Upper Post of Fort Snelling: Band Barracks



The yellow brick barracks for the Fort Snelling band originally housed about 28 military musicians. Built in 1903, the barracks feature a three-story projecting bay with wooden porches on both sides on the first and second stories. The porches were originally open but the first-floor porches have now been enclosed. The second-story porches feature round, wooden columns to support the roof of the porch. Palladian windows add a graceful touch to the third story on both sides of the building. Inside, hardwood floors and tin tile ceilings extend throughout the main floor. Each floor had its own bathroom and a kitchen was located on the main floor. The building is in good condition, but the wooden porches are beginning to crumble.

Fort Snelling was hit especially hard by the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic. In October 1918, just the beginning of the outbreak, there were ten dead and over 500 sick soldiers at the fort. In order to slow the spread of the flu at the fort, an isolation hospital was needed to keep the sick away from the general population and act as overflow for the main hospital. Since the band barracks were located next to the hospital, it was an obvious choice. The barracks were quickly converted into an isolation hospital for soldiers.

The first wave of the epidemic lasted until mid-November and things started returning to normal at the fort. Then a second wave hit just before Christmas. Again, the isolation hospital was filled to capacity with sick soldiers. By the end of February 1919, the epidemic was contained. As the summer of 1920 came to a close, the outbreak was completely over and the band was able to move back into their barracks.

As of 2014, the building is empty and unused.

Fast Facts:
Commonly known as the Band Barracks
Building number: 57
Year built: 1903
Last year of occupancy: 1993
Square footage: 4,732
Floors: 2.5

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