Independence Day celebrated at Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fort Scott National Historic Site News Release

Fort Scott National Historic Site
Old Fort Boulevard
Post Office Box 918
Fort Scott KS 66701-0918
(620) 223-0310 phone

Contact: Galen Ewing, galen_ewing@nps.gov, (620) 223-0310

Evening cannon firing highlights three-day celebration of
our nation’s independence at Fort Scott National Historic Site

FORT SCOTT, Kansas: Fort Scott National Historic Site volunteers and staff invite one and all to come and join us for an Old Fashioned Military Holiday in celebration of our nation’s independence. A cannon firing at dusk, children’s games, and free ice cream and cake are just a few of the activities offered Saturday, July 4, Sunday, July 5, and Friday, July 10.

Come and enjoy 1840s garrison life while mingling with soldiers, laundresses, and officers’ wives. Test your skills and have fun while competing in historic games. The bark of cannon and gunfire will be heard throughout the day as artillery programs will pay honor to our freedom. Listen as Ranger Robert Thomas provides a rousing patriotic speech followed by a 30-gun salute honoring the nation’s 30 states in 1848.

Saturday’s programs begin at 10:00 a.m. with “Vegetable Gardening at Frontier Forts: A Forgotten Story.” While much has been written about life at a frontier military garrison, the fort vegetable garden--which played a crucial role in keeping soldiers healthy--is seldom mentioned. Learn about the importance of gardening on the frontier as presented by volunteer Jan Elder.

Since our inception as a unit of the National Park Service, over 1,750,000 visitors have visited the site. To commemorate this recent milestone, join us at 2:00 p.m. Saturday for some homemade ice cream and cake provided by The Friends of Fort Scott NHS, Inc. While enjoying these afternoon treats, be entertained with the dramatic tableau, “The Many Faces of Freedom.” The United States has often been called a melting pot, as a variety of people from near and far seeking better opportunities have come to call it home. Such diverse stories are the fabric of Fort Scott. This stirring program highlights the tapestry of people who helped build this community and transform America in the process.

A variety of programs on Sunday, July 5, feature Fort Scott’s role in some of the most pivotal events in American history. “Diversity on the Fort Scott Frontier” focuses on the multi-layered conceptions of freedom, encompassing vastly different ideas that led to “Bleeding Kansas” turmoil. There were those who were natives and immigrants, enslaved and free, soldiers and civilians, and people who sought to build up the community and those whose quest was to tear it down through conflict. As such, the history of Fort Scott is in many ways a microcosm of the history of Kansas and the United States. 

The 1850s, immediately preceding the Civil War, were a tumultuous time for our nation; having acquired vast territories to the west, the people of the United States needed to organize them and decide if they would come into the nation as free or slave states. Yet the debate was not a simple issue of right or wrong, equality or slavery. Come examine the many factors that were in play during westward expansion, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War with A Peculiar Institution: The Politics of Slavery in 1850s America.

On Friday, July 10, a special evening cannon firing will represent an 1840s military salute to “Old Glory.” Learn the symbolism of the Mountain Howitzer to American Indians and the meaning of the term “the gun that shoots twice” while witnessing the power of this artillery piece during a ceremonial firing at dusk.

A full schedule of activities for each day is listed below:


10:00 a.m. – Vegetable Gardening at Frontier Forts: A Forgotten Story
11:00 a.m. – Guided Tour
12:00 p.m. – Let the Games Begin – Historic Children’s Games
1:00 p.m. – 30 Gun Salute – Small Arms Firing Demonstration
2:00 p.m. – The Many Faces of Freedom – Tableau Program
3:00 p.m. – The Gun That Shoots Twice – Artillery Demonstration
4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat


10:00 a.m. – The Gun That Shoots Twice – Artillery Demonstration
11:00 a.m. – Guided Tour
1:00 p.m. – Diversity on the Fort Scott Frontier
2:00 p.m. – The Gun That Shoots Twice – Artillery Demonstration
3:00 p.m. – A Peculiar Institution: The Politics of Slavery in 1850s America
4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat


8:30 p.m. – Cannon Firing at Sunset

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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