Officers' Amusement Hall
Fort Assinniboine Historic District
Fort Assinniboine officers pooled their resources to pay enlisted men an extra .25 per day to build a gathering place for the officers, their wives, and visiting dignitaries. Troops likely quarried the stone for the one-story building in the Missouri River Breaks. The fort’s women decorated the hall, often called the “Hop Room” for the frequent informal dances (or “hops”) held there. Members of the military band stationed at the post regularly played for hops, balls, and cotillions, attended both by visitors staying at the fort and officers and their wives stationed elsewhere in Montana, including Fort Maginnis (over 150 miles away). Other amusements included parlor games and eight-course banquets. A hand-painted mural, once a backdrop for frequent performances, remains on the interior. Lieutenant John Pershing, stationed at the fort in 1895-96, was reportedly an avid participant in the amateur theatricals. The fort’s most famous resident, Pershing earned his place in history as the commanding general during World War I. In the 1930s, the Agricultural Research Center used the building, now empty, as a garage.