PIERRE, S.D. – Fort Wadsworth was built on August 1, 1864. According to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the site was chosen for providing a strong natural defense, an ample supply of brick-making material, an abundance of lake water and a thick stand of trees for timber and fuel. The fort was regarded as impenetrable.
In 1876 the fort’s name was changed to Fort Sisseton, after the neighboring Sisseton and Wahpeton Indians. Fort Sisseton was the social and economic center of a large area of what is now northeastern South Dakota.
When the fort was abandoned by the government in 1889, the buildings fell into disrepair until 1936, when it became a Works Progress Administration project and was restored. In the 1990s, more restoration was undertaken, and many buildings are now open to the public.
One of the most popular events at the fort is the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival, held the first weekend in June. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the fort’s history, watch a frontier army in action, view living history demonstrations and other performers, enjoy vendors and crafters, and take in a rodeo. For more information on this event, visit www.sdgfp.info.
The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historical markers all across South Dakota. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles.
The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.
- Information for this release was obtained from “Brevet’s South Dakota Historical Markers” and www.sdgfp.info.
- The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.