Co. I, 25th U.S. Infantry Regiment, 1883.
Fort Snelling continued to expand in the decades following the Civil War. During the 1870s and 1880s, the fort became the headquarters of the U.S. military’s Department of the Dakota and was a staging and supply base for campaigns against American Indian nations in the west during the last half of the 1800s. During the 1880s the fort was garrisoned by the 25th U.S. Infantry, an African American regiment, often referred to as the "Buffalo Soldiers". The fort also served during the Spanish-American War(1898) and the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). Many stone and brick buildings were constructed after 1898 in order to house the infantry, cavalry and artillery units that garrisoned the post. Some of these structures are still standing today.
U.S. General Hospital #29, ca. 1919.
After the U.S. joined the fighting in World War I (1917-1918) Fort Snelling became as a processing center for thousands of Minnesota recruits. So many soldiers were housed at the fort that a temporary cantonment of hundreds of wooden buildings was constructed near where the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Airport is located today. During the war the fort’s massive brick barracks became a training school for junior officers and the post hospital was designated U.S. General Hospital #29 and treated wounded veterans returning from European battlefields.
3rd U.S. Infantry at Fort Snelling, 1918.
After World War I, Fort Snelling came to be regarded as the "country club of the army," and soldiers stationed at the fort enjoyed polo matches, swimming pools and other recreational activities. During the 1930s the post received a face-lift when the Civilian Conservation Corps worked on repairing old buildings and constructing new ones. When the Selective Service Act of 1940 went into effect, the Fort Snelling Reception Center was created to process new recruits and help prepare them for military service.