America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Fort Osage, Missouri
It would be founded a member of Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1808 on a bluff above the Missouri River, named after him, at first, William Clark, and become what many think as the most important fort in the Indian Factory System and its subsequent decline. Today, you can still see this fort in all its splendor, a National Historic Landmark, in Sibley, Missouri. Clark saw the site's potential during their first journey, and after negotiating the Treaty of Fort Clark, established it as one of three forts to oversee the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase. Photo above: Fort Osage National Historic Site, 2007. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Lewis and Clark had seen the commanding position seventy feet above the river in June of 1804, so when Thomas Jefferson agreed with Pierre Chocteau, an agent for the Osage, that a trading post should be built, it was a natural location to choose. So Clark headed back, with eighty soldiers, in September 1808, to build the fort that was supposed to bring good will and better trading practices with the Indians than the individual merchant system that proliferated before. By November, a treaty had been negotiated with the Osage. In exchange for the fort and its protection, they would cede all of their lands east of the fort within the Louisiana Purchase. Total supposed to exchange hands ... $1,200 per year.
The fort remained a mainstay for trade in the area, a stopping point for westward bound settlers, for fourteen years, abandoned at times due to the War of 1812 needing its soldiers for battles further east, then abandoned for good in 1827, in many ways replaced by Fort Scott, when the Factory System ended in 1822. As a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, it remained an important landmark for the next fifteen years. After that, it was essentially destroyed, outside the foundation. Today, the fort's reconstruction on the foundation refound in the 1940's is a vibrant example of the trading post times. Beside the fort, the Fort Osage Education Center has exhibits on the fort, the Indian tribes of the area, as well as the geology of the Missouri River.
Photo above: Mural of the Treaty of Fort Clark at the state house of Missouri. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Where Is It
Fort Osage is located Fort Osage National Historic Landmark
at 107 Osage St., Sibley, MO 64088. It is thirty-two miles east of Kansas City, Missouri, about a forty-five minute drive taking I-70 East, then Little Blue Parkway north, US 24 East, to North Burnley Road in Sibley.
What is There Now
Today, Fort Osage has reconstructed buildings that represent the heydey of the post. The Factory Building, five blockhouses, soldier's quarters, officer's quarters, blacksmith shop, and the stockade are some of the period buildings to visit. Also, beside the fort is the 2007 added Fort Osage Education Center, which now serves as the Visitor Center.
How Much to Visit
Adults $8.00. Seniors and Youth (5-13) $4.00. Under 5 Free. Rates subject to change without notice.
The fort is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday thru Sunday all year.
Fort Osage National Historic Site
Fort Osage is a designated stop on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail as well as the Santa Fe Trail.