Fort Abraham LincolnApprox. Time: 0 hours
Activity Level: Easiest

The last home of the youngest general in American history, George Custer, is alive on Cavalry Square at Fort Abraham Lincoln. After fire destroyed their first home at Fort Lincoln in February, 1874, Civil War hero Custer set about altering standard army design to rebuild the house to suit his wife Libbie's tastes. This, then, truly was the "Custer House." Over the same site as the burned house, a new one was quickly built with a large, 32-foot parlor with a bay window, a billiard room on the second floor, library, and plenty of rooms for his relatives, gun collection and hunting trophies. A sweeping veranda on the east and north completed the most impressive dwelling on Officer's Row. Guided tours by uniformed soldiers or Custer's maids are conducted in a "living history" style, taking visitors on a time trip to 1875. Coincidentally, a Mandan Indian village named On-a-Slant existed on the site for about 200 years. It was abandoned after a smallpox epidemic in 1781, when the Mandan moved north to the villages where Lewis and Clark found them two decades later. A thousand Mandan, or more, lived here comfortably in 85 round lodges of earth and wood. Remarkable farmers, the Mandan pioneered corn cultivation in the region, also growing beans, squash, sunflowers and tobacco in the fertile bottoms along the Missouri River. Mandan villages like On-a-Slant were centers of commerce for centuries, attracting goods through an inter-tribal trading network that stretched from the American Southwest and the Rocky Mountains to the forests of Canada. A $1.9 million restoration of On-a-Slant is well underway. Four earthlodges are rebuilt and filled with exhibits on the Mandan and their culture.