Minnesota's Most Endagered Place – the Upper Post of Fort Snelling

This is Minnesota’s Most Endangered Place – the Upper Post of Fort Snelling. It was abandoned years ago. And today, in the shadow of the Minneapolis International Airport control tower, it stands as a monument to waste and neglect. Several weeks ago, me and my brother Paul E. Olson took these pictures. Check ’em out. We found a little surprise about halfway through the evening.

An aerial map

The Hospital

The entrance to the hospital. Note the stonework and the granite steps.

The barracks

This building was open until 2006. It contained a pool hall, a three lane bowling alley, and a ballroom upstairs for concerts. In the late eighties I was doing PT with the Marine Corps in the polo grounds across the street, and a bunch of weekend warriors set up an M-60 (that’s a belt fed machine gun) on the steps and fired blanks at us. They were trying to scare the green guys shitless, and it worked.

As we were shooting the building next to the gym, Paul pointed in front of us and said, “Look at that! Right in front of you!” I was clueless. “What? A bunch of grass and weeds.” He said, “No, look at it. Look close. It’s marijuana.” No kidding, we were standing in a marijuana field.

I don’t know how it got there, but I’d guess either kids used to go back here and party and they tossed their seeds on the ground or it is left over industrial hemp from the First World War. I assume this is federal land so I don’t know who’s responsible for growing the illegal plant. Maybe they should arrest the land owner ;-).

The gas lamps outside the barracks.

Officer’s row comprises about a dozen brick Victorian homes.

It’s a shame to see these handcrafted homes wither away with time.

The married officers lived in these Victorian homes with their families.

The bachelor officers lived in this barracks.

To see more high quality photography like this…

please visit pauleolson.com. Prints available.

5 thoughts on “Minnesota's Most Endagered Place – the Upper Post of Fort Snelling”

  1. Steve, we almost had the same situation here in San Francisco with the Presidio. But people came out and save it from extinction, they turned it into offices, homes, though most of it is still empty, it is gradually coming back to life.

    Great Pictures,

  2. Tabs,
    I’ve been to the Presidio. Christine’s aunt lived in a townhome right on a golf green. We had a BBQ, sipped wine, and watched the golfers hit shot two. It was up on a hill and man was the vista nice.

    Why is most of it still empty?

  3. Hello Steve,

    I have recently found your blog and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it. The above photos are great. BTW were you in the Marines?


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