During the 1860s these walls echoed the activity of several hundred Union Army soldiers and officers. Fort Churchill’s primary mission was to protect Carson Valley settlers and the Pony Express route from the indigenous Paiute people, who were not pleased with the farms, ranches, roads, and people encoaching onto the lands they had occupied for thousands of years. But the fort closed after only nine years.

Today it’s a very quiet place, and the few walls still standing echo only the sounds of insects, birds, and the occasional tourist.

Fort Churchill State Historic Park is on the Carson River, west of Fallon, Nevada.