota Datebook written by Lane Sunwall



Fort Mandan Foundation, "Quick Facts" http://www.fortmandan.com/press_room/quickfacts.asp (accessed May 20, 2010).

National Parks Service, "Lewis and Clark: Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings" http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/lewisandclark/site32.htm (accessed May 20, 2010).

Snortland, J. Signe, ed. A Traveler's Companion to North Dakota State Historic Sites. Bismarck, ND: State Historical Society of North Dakota, 1996.

State Historical Society of North Dakota, "State Historical Society of North Dakota Strategic Long Range Plan" http://www.nd.gov/hist/LRPlan.htm (accessed January 19, 2009).