Tales from Fort Atkinson: Feeding a Frontier Fort
Suzanne Gucciardo, Interpreter at Fort Atkinson State Historic Park, discusses the thriving agricultural program at Fort Atkinson between 1819 and 1827.
"When the Missouri Expedition was sent into the little known reaches of the Louisiana Purchase to establish a U.S. military presence, the Army failed to appreciate the difficulty of feeding its men on the frontier. Following a disastrous winter of 1819-1820, Colonel Atkinson was determined to keep his garrison healthy through cultivation of grain crops and vegetables. The agriculture program at Fort Atkinson not only provided a surplus of food for the men and their families, it also provided important information about farming on the plains for the settlers who would come later."
Humanities Nebraska provides major funding for this program. Humanities Nebraska is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.