The military storekeeper, or sutler, maintained a near monopoly over the sale of manufactured goods within Fort Snelling. This Sutler Store functioned much like a modern military post exchange, or PX.
The Sutler Store served also at times as a soldiers' club. A back room and a walled enclosure were added in the rear of the building during the 1830s, providing a cozy spot for the men to consume what liquor or fancy food they might afford or be authorized to purchase on credit.
Archaeology provided details such as the location of the sales counter and examples of merchandise. One crate of clay pipes, for example, had been dropped in shipment; dozens of identical, new-but-broken pipes were found in the excavations. And coins found in the ground showed where the sales counter had once stood.
Several sutlers served Fort Snelling over the years, and inventories of their stock were used to recreate the contents of the store. Visitors may actually purchase replicas of items that were sold in the store during the 1820s. Only the prices are modern!