Celebrate the season with the 35th Annual Candlelight Tour at Fort Scott NHS

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

This holiday season, Fort Scott National Historic Site invites you to celebrate with your family and friends by visiting the site for its 35th Annual Candlelight Tour. The light of over 700 candle lanterns will provide the backdrop for an enchanting evening as reenactors in period clothing bring to life scenes of celebration from Fort Scott’s past.


In the first scene on the tour, cowboys from Texas are celebrating the end of the first cattle drive to Fort Scott in 1866. They find themselves opposed by Kansans who are concerned about “Texas fever” spreading to their cattle and by those who are unwilling to forgive Texas secessionists who opposed Kansas in the Civil War.

The second scene, set in 1848, will have stories of soldiers who have safely returned from the Mexican American War and are now excited about stories of gold in California.

In January 1861, Kansas became the 34th state; at the same time, the Union was collapsing as many states were seceding. A celebration of Kansas statehood and discussion of the impending crisis will be the topic of the third scene on the tour.

In scene four, residents of Fort Scott will be discussing the growth of the town of Fort Scott in January 1858. Featured stories will include a ball held to celebrate the new management of the Free State Hotel and the establishment of a newspaper and a railroad.

In the final scene of the tour, veterans of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry will be reuniting with their former comrades in 1916, more than fifty years after the Civil War ended. As the National Park Service was established in 1916, this scene is being offered in commemoration of the NPS centennial as is the theme of celebration for this year’s tour.

The tours will be offered December 2 and 3. Tours on December 2 will begin at 6:30 p.m. and go every 15 minutes until 9 p.m. On Saturday, December 3, the tours will run from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale. Reservations and advanced purchase of tickets is required. Visitors can pick up tickets at the site’s visitor center or reserve them by calling (620) 223-0310. Payments can be made via cash or charge (DISCOVER, MasterCard, Visa). Tickets are $8.00 for adults; children five and under are free. Tickets are nonrefundable. The tour is filling up, so reserve your tickets soon.

Western National Parks Association, which operates the site’s bookstore, sponsors the tour. Proceeds generated cover the cost of conducting the tour.

From November 1-March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. For more information about the candlelight tour or other events at the site, call 620-223- 0310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/fosc.

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