Fort McGarry

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Fort McGarry (1865-1868) - A U.S. Army Fort established in 1865 near Summit Springs, Humboldt County, Nevada. Named Fort McGarry after Brevet Brigadier General Edward McGarry U.S. Volunteers. Abandoned in 1868. Also known as Camp McGarry, Camp Summit Lake, and Camp at Summit Lake.


The U.S. Army established Fort McGarry at Summit Springs near Summit Lake on the Old Applegate Trail on 20 Oct 1865. According to the first post return, Companies D & I of the 6th California Volunteer Infantry arrived at the Fort site on 20 Oct 1865 but were soon summoned back to the Presidio of San Francisco to be mustered out. They passed their replacements, Company H, 9th U.S. Infantry, on the way back. When the 9th got to Fort McGarry they found 1 sergeant and 5 privates from the California Volunteers guarding the Fort.

Troops protected the Idaho-California mail and stage roads and the nearby trails in Nevada and Oregon. The army constructed a number of stone buildings including officers' quarters, a mess hall, barracks, and a 100-horse stone barn. Underground passages connected the barracks with the mess hall and the stone barn.

In 1866, Fort McGarry was made headquarters of the district of Nevada but in August 1866 the post returns reflect a change of name to Camp McGarry.

After an inspection by Major General Edward O.C. Ord (Cullum 1002) in the summer of 1868 determined that the camp was no longer required, the main body of troops was ordered removed on 20 Aug 1868 to Camp Winfield Scott, north of Paradise Valley, Nevada. The one remaining officer and 20 enlisted men were ordered out on 19 Sep 1868 and the 75 square mile camp was completely abandoned by 18 Dec 1868.

On 25 Mar 1871, the land was transferred to the Interior Department for eventual use as an Indian reservation for Piute and Shoshone Indians.

Current Status

In an isolated location, stone post building ruins remain around a rectangular parade. Located on Summit Lake Indian Reservation, Humboldt County, Nevada.

Location: Summit Lake Indian Reservation, Humboldt County, Nevada.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.543611 Long: -119.025833

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 5,987'

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 492.
  • Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2,page 93-94
  • Post returns available Oct 1865 - Dec 1868 at (by Subscription) - Fort/Camp McGarry
  • Ruhlen, George, Early Nevada Forts, Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 1964, Vol 7, No 3 & 4,pdf, pages 44-45,


Fortification ID:

  • NV0066 - Fort McGarry
  • NV0065 - Camp McGarry
  • NV0101 - Camp Summit Lake
  • NV0102 - Camp at Summit Lake

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