Area history buffs learned about how Fort Scott was constructed in the 1840s Saturday evening at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

Area history buffs learned about how Fort Scott was constructed in the 1840s Saturday evening at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

About 35 people attended the “Crack Post of the Frontier” tour, which was designed to highlight the specifics of construction technology in the mid-1800s and the care with which the fort’s buildings were built.

The fort was designed by Capt. Thomas Swords, who wanted to make it the “Crack post of the frontier.” Intended to be a permanent post at the edge of the then-United States border with the Indian Territories, local contractors were hired to construct the building of rough-hewn oak and walnut beams cut from the surrounding woods.

“When they were put together right,” said NHS Ranger Barak Geertsen, “a giant could come along and lift it up without it falling apart.”

But the post only lasted from 1842 to 1853, abandoned by the Army as the U.S. expanded westward. Some of the buildings were torn down to be used in other structures. Others were remodeled. Yet 11 of the site’s 18 buildings still have some original elements.

The tour was engaging, employing living historians to enact small vignettes of significant events during the post’s construction, and demonstrating construction tools and equipment.

Matthew Wells portrayed Sgt. John Hamilton, who cut down the very first tree for the very first building on post.

“He cut it down just so he could say he did it, and from then on was pretty much just in charge of yelling at everyone else,” Wells said, chuckling.

Wells is a living historian in civilian as well as military roles, and said he hoped the tour would leave a lasting impression on the visitors.

“I hope it helps them understand the quality of the work the men did on this fort and the care they put into it,” Wells said.

Fort Scott resident Linda Haimerl’s brother is a re-enactor at the site, and said she comes to many of its tours. This one she said, showed her something she hadn’t yet seen.

“I didn’t realize there was a saw mill here and all of the construction they had to do to build this,” Haimerl said. “It was very educational.”