Historic Fort Snelling

National Historic Landmark

Mailing Address:
200 Tower Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55111


Closed for the season except for special events.
Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day:
Tue-Sat 10 am-5 pm
Sun Noon-5 pm
Open Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day, 10 am-5 pm
Sat Only 10 am-5 pm



Get Tickets
  • $12 adults
  • $10 seniors and college students w/ID
  • $10 veterans and active military
  • $6 children ages 5-17
  • Free for children age 4 and under and MNHS members
  • Museums on Us: One free admission for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch card holders the first full weekend of every month. Bring your card and picture ID.
  • Free parking




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2017 Dec 13

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Gate and Guardhouse

Gate and Guardhouse

Start your visit here and learn about the guards' duties. Ask the guards about the day's schedule of activities.

Gatehouse History

Built during the last half of 1825 and destroyed prior to 1878, the Gatehouse attractively marked the main sally port of Fort Snelling. The circular opening above the gate may have housed a painted emblem, or perhaps a carved eagle like was used at 1830s Fort Winnebago in Wisconsin. Guards in the Gatehouse checked all who passed. After dark, the main gates were shut and only a small door was used by soldiers returning from pass or duty outside the walls.

Guardhouse History

From here details of soldiers were dispatched, two hours on post and four hours off, during each 24-hour, guard-duty shift. The building contained an office (that doubled as a sleeping room for the commissioned "Officer of the Day"); guardroom with musket racks, fire buckets and a long, low single bunk where soldiers rested when off duty; a main cell; and two so-called “black holes” or solitary confinement cells. Soldiers and sometimes civilians were confined here in the only jail in the territory. During the Civil War, a new, larger stone prison was constructed outside the fort’s walls and the Guardhouse was no longer used. It was demolished by 1880. Connected to the Guardhouse was a room for storage of lime, used for making mortar and whitewash, and a room for charcoal, burned in the blacksmith’s forge. Research has yet to determine whether these rooms were present in the 1820s, though they certainly had been added by the next decade.

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