Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fort Smelly

On what we thought was going to be the last nice Saturday of the year, we ventured to one of the oldest historic sites in the great state of Minnesota: Fort Snelling. For a girl who was born and raised in Minneapolis you'd think that I would have visited at least once before. But, alas, this was the first trip to historic Fort Snelling for everyone in our family but Sean.

We watched the morning "parade" (in quotes because the parade consisted of 5 people - not exactly the marching-band-performing, float-rider-waving, candy-throwing event I expected) and followed the soldiers to the flagpole where we watched them raise the flag (it was at half staff in honor of the Minnesota soldiers that were lost in Iraq).

We climbed up the oldest structure in the fort to get a better view of the whole fort and take advantage of the photo opp. Unfortunately, the boys are hidden in the shadows in this shot.

Not that they minded - based on the looks in this photo, I'm pretty sure they would have preferred to be hiding anywhere instead of enduring their mother's extended photo session atop the tower.

Um...I don't remember what this is, but it's really old and part of Fort Snelling.

Inside one of the towers, there were these little windows where the soldiers would lay with their guns pointed out. The opening was wide on the inside of the tower and narrowed as it got to the outside to reduce the target size for their enemies.

The whole fort was kind of like a city with all the things a community would need - including a prison for deserters (which Jack thought was pretty cool given that it played right into his fireman/policeman aspirations).

Sean tried out the jail cell (and it absolutely was not even remotely possible that he did it because I forced asked him to).

We visited some of the shops - this was the carpenter's shop. Cool wheel, huh? When the fort was being used, all of the wooden items would have been made and/or repaired right on site.

Our next stop was the blacksmith shop. It was nice to find a building with a fire going (remember how I said it was a nice Saturday? well, it was warmer a lot later in the day than when we were out).

We were lucky enough to be there when the blacksmith was giving a demonstration. He hammered a nail out of a piece of steel. The blacksmith shop was conveniently located right next to the carpenter's shop. How many woodworker's out there dream of having a hardware store right next to their shop? Those Fort Snelling guys were clever.

What's an outdoor adventure without a little wildlife? This little chipmunk ran between our feet upon exiting one of the shops and hung out looking for food as Wes pointed and giggled with delight.

After some lunch and a short visit to the gift shop our adventure came to an end. Not before we secured a membership to the MN Historical Society, however. Fun and adventure abound I'm sure. (Okay, okay - it sounds way geekier than it actually is. There are several fun family-friendly exhibits and events that our membership will allow us to take advantage of for way less than it would normally cost).

I bet you're thinking "What's with the title? Was the fort stinky?" Oh no, no, no - nothing like that. It's just that, if you ask Jack about our excursion a few weeks ago he'll tell you we spent the morning at Fort Smelly.


Sean said...

The building that you don't remember is the chapel.

The Greene's said...

My parents got married in that chapel :)

I can't believe you never had the obligatory field trip there in elementary school which ended in the gift shop where we all wanted to buy rock candy but ended up with a (smelly) ole piece of horhound hehe

Looks like you had a good time despite the chill and I'll be excited to hear about the opportunities your new membership will afford you!