Special Weekend at Fort Buford - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Special Weekend at Fort Buford

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A new season begins this weekend at the Fort Buford State Historic Site west of Williston tomorrow.

A flag raising will officially open the historic area at 1pm.

After that, a new addition adjacent to Fort Buford will hold a formal dedication.

The Yellowstone Lodge Interpretive Center will be christened with a special program.

The center commemorates the state's first Masonic Lodge, established by 50 members of the 7th Infantry in 1871 on this exact site.

An inscribed rock marks the spot today - and nearby, volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the newly-built interpretive center that contains a replica of the first Masonic Hall in the state.

(Jim Savaloja, Historian, Masons of North Dakota) "We're starting to set it up like the old Masonic Lodge would have been back in 1871 and all of the furniture is to date, it's all that old date, chairs and all - the chairs came from South Dakota, some came out of the old lodge in Fargo. So we're kind of setting it up like it was back then."

The Masonic Hall center is a new addition to the hhistoricalregion that encompasses the Confluence Interpretive Center, Fort Buford, and Fort Union.

The supervisor of the Fort Buford State Historic Site says while the Masonic Hall was not actually on Fort Buford, it played a big role.

(Steven Reidburn, Fort Buford State Historic Site Supervisor) "This little piece was adjacent but seperate from the fort. It's important to us to have that history brought back to life for this area along with the field officers' quarters and the barracks over at Fort Buford. The main is the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center which was built in 2003 for the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition."

The new season opens tomorrow at 1pm at Fort Buford with a flag raising and continues with the 2pm ceremony to dedicate the Yellowstone Lodge Interpretive Center right next door.

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