View Full List of National Register: Wyoming Listings

View Full List of National Register: Wyoming Listings

Cantonment Reno



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The site of Cantonment Reno is in the northeast quadrant of Wyoming, in Johnson County, and on the west bank of the Powder River about 25 miles east of the town of Kaycee. Today no structures remain of the cantonment that was important for a short period of two years during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. From 1876 to 1878 Cantonment Reno served the United States Army as a supply post in a campaign to force the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe from their last great hunting grounds. Close to the eastern foothills of the Big Horn Mountains and on the western fringe of the Powder River Basin, it was purposely located within those hunting grounds, along a major north-south line of transportation and communication called the Bozeman Trail.

Although no physical structures remain of the once expansive supply depot, numerous, shallow depressions in the ground are evidence of their former existence. It is known that over 40 major log structures were built at Cantonment Reno during just the first period of construction under the direction of Captain Edwin Pollock of the Ninth Infantry. Storehouses, a hospital, huts for officers and enlisted men, outbuildings, stables and corrals were built of logs hewn from cottonwood trees that grew in a belt along the bottomland of the Powder River. In the fall of 1877 a second period of construction was begun at the cantonment with the arrival of three companies of the Fifth Cavalry from the campaign field. New buildings completed by early December, 1877 included three barracks, three mess rooms, three large cavalry stables, one quartermaster's stable, an additional office, a new guard house, a corn building, and a carpenter's shop. At peak strength the post contained 358 men, a large garrison by Wyoming military post standards.

The ultimate dissatisfaction of Pollock and his troops with their earth-roofed huts caused the captain to request from his superiors a sawmill, along with permission to look for a good source of timber. This led to eventual abandonment of the post and establishment of what is today known as Fort McKinney, located on the Clear Fork. By July 15, 1878 most of Pollock's men had left the Powder River post for the site of the new post. The army had vacated Cantonment Reno by the end of 1878.



Date Added to Register:
Friday, July 29, 1977
Johnson County
Johnson County
Smithsonian Number: 


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