One of the most strategic military posts of the old west, Fort Assinniboine was built by the army in 1879 after the defeat of General George Custer's 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, and the surrender of the nontreaty Nez Perce under Chief Joseph at the Battle of the Bear Paws at Snake Creek in 1877 when they attempted to reach Canada.
The Fort was the largest military post in Montana, and the second largest in the US next to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was considered the most strategic in the Northwest because all the main North American trails crossed there. At its peak, about 600 infantry and cavalry troops were stationed there. Among these was the famous Black Tenth Cavalry Regiment.
Unlike most of the old west forts made of wood or adobe, Fort Assinniboine was constructed of brick and exhibited a style of military architecture that reflected the elegant civilian architecture of the East Coast. It consisted of over 100 buildings and a military reservation of over 700,000 acres.
While Fort Assinniboine never engaged in any major battles with North American Indians, through active patrol action/skirmishes, coordination with the NWMP, and intimidation by size alone, the Fort brought peace to the northern frontier. It also served to promote economic development of the region and is directly responsible for providing the economic nucleus/stimulus for the establishment and development of Havre, Montana and adjacent communities.
Tours are at 12 noon and 5 p.m. or by appointment, and start from the H. Earl Clack Museum. Call (406) 265-4000
For more information, please visit www.havremt.com
What to Explore:
- The city of Havre, MT
- Havre Beneath the Streets and Railroad Museum
- Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump
- H. Earl Clack Museum
- Havre Historic District Walking Tour
- Rudyard Depot Museum
- Dinosaur Hall and Vintage Auto Mobile Museum in Rudyard
- Blaine County Historical Museum
- Blaine County Wildlife Museum
- Bear Paw Battlefield
- Hagener Math-Science Center at MSU-Northern (collections of flora, fauna, fossils, and Native American artifacts)
- Big Sandy Historical Museum
- Rocky Boy’s Cree & Chippewa Reservations
- Fishing, camping and hiking at Beaver Creek Park and Fresno Reservoir