Visited 14 May 2010 – Fort George Wright (1897-1960) was built as one of the western consolidation posts after the end of the Indian wars. Smaller remote outposts were consolidated at posts built at rail centers where troops could be deployed anywhere in the country by rail within a matter of days. These rail centers were also populated areas and could support regimental sized posts.
Fort George Wright in Spokane Washington was authorized as a full regiment post but somehow got shortchanged in the funding process and was built to house about half a regiment. That size limitation plagued the fort over it’s entire history and limited it’s missions.
Visiting Fort George Wright is a process because the majority of the remaining structures are located on the grounds of a private school for Japanese girls run by the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, a branch of Mukogawa Women’s University of Nishinomiya. I called ahead and made an appointment to visit the campus and the Fort George Wright Museum also located on the campus.
I checked in at the administration building and they were most gracious. The main concern that the school has with visitors is that they respect the privacy of the students and we assured them that we would take special care to do that. The best time to visit is in the summer when the students are gone. Make sure you call first.
We went to the museum first which is a small building located in the maintenance area and we were amazed at the number of displays and the depth of the information available. We moved out into the old post area and around the old Officer’s Row. The Institute has been a great steward of the fort property and they have achieved the correct balance between repurposing the buildings and honoring their origins.
The maintenance of the grounds is immaculate and probably better than it ever was under the U.S. Army. Officer’s row looks great and the buildings include signage that explains the original heritage.
I walked all around the campus and was very impressed with the level and quality of the structural maintenance. This is another great example of finding the right steward for these great old posts.
The other half of the old post is on the property of the Spokane Falls Community College and we couldn’t find a single remaining structure or reference to the old post. It looks like they are so pressed for space that they are using every bit for parking and facilities. Quite a contrast in how organizations deal with our history.
This post was written by JohnStanton on May 25, 2010