Fort Ridgely State Park Improvements – Ridgely Township MN


The U.S. Army constructed Fort Ridgely in 1835. It became a state park in 1934 and received significant improvement work from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).


The CCC erected buildings made of local Morton rainbow granite and conducted an archaeological survey, supervised by the Minnesota Historical Society. Based on the survey, Corpsmen helped restore the original fort commissary which became a museum and meeting hall. In all of the state’s parks, “the fort commissary is the only remaining historic reconstruction done by the CCC.”

Source notes

Barbara W. Sommer, Hard Work and a Good Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 2008. Pg. 106.

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Location Info

Fort Ridgely State Park
Ridgely Township, MN

Location notes: The map indicates the approximate location of CCC improvements in the park.

Coordinates: 44.4482, -94.726545

One comment on “Fort Ridgely State Park Improvements – Ridgely Township MN

  1. Elizabeth J. Murnan

    The restoration and improvements made with granite from Morton was not the source of all the granite used in the CCC’s projects. About four miles from the Park, in the Minnesota Valley, on the farm originally first settled by Peter Glaser and wife Mary, there is a forty acre granite rock area that historically goes back centuries. The next generation to follow Peter and Mary Glaser, to receive ownership was daughter, Elizabeth, who married Charles Hellendrung. Elizabeth and Charles purchased farmland in Cairo Township in Renville County and the farm in the valley was divided amongst the children and one of the children, Elizabeth Agatha and her husband James Murnan purchased the farmland but, the two sons, John and Charles, each received twenty acres of the granite area. Children of John and Charles still have ownership of that area. I am a daughter of Elizabeth and James Murnan born in 1930, and I remember the CCC’s, camped at Fort Ridgely, coming in the cold of winter piled in back of a truck with crowbars, sledge hammers and shovels, to break slabs of granite to use in the improvements in the old fort structures, making new stairs for trails in hilly areas etc.. The CCC’s did wonderful work to make that Park open and useable for the people. All the schools had their school picnics there as there were playing areas, hiking paths, golf course, shelters etc. making it a fun place to go to picnic . Unfortunately, much of those things have been lost due to legislation on the state level and from a recreational value to all citizens and age groups, it has been planted with tall wildflowers and plants that make it difficult to explore the Park. The entrance building is a shoddy trailer house, usually closed. The CCC’s would
    had skills to make an entrance building inviting maybe with some granite. It is currently horse trails, horse flies, with little grooming for kids to run and play or older people to enjoy. The CCCs also did wonderful shaping and planting on the hillsides along the highway making it a more breathtaking site. That remains. Our neighbors and my family had the advantage of driving by the CCC Camp every day on our way to schoolin Fairfax.

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