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Fort Steuben Ohio

Updated on July 4, 2010

The First American Regiment, as commanded by the Continental Congress, built Fort Steuben along the Ohio River in 1786. Its main objective was to stop illegal settlers from moving into Ohio until surveyors could map out the territory known as the Seven Ranges. Captain John Francis Hamtramck was in charge of building the fort, and a blockhouse was the first building erected on the site. The fort was completed by February of 1787. It was then named after the Prussian Drillmaster Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, because of his assistance to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

In 1790, Fort Steuben burned to the ground. Settlers in the area built a town on the grounds, naming it Steubenville.  Today, a reconstructed fort built in 1986 sits on the area where the original fort once stood. 

Fort Steuben Slideshow

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View of Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Fort Steuben hospital.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Fort Steuben apothecary.  Photo by Gerber Ink.View of Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.The stockade within Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Blockhouse quarters at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.A dining table with a soldier's items.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Soldier playing checkers.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Blacksmith shop at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Officer's dining table at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Officer's sleeping quarters at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.Outside view of Fort Buildings.  Note the overhang on the second story which allowed soldiers to shoot invaders surrounding the building through holes in the floor.  Location of Fort Steuben in Ohio.  (Image from OhioHistoryCentral.org)
View of Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
View of Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Fort Steuben hospital.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Fort Steuben hospital. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Fort Steuben apothecary.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Fort Steuben apothecary. Photo by Gerber Ink.
View of Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
View of Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
The stockade within Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
The stockade within Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Blockhouse quarters at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Blockhouse quarters at Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
A dining table with a soldier's items.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
A dining table with a soldier's items. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Soldier playing checkers.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Soldier playing checkers. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Blacksmith shop at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Blacksmith shop at Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Officer's dining table at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Officer's dining table at Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Officer's sleeping quarters at Fort Steuben.  Photo by Gerber Ink.
Officer's sleeping quarters at Fort Steuben. Photo by Gerber Ink.
Outside view of Fort Buildings.  Note the overhang on the second story which allowed soldiers to shoot invaders surrounding the building through holes in the floor.
Outside view of Fort Buildings. Note the overhang on the second story which allowed soldiers to shoot invaders surrounding the building through holes in the floor.
Location of Fort Steuben in Ohio.  (Image from OhioHistoryCentral.org)
Location of Fort Steuben in Ohio. (Image from OhioHistoryCentral.org)

Steubenville

Bezaleel Wells and James Ross founded the town of Steubenville in 1797. The first tract of land in Steubenville was sold on August 25, 1797. The Steubenville Federal Land Office was build next to Fort Steuben to record deeds for the Northwest Territory. This original building is still located on the Fort Steuben historic site, and is a point of interest on the tour.

Bezaleel Wells brought the first Merino sheep to the United States in 1914, followed by the first woolen mill in the U.S. built in 1915.

Chief Red Cloud, who lived to be 120 years of age, is buried in the Steubenville Union Cemetery.

Visiting Fort Steuben

Fort Steuben is open from May through October of each year. They are open from 10-4 on Monday through Friday, Saturday from 10-4 and Sunday from 12-4. They are not open on holidays. Fort Steuben is wheelchair accessible. At the time of this writing, admission was $5 for adults, $3 for Seniors and military members with I.D.; children under 6 are free.

While many people are anxious to get out into the outside area of Fort Steuben, there is a wonderful museum on the premises which houses many artifacts. In addition, there are always knowledgeable staff members on hand to guide you on a tour or answer your questions. Items of interest include period clothing worn by settlers and Ohio Indians, artifacts ranging from rifles to wampum and mini dioramas. Adjacent to the museum is a gift shop which offers many books on Fort Steuben, Ohio history and the Revolutionary War.

Another point of interest that shouldn't be missed is the Steubenville Federal Land Office, which is next to the fort. It houses more artifacts from the early days of the Northwest Territory and historical documents relating to the office.

Visitors may also enjoy the many other programs and special events offered on the grounds. Concerts are given at the amphitheater regularly during the summer, and special events, such as the Ohio Valley Frontier Days, are fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Wear comfortable shoes when visiting historic Fort Steuben as some of the surfaces of the outdoor areas are uneven. The entire tour of the grounds and museum will take approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours of your time.

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