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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Wagons and riders rounding a bend in the trail near Jamestown, ND, June 1998
Wagons and riders rounding a bend in the trail, Pipestone Reservoir area, near Jamestown, ND. Photo: Linda Deutscher, June 1998

Fort Seward Wagon Train

This annual re-enactment of a pioneer wagon train provides an authentic experience with wagons, horses, pack tents and period costumes for participants. The wagon train began as a one-time experience in 1969, by a group of local citizens as a way to promote and preserve the history of North Dakota, particularly the local history of Jamestown and the Fort Seward site in Jamestown. Fort Seward was a military post, built between 1872 and 1877.

Fort Seward Inc., a nonprofit organization, decided to continue offering the wagon train ride each June for those people who wish to relive the pioneer family experience. The wagon train consists of canvas-topped box wagons just like those seen jostling about in western movies. The wagons are pulled by teams of draft horses or mules. An experienced "teamster" is assigned to drive each wagon. The wagon train is equipped with a "chuck wagon." The week-long working trail ride covers about 15 miles a day, starting at Jamestown and following a different trail each year. The train will stop at known historical sites, marked and unmarked, along the way. In the evening the wagons are circled around a campsite, where activities involve arts and crafts, camp craft and nature lore. Trail riders are encouraged to bring their musical instruments, craft material and share them. Singing, skits, history talks, and sharing stories around the campfire signal the end of the day.

Registration is limited to 150 wagon passengers on a first come, first serve basis. Participants have come from many states and countries, of all ages, and with families.

Documentation includes brochures, newspaper articles, vacation and tourist catalogs, and two videos from 1998 and 1999.

Originally submitted by: Kent Conrad, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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