Filed Under Helena

Parade Ground

Fort Harrison Veterans Hospital Historic District

Historic military forts across the United States differ greatly, but most share a common landscape feature—the parade ground—where soldiers practiced military drills, held ceremonies, and gathered for recreation. Fort Harrison’s parade ground has changed little since 1895. Using standardized plans, contractors created a rectangular 1000-foot-by-400-foot parade ground with triangular end points. In 1896, Companies B, D, and E of the 22nd Infantry installed a flagpole and cannon near the center of the parade ground. African American soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment, who had served with distinction during the 1899-1902 Philippine-American War, completed landscaping the parade grounds and residential areas in 1903. Cottonwood, mountain ash, and spruce trees, purchased from the State Nursery Company, were the same species as those planted at the nearby Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. After World War I, the grounds served as recreation space for hospital patients and staff. Over a century later, new buildings to the north have changed the parade ground’s shape, but the lawn and many mature trees planted by past soldiers still reflect the fort’s early days.

Images

Fort Harrison Parade Ground
Fort Harrison Parade Ground View looking southeast at flagpole plaza Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Fort Harrison Veterans’ Hospital Historic District. On file at Montana State Historic Preservation Office. Creator: Jon Axline Date: May 2016
Fort Harrison Parade Ground
Fort Harrison Parade Ground View to the East South East Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Fort Harrison Veterans’ Hospital Historic District. On file at Montana State Historic Preservation Office. Creator: Jon Axline Date: May 2016
Fort Harrison Parade Ground, Helena, MT
Fort Harrison Parade Ground, Helena, MT View looking north at flag pole Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Fort Harrison Veterans’ Hospital Historic District. On file at Montana State Historic Preservation Office. Creator: Jon Axline, photographer Date: May 2016
Fort Harrison Parade Ground, Helena, MT
Fort Harrison Parade Ground, Helena, MT View to Southeast Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Fort Harrison Veterans’ Hospital Historic District. On file at Montana State Historic Preservation Office. Creator: Jon Axline Date: May 2016

Location

3687 Veterans Drive | public

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Parade Ground,” Historic Montana, accessed April 14, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3406.