The Officers’ Quarters was one of only four original buildings still standing when Fort Snelling’s restoration began in the 1970s. But, the 1846 building had changed a lot throughout the years.
The existing stone building had twelve sets of quarters, each consisting of a parlor, bed chamber and a kitchen in the cellar. It housed officers, their families and servants and replaced the first wooden quarters. Its porch, which originally wrapped around each end of the building to the parade ground, now stretched only along the back.
In 1903, a second story and expansive porch was added. The building, its exterior covered with yellow stucco and a red-slate roof, reflected the popular Spanish-mission style of architecture. The redesigned building, now with only six quarters, was continuously occupied until 1975.
In the 1970s, archaeologists removed concrete basement floors from a later period to excavate all of the apartments. Traces of earlier foundations and fireplaces were found, along with some 28,000 objects, providing a glimpse at the material culture and diet of Army families.
Not only have the fort’s stone and wood-frame buildings been restored to their original appearance, but each day throughout the summer season, costumed guides breathe life into the buildings’ original inhabitants. A multimedia show overlooking one of the partially excavated cellars explains the work of the archaeologists.