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A rich history dominated by the fur trade characterizes the town of Fort Calhoun. Its location on the west bank of the Missouri River drew such venturesome individuals as Manuel Lisa, who established a fur-trading post nearby, and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who recommended that a fort be built where they met with Native Americans in 1804. Fifteen years later Fort Atkinson emerged as the nation's first and largest military post west of the Missouri River.
As the most remote military post 1820-27 and the only government authority for the vast territory to the west, Fort Atkinson assumed the overwhelming task of regulating the Western fur trade and maintaining peaceful relations between traders and the area's indigenous population. Besides acting as the gateway to the fur regions of the Upper Missouri and the Rocky Mountains, the fort served as a jump-off point for several early expeditions to the Mexican settlements of Taos and Santa Fe.
The Washington County Historical Museum , said to be the oldest county museum in Nebraska, is at 102 N. 14th St. Life during the 19th century is depicted in several galleries. Included in the exhibits are a sandbox where children can unearth fossils, a handsomely carved banister from an 1880s home, a bench from the state's first college and Native American items; phone (402) 468-5740.

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Fort Atkinson State Historical Park
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Current Location: Fort Calhoun, Nebraska