State Historical Park
82034 Fort Ave. | Burwell, NE 68823-9801
Located near Elyria, Fort Hartsuff is typical of Plains infantry outposts. It stood as a buffer between settlers and Native Americans, and to protect the Pawnee from the war-like Sioux, in the North Loup River Valley from 1874 to 1881. Because the main fort buildings were constructed of a lime/concrete mixture, many have survived. Acquired as a historical park in 1961, it has been restored as it was when soldiers patrolled the North Loup and Cedar river valleys and pioneered a new trail to the Black Hills gold fields in the 1870s. The park grounds are open 8 a.m. to sunset year round.
Fort Hartsuff’s Visitors Center is located in the historic Post Headquarters building built in 1874, which originally housed the commanding officer’s office, the adjutant’s office, the quartermaster’s office and the commissary’s office. The center features interpretive displays about fort history. A gift shop located within the Visitors Center includes books for the serious historian and a wide range of gifts for people of all ages.
A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online at GoOutdoorsNE.com.
Because the main fort buildings were constructed of a lime/concrete mixture, many have survived. Original buildings still standing at the fort include the post headquarters, enlisted men’s barracks, officers’ quarters, commanding officers quarters, post hospital, quartermaster storehouse, commissary, stables, laundress quarters, bakery and guardhouse. Additionally, a wagon scale, blacksmith and carpenter shop and privy have been reconstructed.
Most buildings open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Living history demonstrations are staged periodically throughout the summer, with reenactors portraying the post sutler, post surgeon, blacksmiths, soldiers and laundresses.
Every spring, the Fremont Pathfinders take over the Fort for an entire weekend for their spring muster, usually in April or May. The soldiers fill most of the buildings with re-enactors as was typical in the 1870’s of a Plains fort. They have a blacksmith working the blacksmith shop, laundresses doing laundry, a post surgeon in the hospital and drills on the parade ground, as well as a skirmish on Sunday afternoon to entertain the visitors. The canons are fired all weekend long.
Usually in mid-August, the Fremont Pathfinders return to the fort for a more laid-back living history weekend, incorporating an evening flag retirement ceremony during their weekend stay.
A park entry permit is required to visit state parks and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors, or in advance of your arrival online. View those fees, as well as attraction and amenity pricing.