Here are some questions to ask before you visit Fort Bridger, while you’re there, and again after you return:
- How did Fort Bridger get its name? Why do you think it was named Fort Bridger, and not Fort Vasquez?
- Why did Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez decide to build a trading post here?
- Who were their customers?
- What was the Oregon Trail? The California Trail? The Mormon Trail?
- What did Fort Bridger have to do with each of those trails?
- One of Jim Bridger’s wives was a daughter of the Shoshone chief Washakie. Besides family life, might there also have been a business advantage to him from that relationship? What would it be?
- By the early 1850s, Jim Bridger was in a dispute with Mormons from the Salt Lake Valley over who owned the fort. (See Will Bagley’s article for details). If you had to choose a side in that disagreement, which would you choose? Why?
- What happened to the fort during the so-called Mormon War?
- Who was William Carter and how did he first come to Fort Bridger?
- What is a sutler?
- What were the main duties of the U.S. troops stationed at Fort Bridger after 1858?
- What did they eat when they were away from the fort and on campaign? (Hint—watch the video of fourth graders visiting Fort Bridger.)
- If you could choose to live here during any of the three main eras of frontier life at Fort Bridger—the mountain-man time, the Mormon time or the military time—which would you choose? Why? What would your job be?
THERE ARE HUNDREDS of more good questions a person could ask about Fort Bridger.
SEND US three interesting Fort Bridger questions of your own. Be sure to identify your school and classroom teacher or note if you are home schooled when you send in questions. Contact email@example.com for information on a 2014-2015 contest for submitting the most questions.