Mr. Ronnie Nichols, then-director of the Delta Cultural Center,
first proposed building a reconstruction of Civil War Fort Curtis
in 1992. Twenty years later, his vision was realized. New Fort
Curtis was dedicated on May 11, 2012.
Imagine It Is 1862
New Fort Curtis provides a glimpse into the changes the
Union occupation brought to Civil War Helena. Look at
its massive earthen walls and imagine the effort it took
hundreds of refugee slaves, pressed into labor, to build
the original Fort Curtis. The number and size of the
reproduction guns is a visible reminder of the might of the
Union army. Seeing the parade ground, you can imagine
Union soldiers drilling or standing for inspection.
Interpreting Fort Curtis
New Fort Curtis is not an exact copy of the
Fort Curtis built in 1862. The original Fort
Curtis was a temporary field fortification. The
highly erodible soil made alterations necessary
to insure that this fort is permanent.
The lot size dictated that New Fort Curtis be
somewhat smaller than the original fort. For
safety reasons, no ditch encircles the fort. New
Fort Curtis interprets the original Fort Curtis
and brings part of Civil War Helena to life for
you to experience.
Top right: Contractors brought in roughly 600 truck loads of soil.
Middle left: Men using hand tools built the original fort in three months. It took contractors using power equipment five months to build New Fort Curtis.
Middle right: In 1862, there was no earth moving equipment in Helena because none existed. In 2011, bulldozers pushed truck loads of soil into place.