Fort Hays, named for Major General Alexander Hays, who had been killed in 1864 during the Civil War Battle of the Wilderness, was established during the winter of 1866-67. It was originally named Fort Fletcher and was located 14 miles southeast of present day Hays. On November 17, 1866, Major General Hancock changed the name of the post to Fort Hays in memory of the late General Hays. Generals Miles, Sheridan, and Custer were based at Fort Hays at one time. It was from this port that Buffalo Bill Cody supplied the railroad crews with buffalo meat.
A flood on Big Creek on or about June 3, 1867 prompted the relocation of the Fort to near present day Hays.
Fort Hays provided protection to the railroad builders and settlers who were moving into central and western Kansas. Fort Hays was located on the Smoky Hill Trail, a stagecoach road to Denver and later the route of the Kansas Pacific Railroad.
In 1867 Hays City was established about a mile to the east of the fort. Fort Hays was soon converted into a quatermaster depot which supplied other forts throughout the West.
Fort Hays was abandoned in 1889 and is now
a historic site. Four original buildings survive today at
Historic Fort Hays which is located at 1272 Highway 183 Alt,
Hays, Kansas 67601.