The first U.S. military post west of the Missouri River, Fort Atkinson was established in 1820 on
recommendation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Located at Fort Calhoun, the fort was important to the early fur trade, river traffic and Indian relations.
Much of the historic outpost has been reconstructed, and interpretive work continues. Living history demonstrations are scheduled periodically during the summer.
Living history demonstrations are staged periodically at the fort ... the blacksmith and gunsmith set up at the Armorer's Shop, while other volunteers interpret military and civilian activities in various rooms along the west barracks wall. The carpenter and cooper also have workshops there, and at times, the Indian Agent can be found in his quarters at the Council House. General information and interpretive schedules are available at the visitor center. Northeast of the visitor center is a statue display area of the "First Council" depicting the 1804 meeting between Lewis & Clark and the Oto-Missouria.
The grounds are open year-round, and the Harold W. Andersen visitor center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer. There is a small picnic area near the fortification parking area. While no food or lodging is available at the park, camping, restaurants and overnight accommodations are available nearby. Tour groups should contact the superintendent's office in advance to make special arrangements.
Please do not smoke on the trail or in the buildings. Grassland fires are especially dangerous and spread rapidly. Do not disturb the archaeological remains or take historic objects. Pets are permitted on the grounds but must be kept on a leash.
The Harold W. Andersen Visitor Center is open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor Center is also open on weekends only from May 4 through May 19 and September 2 through October 14. An admission fee of $2 per adult and $1 for children under 13 (under 3 is free). Park grounds open at 8 a.m. daily.
Living History Schedule for 2013, as follows: Living History schedule with interpretations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as follows: May 4 & May 5, June 5 & 6; July 6 & July 7; August 3 & 4; August 31 & September 1; October 5 & 6. On these days, volunteers portray life at an 1820's military fort.