Map of Military Bases in Minnesota
Camp Ripley is a National Guard training center located in Little Falls, Minnesota. It became a military base in 1920 after the state of Minnesota purchased 12,000 acres of land for training purposes. Military officials named the base Camp Ripley after a fort called Fort Ripley, which had been decommissioned in 1877. The original Fort Ripley was named after Brigadier General Eleazar Wheelock Ripley, who served in the War of 1812, and the remains of the fort still sit on the property of Camp Ripley.
When the base first opened, living quarters were not built, and soldiers had to sleep in tents. Because of the harsh Minnesota winters, Camp Ripley could only be used for training in the summer. The government discovered that this was an inefficient way to do things and quickly built living quarters so the camp could be used year-round.
Today, Camp Ripley has expanded to cover 53,000 acres and is used to fulfill training requirements for many different military and civilian organizations.
Fort Snelling was established in the years following the War of 1812 and was originally used as protection against Native Americans. Since its beginning, it has served the military in a number of different unique capacities. During the Civil War, Fort Snelling was used as an induction station where new troops were trained before being sent to battle. During the Dakota War of 1862, the fort was used as a concentration camp, imprisoning hundreds of women and children from Dakota. During World War II, soldiers were sent to Fort Snelling to learn Japanese and it became the primary home of the Military Intelligence Service Language School until it was moved to California after the war.
Fort Snelling was decommissioned in 1946 following the end of World War II. In 1960, it became a National Historic Landmark, and most of the fort has been rebuilt so that it resembles its original appearance. During the spring, summer, and fall, volunteers dress up and act out what life would have been like for soldiers at the post when it was established, and civilians can visit the historic site.