Monday, March 20, 2017

Congresswoman Jenkins Introduces Legislation To Protect Fort Scott History

Press release from Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02) introduced legislation (H.R. 1541) to authorize the transfer of the Fort Scott, Kan., Civil War era blockhouse known as Lunette Blair to the National Park Service at the Fort Scott National Historic Site, preserving a treasured historical building.

“It is vitally important to preserve those key pieces of our Kansas history which fit into our story as a nation,” said Congresswoman Jenkins. “That is why today I am re-introducing my legislation to authorize the transfer of the Lunette Blair blockhouse to the Fort Scott National Historic Site. Since its construction in 1863, the blockhouse, which is
the sole remaining structure of four original fortifications, has been a landmark of the community of Fort Scott and a reminder of Kansas’s role in preserving the Union.”

“Through the combined preservation efforts of passionate citizens of the community, the blockhouse endures as a fixture of Fort Scott’s historical legacy,” Congresswoman Jenkins continued. “It is an honor to help these individuals and local organizations transfer this important structure into the care of the Park Service at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.”

Brief History of the Lunette Blair blockhouse:

  • During the Civil War, the Union Army originally constructed four fortified structures, or lunettes, around Fort Scott. These structures were known amongst the soldiers as Fort Lincoln, Fort Henning, Fort Insley, and Fort Blair, of which Fort Blair, known today as Lunette Blair or the Western Blockhouse, is the only remaining Civil War blockhouse in the community of Fort Scott.

  • Immediately after the Civil War, the federal government sold these structures to private owners. Lunette Blair itself had several owners since the 19th century including Dr. W.S. McDonald and later the Molly Foster Berry Chapter of the DAR who, along with the Bourbon County Historical Preservation Association and others presently, have continued the building’s historic preservation.

Lunette Blair has been a fixture of the community for over a century. For decades its image even became the insignia for a local business, the Western Insurance Company, where the “Western Blockhouse” logo symbolized security and protection from 1924 through 1986 after the business ultimately closed down. Former Western Insurance employees have been passionate volunteer caretakers of the blockhouse for decades.

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