A short drive today to visit Fort Walsh constructed by James Morrow Walsh and the men of "B" Troop NWMP in 1875. This is located in the Cypress Hills area of Saskatchewan near the Montana State Line. The purpose of the fort was to establish a police presence in a dangerous area consisting of many diverse backgrounds which were not always peaceful. The illegal whiskey trade caused even more conflict as did horse stealing raids. The NWMP acted as customs, excise agents and border guards. In the years Fort Walsh existed from 1875-1883 there was much misery and struggle with the Cypress Hills seeing some of its saddest scenes.
|Fort Walsh Display|
|Timeline of Fort Walsh|
Fort Walsh was also asked to police and supervise refugees from conflicts across the border. Following the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, some 500 Lakota came to the area known as Wood Mountain. In 1881 Sitting Bull and his followers surrendered to US authorities, the Lakota who refused to return were granted a reserve at Wood Mountain.
The visitor center has a nice history display and the fort is continuing to be restored. The visitor center also has a cafe.
The Superintendent's Residence now houses artifacts and history signage. It was here in 1877 that the Terry Commission met to discuss the Lakota's return to the US.
The Commissioner's Residence was the home of the highest ranking officer of the post.
The Guardhouse served three purposes; guardroom,prison and lunatic asylum. While we were visiting they held a mock trial involving some illegal whiskey trading and possession.
|Preparing for Mock Whiskey Trial|
The Non-Commissioned Officer's Barracks housed up to 30 men and served also as a dining room and recreation room.
Sick Horse Stable housed the Veterinarian and horses in quarantine.
|Sick Horse Stable|
The regular stables housed up to 80 horses used to patrol 19,000 square miles.
The Metis and Trade cabins were established in 1872 by settler Edward McKay three years before the construction of Fort Walsh.
|Not interested in Me|
The town established prior to the fort was one of the largest permanent towns between Winnipeg and Vancouver. Nothing remains today.
It was a good day.