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Fort Howard

After the War of 1812, Americans began to realize the need to defend and settle their new territory. This new country now stretched halfway across the continent, far from the settled seacoast, into lands inhabited by Native American tribes and French settlers, but still claimed by Britain. As Americans pushed westward to take over the fur trade, the United States government built a chain of forts in the western Great Lakes to protect and defend the great river routes into the interior. By 1816 a log stockade above the western bank of Green Bay established Fort Howard as a crucial link in the western chain. Fort Howard connected eastern forts like Fort Niagara (New York) and Fort Detroit (Michigan) with frontier outposts like Fort Winnebago (Portage, Wisconsin), Fort Crawford on the Mississippi River (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin), and Fort Snelling (Saint Paul, Minnesota). Each protected a strategic point along the waterways connecting the interior with the settled east. In 1820, the troops moved across the river and formed Camp Smith in what is now Heritage Hill State Historical Park. This area became the first American settlement west of Lake Michigan.


Fort Howard Hospital

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hospital was built outside of the walls of the fort during the years of 1834 and 1835. After the purchase of the land by the railroad, the hospital was moved to the corner of Kellogg and Chestnut Streets and used as a private residence. Building design is timber frame construction with dormer windows, modeled after the Federal architectural style popular from 1780-1830. The hospital was constructed in two phases and is actually two separate buildings.

Key Facts:

  • Original Build Date: 1834-1835
  • Original Owner: United States Army
  • Moved to Heritage Hill 1975, from Kellogg and Chestnut Streets
  • Construction Style: Federal – Timber Frame

Fort Howard Post School

The first school recorded at Fort Howard was in 1824 when Colonel McNeill, commander at the Fort, organized an educational group for the officers’ children and local children. According to research, instead of constructing a new building, they converted an already erected structure as said school. The construction and architecture of this original school is unknown, but it is assumed that it would have been similar to other fort buildings following in the federal style of architecture. The current school house at Heritage Hill is a replica.

Key Facts:

  • Original Build Date: 1982 (Reproduction)
  • Construction Style: Federal Style

Company Kitchen/Orderly Room

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the company kitchen was built by the 5th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army between 1831 and 1835. We do not have records of the exact 1836 use of this building, but to give guests the full fort experience, we interpret it as a Company Kitchen/Orderly Room. After the fort was dismantled the building was used as a private residence and a museum before moving to Heritage Hill in 1975. The architecture style is of the Federalist period with framed construction with dormer windows.

Key Facts:

  • Original Build Date: Circa 1835
  • Original Owner: US Army
  • Moved to Heritage Hill 1975, from Kellogg and Chestnut Streets
  • Construction Style: Federal – Timber Frame

Fort Howard Officer’s Quarters

This building is a replica built to historic specifications of an 1830’s surgeon’s residence. The architecture is in the Federal style, built with a frame construction with dormer windows. The costumed guides in the Officer’s Quarters showcases how officers and their wives would have lived during their time at the Fort. This building also houses our education department.

Key Facts:

  • Original Build Date: 1982 (Reproduction)
  • Construction Style: Federal Style

Fort Howard Guard House

This original Fort Howard building was constructed on the west bank of the Fox River between 1833-1835. Any visitor wanting to access to Fort Howard was required to enter through the lower sally port of this building. The upper story rooms served as the Commanding Officer’s Office, on duty guards’ keeping room, Light Prison, and Post Library. In the lower portion of the guardhouse is the full prison, and Sally Port.

Key Facts: 

  • Original Build Date: 1833-1835
  • Original Owner: US Army
  • Moved to Heritage Hill in 2010 from Kellogg and Chestnut Streets.
  • Construction Style: Federal Style