Fort Defiance
100th Anniversary Marker

Fort Defiance Centennial Marker – The marker is missing

Four miles north of Window Rock, Arizona
Fort Defiance, Apache County, Arizona
35.740484, -109.073806

Historical Significance: 
Fort Defiance was established in September 18, 1851, by Colonel Edwin J. Sumner to create a military presence in the Mexican Cession in what later would be Arizona. In 1861, the fort was abandoned by the army due to the Civil War and was re-established in 1863 as Fort Canby. The Treaty of 1868 was signed at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, to allow members of the Navajo Nation to return to Arizona after a forced deportation known as The Long Walk. The fort was abandoned again, but it was re‑established for the last time in 1870 when the first government school for the Navajos was started. After WWII, due to the fort’s proximity to the Navajo Nation capitol of Window Rock, the area emerged as a commercial and residential center with a post office, a medical center, school and trading center. The DAR plaque was placed on a red sandstone column in front of the post office lawn.

The plaque read, “Fort Defiance Arizona / Established Sept. 18, 1851 / -?- Remote Military Outpost / On American Frontier / At that Time / Erected on / The One Hundreth Anniversary / of the Founding / By The Arizona Society / Daughters of the American Revolution.” The marker has been missing since 1985.

September 18, 1951

Arizona State Society, DAR

A collage of a newspaper article and vintage snapshot of the original marker. Marker text is in the body of this page.
(left) The Prescott Evening Courier, September 12, 1951, page 1, col 7. Made available by The Daily Courier and used with permission. (right) Original plaque marking the centennial of Fort Defiance, 1951.
A vintage photograph of four men in front of two tents in a desert scene. A flagpole and two buildings are in the background.
Officers' Quarters at Fort Defiance. Photograph by Simeon Schwemberger, St. Michaels, Arizona. Held by the Library of Congress. Image is in the public domain.
A painting of a desert scene. About twenty one-story buildings are set out in a regular pattern around a rectangular center open area.
Fort Defiance, New Mexico Territory (now Arizona). Oil on canvas by Seth Eastman, 1873. Held by the U.S. Senate Collection. Image is in the public domain.


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