Texas Forts Trail Region

We share the real stories of what was once the Texas frontier and offer tips on the fun things to see and do today in Central West Texas.

Non-profit organization with offices in Abilene, Texas, dedicated to education, heritage tourism and historic preservation. We serve a 29-county area in Central West Texas. One of the ten regions that comprise the award-winning and nationally-recognized Texas Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission.

From "Old Yeller" to "Lonesome Dove," many western classics, movies and books have their roots in our part of Texas. Our FB Page is dedicated to sharing the real stories of the real people who interacted with this part of Texas - from Jacksboro west to Aspermont, south to Sweetwater, Abilene, San Angelo and El Dorado, east to Mason, and San Saba and then back north to Comanche and Mineral Wells. This was the frontier before and after the Civil War. Our region is home to the remains of eight historic forts and a Spanish presidio: Fort Richardson, Fort Belknap, Fort Griffin, Fort Phantom Hill, Fort Chadbourne, Fort Concho, Fort McKavett, Fort Mason and the Presidio de San Saba. The history of this region had profound effects not only on Texas, but on our country. We're proud to share information about special events, museum exhibits, rodeos, festivals, cook-offs and other activities that are open to the general - and, hopefully, traveling - public. We believe in being "Texas Friendly" and ask that our fans mind their manners on our page. Please be respectful to others, no politics, no cussin', no being rude or obnoxious. I'm Margaret Hoogstra, the executive director of the Texas Forts Trail, and the sole administrator of our FB page. I've lived in Mineral Wells, Stephenville and the Abilene area for most of my life - all communities within the Forts Trail Region! I have a passion for history, a love of travel and a respect for those who serve in the Armed Forces. I think you find the "real" Texas in our rural communities.

Mission: . . . to increase heritage tourism to the Texas Forts Trail Region by: making people aware of the region and its attractions; educating people about the role of forts in the development of Texas; fostering historic preservation in the region; helping improve sites to be visited in the region; and helping develop local/regional heritage tourism leadership.

We are set up and ready at the Home & Garden Show in Fort Worth, TX. Come see us at booth # 432 at the Will Rodgers Expo. Adventure awaits you in Texas. #traveltexas #texasfortstrail #texasbrazostrail #texaspecostrail #texasplainstrail #texaslakestrail #texasindependencetrail #texasforesttrail #texasmountaintrail #texastropicaltrail #texashillcountrytrail

On this day in 1871, Indians attacked Henry Warren's wagon train and killed seven. A teamster escaped, made it to Fort Richardson and told his story to General Sherman and Col Ranald Mackenzie. As a result of this massacre, Sherman changed his mind about the state of the frontier and ordered offensive operations against Indians found off the reservations.
#WarrenWagonTrainMassacre #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay

On this day in 1870, a raiding party of Apaches captured eleven-year-old Herman Lehmann and his younger brother Willie on their farm land near Mason. Two sisters were able to escape capture. Several days later during an encounter with a patrol from Fort McKavett, Willie was able to escape and the Apaches abandoned their stolen horses. Herman Lehmann lived with the Apaches and then the Comanches until he was forcefully returned to his family in May 1878. Lehman published his now well-read biography "Nine Years Among the Indians" in 1927.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #RealHistory


Woody’s Classic Cars & Baseball Museum

Woody's Classic Cars & Baseball Museum in Cross Plains is now open! Visit Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

woodysmuseum.com As Woody and I grew up in the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s we developed a love for baseball as well as the unique cars of that era. So it seemed only natural to start first collecting Baseball memorabilia and then the Classic Cars.

Abilene Reporter-News

We haven't been able to visit here quite yet but we've been anxiously watching and waiting for this new museum to open! #VisitCrossPlains #TexasFortsTrail

A world-class car and baseball museum is now opened in Cross Plains, Texas, population about 1,000. “They're amazed, their jaws are on the floor. We had a guy that said we needed to give away drool bibs.”

San Angelo State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife

Congratulations to San Angelo State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife on the arrival of a new baby!

Come check out the new baby at San Angelo State Park #babybison #wildlifeWednesday

Discover San Angelo, TX

Are you participating in the Great Outdoor Scavenger Hunt (GOSH) through Texas Parks and Wildlife? What are you waiting for? San Angelo State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife is on the list. GOSH, it looks like a lot of fun and a great suggestion for summer family fun. #sanangelo #sanangelove


On this day in 1942, The Sweetwater municipal airport was leased to the War Dept for $1 a year and renamed Avenger Field. British pilot cadets were trained at the Field before it became the "only all-female air base in history," except for the male instructors and support crews in 1943.
#OnThisDay #WWIIHistory #PowerfulLadies #SweetwaterTX #WASPS

On this day in 1890, Throckmorton County officials voted to have plans drawn for a new courthouse. courthouse commissioner – wood at $4 a cord had to be chopped for courthouse use; animal scalps at 25 Cents for coyote, $1 for lobo, and $2 for wolf along with prairie dog and rabbit. A telephone was installed in the judge’s office in 1907 with a monthly bill of $4.48 payable to Haskell Telephone.
#OnThisDay #HaskellTX #ThrockmortonCounty

Kerr & Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Areas - Texas Parks and Wildlife

This year’s wildflowers are amazing!

We must have had some April showers because we are certainly blessed with May flowers!

In places you can find fields full of yellow flowers and red flowers.

Perhaps even more pleasing to the eye is the combination of many wonderful colors all dancing together in the sun.

Like many other things in life, flowers can be appreciated at different levels.

After you feast your eyes on the fertile fields of flowers, why not take a moment to take a look from a bee’s point of view?

While dewy stigmas and pollen-laden anthers may not look quite as yummy to us, the colors and shapes are truly amazing!

Take time to smell the flowers…and take a closer look inside.

Life’s better outside.


The man behind the City of Ballinger mural

Slow down and keep an eye out for “hidden treasures” - so often it’s not about the destination but the journey! This mural in Ballinger is beautiful!

myfoxzone.com Kenny Bryan, a Ballinger, Texas native, paints the city mural for the second time.

On this day in 1857, Palo Pinto County was organized. Sheriff Hittson and tax assessor-collector I.W Price rode to Austin by horseback at least once a year to turn in tax money and fees.
#OnThisDay #OutWest #TexasFortsTrails #PaloPintoCounty

On this day in 1938,The first performance of the longest running outdoor play in Texas, the Fandangle, hit the stage. The show became an instant classic and is still out on every year in June by the town of Albany. (It's not too early to get your tickets for this year's performance!) buff.ly/2GqCpov

On this day in 1811, George Webb Slaughter was born in Mississippi. He was a courier for Sam Houston during the Texas Revolution and later was a rancher and preacher in the Palo Pinto and Graham area.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #TexasHistory

Go follow our Texas Pecos Trail friends and keep up to date on their exciting Caravan this weekend!

We are now less than 24 hours away from our caravan across the Pecos Trail! It’s not to late to join the fun! http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eg3rxsmpbaa5f97f&llr=mrv7cl6ab #TexasPecosTrail #texasTimetravel #RoadTrip #texastravel

On this day in 1887,Jewel Davis Scarborough was born in Pittsburg, TX. Mrs. Scarborough would become a prominent citizen of Abilene, leading efforts to establish local units of the Red Cross, YWCA and the West TX Historical Association.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #AbileneTX #TexasWomen

Visit Abilene, Texas

As we launch National Travel & Tourism Week, Abilene's happy faces and places are showcasing community pride and inviting everyone to experience this welcoming city. #TravelMatters #ABILove
Travel Week, May 5-11: http://ow.ly/bejP50tUV51
Find Abilene fun: www.abilenevisitors.com

San Angelo’s Farmers Market opens this weekend. Go get food some fresh local food!

Farmers Market season opens Saturday!
Here's what you need to know: http://bit.ly/2VX3kRL


What Travel Matters in San Angelo

There's a lot to see and do in San Angelo - from shopping in historic downtown, visiting Fort Concho and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, spending time at the Chicken Farm Art Center or enjoying the Lily Gardens! In celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week - consider that the impact of visitors to San Angelo in 2017 was $200 million in direct travel spending; $20 million in local and state taxes; and nearly 3,200 travel and tourism jobs. Yes, travel matters in San Angelo!

Travel and tourism are important to our city's economy. Learn about the impact visitor spending has on San Angelo.

On this day in 1956, the San Saba County Centennial was celebrated in grand style. The San Saba County citizens came together to celebrate the first one hundred years and commemorate the deeds of those who had played a part in its development.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #SanSabaCounty

There is something so simple and beautiful about Fort Phantom Hill. Love these gorgeous photos from Lily Cormack.

On this day in 1928, The first train arrived in Throckmorton at about 10:45 a.m. – Cisco and North Eastern Railway. Over 20,110 people were in town for the celebration – over 20 beeves were barbecued and by 2 p.m. there was no food left in town. By later afternoon more provisions were brought in. The train quit running in 1941 – shortly after beginning of WWII. Today the depot serves as a library.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #RanOutOfBeef

West Texas Heritage Day at Fort McKavett did not disappoint! Big thanks to students from Hardin-Simmons for these photos. Visitors were able to see mortar fire, Camel Corps, yarn spinning,1880’s food and so much more!

Mortar firing at Fort McKavett.

The Hardin-Simmons University students went on tour of the Presidio De San Saba with us today. They turned in some stellar photos of the beautiful Spanish Fort!

Out on the trail in Eden,Texas. We even stopped by the beautiful Garden of Eden. #TexasFortsTrails #edenTx

On this day in 1940,Henry Flipper died. Henry Ossian Flipper, engineer, the first black graduate of West Point. Flipper, was born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21, 1856. He attended school at the American Missionary Association, and in 1873, as a freshman at Atlanta University, he was appointed to the United States Military Academy. Although Flipper was the fifth black accepted to West Point, he was the first to graduate. As an officer in the Tenth Cavalry, Flipper served at forts Elliott, Concho, Quitman, and Davis, Texas, and at Fort Sill, Indian Territory. Learn more about Henry at https://buff.ly/2YMl0hq
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #TexasHistory

mark your calendar!

Come join us and the WASP for the premiere of Wo-manpower!

A Wartime Experiment in Wo-manpower

In WW2 a select group of brave women flew for the US Army Air Forces. They piloted the fastest fighters, the biggest bombers and everything in between. But when they began to prove they could do a "man's job", feathers were ruffled. With voices of 38 original WASP, see the complete story of the Women Air Force Service Pilots in this new feature length documentary film.

Friday, May 24th at 2:00pm
Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium

Such a cute photo from our friends at the W. K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas.

Happy National Sibling Appreciation Day! These adorable Thurber siblings from the Bob Rogers family made us smile today. #thurberthursday #tbt #siblingsappreciationday #brothersandsisters

*This photo is from our Pinnick Collection

From May 2nd to July 28th of 1852, Randolph B. Marcy and his party crossed 1,110 miles of previously undocumented Texas and Oklahoma territory. They discovered numerous mineral deposits, 25 new species of mammals and 11 new reptile species. Marcy recorded a prairie dog town that covered 410,110 acres!
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #TexasHistory

Texas Pecos Trail Region

Come Road Trip with us and really discover the Texas Pecos Trail. We can't wait! http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=mrv7cl6ab&oeidk=a07eg3rxsmpbaa5f97f
#TexasPecosTrail #TXTimeTravel #RoadTrip #TexasTravel #PecosTrail #HereWeCome

On this day in 1872, Col McKenzie conducted an inspection of Fort Richardson. The post had a “mean strength total of 621: 36 officers, and 585 men. The average occupancy of the guardhouse is 34 with 5 deserters and 9 remaining sick." #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #FortRichardson

On this day in 1856, the Camel Corps arrived in Texas! Thirty-two of the camels, plus a calf that had been born at sea, arrived at Indianola. The camels weren’t unloaded until May 13 because of bad weather and shallow water. #OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #CamelsForTheWin

[04/28/19]   On this day in 1884, the San Angelo Water Works Company was incorporated. The pipe for the first water works system was sent by train from Pittsburgh to Abilene and freighted from Abilene to San Angelo. #OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #SanAngeloTX #AbileneTx

On this day in 1852, Lt. Col. John J. Abercrombie turned command of Fort Phantom Hill over to Lieutenant Colonel Carlos A. Waite. Just five months earlier Abercrombie had arrived in the area with five companies of the Fifth Infantry. He had orders to establish a post in the vicinity of where Elm Creek converged with the Clear Fork of the Brazos. #TexasFortsTrail #FortPhantomHill #OnThisDay

On this day in 1897, the Colorado Valley Railway Company was chartered to connect Colorado City with San Angelo. The principal office was located in Robert Lee. Below is one of the train stations in San Angelo used during this time period.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #TrainTravel

If you are looking for another event in the big country also happening this weekend Coleman,TX has you covered!
#TexasFortsTrail #WesternTrailDay #ColemanTX

Don't forget Fort Concho Frontier Day is this weekend! There are so many great activities for the whole family happening that morning. If that wasn't enough to bring you out to Fort Concho they are also hosting the Regional Calvary Competition today through Saturday! Find out more at www.FortConcho.com.
#TexasFortsTrail #FortConcho #FrontierDay

Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway - Texas Parks and Wildlife

We’re thankful for the rain! If you’re headed out in the region, check ahead on your route and with the site.

The spillway is closed to traffic today. Check in at park headquarters for a map of our alternate route to the campground.

Get your boots and cowboy hats ready for Wild West Day this weekend in Albany. They have a line up so big it would be impossible to list it all here so we'll highlight just a few - Kid Roping, Fiddler Contests,Train Rides, Melodramas, Blacksmith Demonstrations, Food Trucks, and we heard outlaws may even invade the town!

Enjoy a fun Saturday morning at "America's Best Preserved Frontier Fort". This event is completely free and offers activities such as a Cowboy Gun Fight, 1880s base ball, Sheep Dog Demonstrations and so much more. See y 'all there! #FortConcho #TexasFortsTrails

On this day in 1849, pioneer West Texas photographer McArthur Cullen Ragsdale was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Following the Civil War, Ragsdale’s family moved to Texas. At age 21, Ragsdale purchased a camera and photographic equipment; shortly thereafter, he became a traveling photographer making regular trips to such towns as Brownwood, Fort McKavett, and Mason. Eventually, he settled in what would become San Angelo. Most of Ragsdale’s work was portrait photography, however he is also known for his photos of Texas Ranger Camps, West Texas landmarks and homes and businesses throughout West Texas. Ragsdale produced one of the best-known drawings of Fort McKavett, took the first photographs of Mason, and documented the devastation of the Ben Ficklin flood of 1882. Below are some of his photos from ArtNet.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortstrail #TexasHistory

On this day in 1906, Frank Hamer enlisted in the Texas Rangers. Hamer was recommended for a position with the Rangers after capturing a horse thief while working as a cowboy. In 1908 he resigned from the force to become marshal of Navasota and then a special officer in Harris County. He rejoined the Rangers in 1915 and patrolled the South Texas border from the Big Bend to Brownsville. He was criticized for his use of force, and legislator José T. Canales accused Hamer of threatening him in 1918. In 1934 Hamer became a special investigator for the Texas prison system and was assigned to track down outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. After a three-month search, Hamer and fellow Ranger Maney Gault, along with Louisiana law enforcement officers, shot and killed them near Gibsland, Louisiana. Congress awarded Hamer a special citation for stopping the pair. Hamer retired in 1949 and lived in Austin until his death in 1955.
#TexasLegends #OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail

Timeline Photos

On this day in 1897, Mildred Paxton Moody was born in Abilene; she would become a journalist, a preservationist, and the first lady of Texas. On Mildred’s 29th birthday (in 1926), she married Dan Moody who served as the 30th Governor of Texas. Below is a great picture of MIldred and Dan Moody.
#OnThisDay #AbileneTX #TexasHistory

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Forts Trail 50th Anniversary Caravan




3702 Loop 322
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General information

The "trail" refers to a 650-mile driving loop through Central West Texas that is anchored by eight frontier forts and a Spanish presidio. The "region" is a geographically defined area of 29 counties. Please visit the "About Us" section of our website (http://texasfortstrail.com/about) to learn more about our organization, our history and what we do.
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