Fort Ridgely was a United States Army outpost (1853–1867) near the Dakota reservation in southwestern Minnesota (located near Fairfax). Built between 1853–1855, it played an important role in the Dakota War of 1862. The Battle of Fort Ridgely was fought there in two engagements over August 20–22, 1862 between Army volunteers and refugees from the Minnesota River valley, and Dakota forces.
The Army abandoned the Fort in 1867 and moved westward. Civilians occupied the remaining buildings and later dismantled the structures for their own use.
Today the building foundations are preserved by the Nicollet County Historical Society and owned by the Minnesota Historical Society within the boundaries of Fort Ridgely State Park. The old commissary building (partially reconstructed by the Veteran Conservation Corps in the 1930s) now houses the museum. The fort was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, while much of the park was added in 1989.Photo gallery