We left Kremlin, MT, heading east on the Hi-Line (US 2). We wanted to visit Fort Union Trading Post Historical Site on the Missouri river at the Montana/North Dakota border. We had visited the site back in 1988 and found that the restoration of the main building had been completed and some university archaeology teams had located the foundation for the original walls. The lumber to rebuild the walls was on site and they were waiting for the archaeologists to complete their activities before starting work. We thought it would be interesting to stop and see the completed project.
“Fort Union Trading post National Historic Site is the site of a partially reconstructed trading post on the Missouri River and the North Dakota/Montana border twenty-five miles from Williston, North Dakota. Fort Union Trading Post was established in 1828 by the American Fur Company. It was not a government or military post, but a business, established for the specific purpose of doing business with the northern plains tribes. This trade business continued until 1867 making it the longest lasting American fur trading post. Fort Union Trading Post was the most important fur trading post on the upper Missouri until 1867. At this post, the Assiniboine, Crow, Cree, Ojibway, Blackfeet, Hidatsa, and other tribes traded buffalo robes and furs for trade goods including items such as beads, clay pipes, guns, blankets, knives, cookware and cloth. Today, the reconstructed Fort Union memorializes a brief period in American history when two cultures found common ground and mutual benefit through commercial exchange and cultural acceptance.”
We were delighted to see what a wonderful job had been done on the reconstruction. The completed trade building had many of the trade goods from its trading days on display with a ranger dressed in the trader costume of the day. They were even selling the trade goods in the trade building. They weren’t taking furs in trade only US currency. Oh well, I guess authenticity just goes so far.