Good Ol' Days History

Fort Scott has experienced human occupation since prehistoric times. Native American tribes originally inhabited the lands in and around Fort Scott. As early U.S. political matters manifested, the area became a location for military functions regarding Indian Relocation affairs (1842- 1953), Bleeding Kansas Era (1850s), Civil War (1861-1865) and Westward Expansion (1868 forward). The location of Fort Scott was the intersections of where our young nation experienced many significant historic events that contributed to the creation of the United States. Ultimately, these events contributed to the underlining story of Fort Scott, which is where “America grew up.”

Following the Civil War, Fort Scott began unparalleled growth, spurred by rich natural resources and the railroad industry. In 1899 Fort Scott rivaled Kansas City as the largest rail center west of the Mississippi as railroads spread coast-to-coast. At the time “Street Fairs” were sweeping the country and it was decided that Fort Scott would throw the Grandest Street Fair of them all!

Noted Fort Scott Historian Don Miller writes of the 1899 Parade: “Hundreds of people labored thousands of hours decorating dozens of horses, mules, wagons, bicycles, and themselves with flowers and filler that made it challenging to separate foliage from participants with Fort Scott’s streets packed with merchants, individuals and lodge clubs.

The parade mesmerized an audience of thousands. Ideas were visually and mentally stored by many who reported back home of the most spectacular parade they had ever witnessed and dozens of other communities began preparing similar parades for their towns.

Fort Scott’s popular Street Fair continued on for years and then, for reasons unknown, was discontinued.”

In 1982 a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation was formed to revive the Street Fair Festival and “The Good Ol’ Days” has been held every year since the first full weekend in June.

The annual festival is extremely popular with adults and children alike. The Good Ol’ Days draws thousands of people into Fort Scott’s Victorian downtown for a weekend filled with arts, crafts, specialty foods, children’s games, and live entertainment. The adjacent Fort Scott National Historic Site provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the living history activities of an 1840’s frontier fort.