Significant structures of the fort's military period, some dating to 1849, have survived intact because homesteaders purchased and lived in the buildings and public agencies later took steps to preserve them. The complete restoration of nearly a dozen structures to their historic appearance provides visitors with a glimpse of a bygone military era.
We started our tour with the Visitors Center, where we watched a short film on the history of the fort. The Visitors Center was the Fort's Commissary storehouse -- however, my photographer (aka Alan) failed to get a picture of the storehouse -- shame, shame. However, he did manage to get a picture of the rifles the Infantry used then.
Women were responsible for the laundry and tending the garden.
To protect the post well, a privy or general sink, was built for four companies. The sewerage was channeled from there to the Laramie River -- YUK. We should ever be thankful for the modern-day plumbing we have -- something we often take for granted. And just think about the many things that river water was used for.
The cavalry barracks was the largest building at Fort Laramie and the earliest of the lime-concrete structures to survive intact. It was built to meet the need for more housing during the Indian Wars. Soldiers slept in two large, open squad bays on the second floor.
We drove down the road, but there wasn't much available as far as food. However, we did manage to find a small place in Guernsey, Wyoming -- "The Lunch Box."
Inside was a map with tons of little pieces of paper with names of those who have visited The Lunch Box. Of course, we added our names to the list -- in Arkansas and South Dakota...lol.
A few miles from the wagon ruts and our final destination for the day is Register Cliff. This cliff is where emigrants would carve their names into the soft rock. More than 700 names can still be seen on the cliff and on other rocks nearby. The rock is a memorial to the emigrants who felt a need to leave their mark on the journey of their lives in which they left everything they knew and traveled for months, hopefully to a new life. At one time, the names included dates as early as 1829 and one reportedly from 1797, both of which were found to be authentic. Soldiers from Fort Laramie occasionally inscribed their names, as well as ranchers and cowboys. "Others" since then have tried to join history by adding their names -- now there is a fence to help prevent the average person from scrawling their name on the rocks. It is a tribute to those early settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail.