CLICK HERE to download a complete history of Fort Atkinson as printed in NEBRASKAland magazine. Here are a few quick facts:Years of existence: 1819-1827Originally establised as "Camp Cantonement" just upriver in 1819. Floods in the spring of 1820 led to the construction of the permanent fort atop the original "Council Bluff."Presidents during time of fort: James Monroe, John Quincy AdamsNebraska firsts at Fort Atkinson: first military post, school, library, and large scale agriculture/livestock operation Population: At its height, Fort Atkinson housed nearly 1/4 of the standing US Army (approximately 1,200 soldiers); roughly that many civilians lived just beyond the wall of the garrison.Primary purpose: To protect the American fur trade by guarding the "gateway to the west."The Missouri river originally flowed just below the east bluff of the fort. Today, its channel lies some three miles to the east.