Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters Historic Site, Portage

#164 of 218 in Museums in Wisconsin
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters is a historic site in Portage, Wisconsin. Located between the Fox River and the Wisconsin River, the site contains two historic buildings: the "surgeon's quarters" and Garrison School. The "surgeon's quarters", built circa 1820, has served multiple purposes over time. Garrison School was built circa 1850. Both properties are owned, operated, and maintained by the Wisconsin Society Daughters of the American Revolution, which operates it as a historic house museum with 19th century period furnishings.
"The Portage" was a land bridge just 1 1/4 miles wide separating waterways that flow into the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. The Fox River flows north toward Green Bay, providing access to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and the Atlantic Ocean. The Wisconsin River flows southwest to the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The area around Portage was an early travel route for Native Americans. Centuries before the white men arrived, they traversed the 2700-pace foot path between the rivers and recognized it as an important travel route.
In the early 1800s, the U.S. government recognized the geographical importance of "le Portage", which became known as "Portage". Fort Winnebago was one of three forts built to protect settlers and commerce along the Fox-Wisconsin water system in the territory that later became the state of Wisconsin. The other two were Fort Howard in Green Bay and Fort Crawford, in Prairie du Chien.
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Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters Historic Site reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
15 reviews
  • This site is very close to Indian Agency House in Portage, Wisconsin. I suggest looking up when both sites are open, and visiting both on the same day, since they are only a mile or two apart. They...  more »
  • I cannot recommend this highly enough. This is a great starting point for historical research and one to come back to as well. Treasure trove of information. The tour guide seemed to know every...  more »
  • I didn't know what to expect, but took my 6yo and we both loved it. Tour guide took us through the buildings and everything was so interesting. Lots of specific stories from the people who lived in the house and artifacts from their time there. The 6yo loved the old school house and learning about the surgeons of the era. Worth a visit!
  • Interesting site. Free guided tours of the only remaining buildings from the first fort in Wisconsin. Great place to visit in under an hour, with enough to investigate to fill a longer visit. Historic buildings -- not wheelchair-accessible.
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