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.

On this day in 1869, Fort Mason was closed. Although the fort buildings and land became private property, the rock buildings were gradually dismantled by local citizens and used to build other structures in the town of Mason.
#FortMasonTx #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay

On this day in 1878, post commander Lt Wilson was the last man to die at Fort Richardson; while hunting, he was injured when his double-barrel shotgun burst.
#FortRichardson #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay

On this day in 1801, Philip Nolan (namesake of Nolan County) was killed by Spanish troops. Presumably, Nolan was in Texas illegally trying to round up mustangs. When approached by Spanish authorities, Nolan refused to surrender. According to first-hand witnesses, Nolan’s ears were cut off as evidence of his death.
#OnThisDay #NolanCounty #TexasFortsTrail #RealWildWest

[03/20/19]   On this day in 1855, Assistant Surgeon E. Swift at Fort Chadbourne reported "oxen stolen by the Indians" and having sent troops to retrieve them!
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #FortChadbourne

Join the Gordon Center for an intimate evening with Tommy Alverson and the Western Deluxe band. Enjoy a beautiful Lone Star State evening with a Texas Country music star at this small outdoor concert from 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm on Saturday the 30th. Make sure to BYOB,and food trucks will be there for all your snacking needs! Don't miss out!
#SpringFling #OutdoorConcerts

Texas Forts Trail Region

On this day in 1889, the town of Dublin (TX) was incorporated. It would become one of the first towns in Texas to have streetcars and was the birthplace of golfer Ben Hogan. When you visit Dublin today, be sure to visit the Dublin Bottling Company, Old Doc's Soda Shop, and the Dublin Historical Museum!
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #DublinTX

On this day in 1849, Joseph Tweedy was born in New York City. Tweedy arrived in Galveston in April 1876, purchased Mexican and Merino rams and herded sheep between Fort Clark and Fort Duncan. In the Spring of 1877, Tweedy drove the first sheep into the Concho Valley area. #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #SanAngeloTx

On this day in 1758, over 2,000 Comanches and their allies attacked the Santa Cruz de San Saba Mission, killing two priests and several other people. A total of 310 souls - massacre survivors, soldiers and civilians - gathered within the walls of the nearby Presidio de San Saba. While the Indians did not attack the Presidio, the attack on the Mission was fatal for this Spanish outpost. A royal decree officially closed the Presidio in 1772. #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #PresidiodeSanSaba #VisitMenard

On this day in 1881, the city of Abilene (TX) was officially established as the Texas and Pacific Railway auctioned more than 310 city lots. Promoted as the "Future Great City of West Texas," Abilene was named after the Kansas cattle town.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #AbileneTX

A nod to their heritage from our friends at Fort McKavett State Historic Site; Site Manager Cody Mobley took this photo using period methods - it is an ambrotype on glass of site volunteers and staff. #VisitFortMcKavett #TexasFortsTrail

On this day in 1852, Companies B, D, E, F, H of the 8th Infantry arrived at the headwaters of the San Saba River to establish a post near the Comanche War Trail and the Emigrant's Road, a major overland thoroughfare to the gold fields of California.

After only a few weeks, the post would be moved on top of a hill a half mile to the east near one of the tributaries of the river to counter a bout of malarial fever caused by a stagnant pool at the original location.

On this day in 1852, Fort McKavett was established and named for Capt Henry McKavett who fell at the Battle of Monterey.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #FortMcKavett

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

Spring is just around the corner - watch this short video and learn about the work being done at Kerr & Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Areas - Texas Parks and Wildlife!

The early birds are already hard at work trying to get the next generation up and going!

This is our second week of monitoring our bluebird boxes, and we have already seen several nests completed.

We normally think of our nest boxes as temporary homes for the birds. It appears, however, that they might also be motel rooms for mammals!

These guys are welcome to stay as long as they like...and we won't even charge any rent!

On this day in 1842, originally part of the Miller and Fisher grant, Tom Green County was created and named for General Thomas Green, a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto and a Confederate officer.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #TomGreenCounty

Mark yall's calendars for this exciting event! Drive around Palo Pinto county,and see some neat places along with stunning scenery.
#TexasFortsTrail #PaloPintoCounty #TexasTravel #SpringEvents

Get your St.Patrick’s Day plans ready and spend the weekend in the Irish capital of Texas,Lots in store! Shamrock Shuffle 5K, parade, carnival, farmers market, shopping, food, Celtic music, contests, bounce houses, leprechaun sightings, gyroplane fly-in at the Dublin Municipal Airport 9F0. #StPatricksDay #TexasFortsTrail #DublinTX #MakePlans #WearGreen

On this date in 1942, the Dutch Islands were surrendered to the Japanese. The Second Battalion – soon to be known as “the Lost Battalion” – had not been evacuated with other military forces and, thus, surrendered as well. The Texans were imprisoned with 5,510 British and Australian troops.
#WWIIHistory #LostBattalion #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay

On this day in 1887, Irion County was created and named in honor of Robert Anderson Irion who served as secretary of state under Sam Houston.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #IrionCounty

Such a beautiful place . . .
#FortMcKavett #TexasFortsTrail

Sundown at Fort McKavett

On this day in 1885, At Fort Concho, the barracks of Company H (16th Infantry) were gaily decorated with wreaths and flags for a grand ball in honor of the reenlistment of First Sergeant Bond and Sergeant Hollar. Dancing began at 8:30, resumed after a midnight super, and continued until 4:00 a.m.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #FortConcho

KTXS Television

ARCTIC COLD: The fountain at Everman Park in Abilene froze overnight. It was 20-degrees with a wind chill of 6-degrees when these photos were taken at 9 a.m.

Send your weather photos to ktxs.com/chimein
FOERCAST: http://bit.ly/2SGU4Lx

On this day in 1852, Randolph B. Marcy commanded a 70-man expedition across the Great Plains looking for the source of the Red River. Marcy’s report on his expedition was published in 1853 and quickly became a classic.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay

On this day in 1835, With four other persons, Anson Jones established the first Masonic lodge in Texas, originally Holland Lodge No. 36 at Brazoria. Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas. Pictured is the lodge today.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #AnsonJones

Wonderful piece honoring the Buffalo Soldiers; many of these brave men served at several of the Texas Forts Trail Region frontier forts. Living history events honor their service and help us remember. #TexasFortsTrail #BlackHistoryMonth

The volatile environmental conditions of the American Southwest made Anglo settlement an extremely arduous task. Inevitable friction between Anglo settlers and American Indians, as well as bandits and cattle thieves, created a general atmosphere of lawlessness that the drastically reduced post-Civil War U.S. military found challenging.

To meet these threats, the U.S. Army stationed troops, many of whom were African Americans, throughout the region. They were called Buffalo Soldiers by American Indians who were reminded of the buffalo when they saw the soldiers’ thick black hair. Some believe the name symbolized a respect for the Buffalo Soldiers’ bravery and valor.

The duties assigned to these units ranged from escorting settlers, cattle herds and railroad crews, to protecting the mail, keeping roads open and pursuing outlaws.

Throughout the Indian Wars era, many U.S. cavalry troops were African American, and they fought more than 170 engagements. Several of these brave men were recipients of the Medal of Honor.

A few Buffalo Soldier units, the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, conducted campaigns against American Indian tribes on a western frontier that extended from Montana to Texas and the Southwest.

In 1869, the 24th U.S. Infantry Regiment was organized at Fort McKavett with the consolidation of the 38th and 41st U.S. Infantry Regiment. Also as a result of the U.S. Army’s 1869 Consolidation Act, the 25th U.S. Infantry Regiment served at numerous posts in Texas in the years after the Civil War.

Today, the Buffalo Soldier story is interpreted through many public and private programs, notably the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Buffalo Soldier Heritage and Outreach Program (Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife), which emphasizes Texans’ shared western heritage.

Buffalo Soldier history events, such as the Morton Buffalo Soldier Encampment in Cochran County, take place around the state. Other events occur at San Angelo’s Fort Concho National Historic Landmark and Brackettville’s Fort Clark. #BlackHistoryMonth

On this day in 1948, At about 10:30 p.m. a tornado struck the community of Woodson in Throckmorton county. The storm path was a mile and half long and 200 yards wide. Trees were uprooted, telephone poles flattened and houses raised. Thirty two homes were damaged or demolished in the small town of 500. The tornado also destroyed the McBride gin; the new gin was worth about $40,000. Pictured is the aftermath of the tornado.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #WoodsonTx
Photo is from the Portal to Texas History.

On this day in 1871, Colonel Mackenzie took command of the Fourth Cavalry at Fort Concho. Mackenzie was also nicknamed Bad Hand, Mackenzie was a career United States Army officer and general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was described by General Ulysses S. Grant as its most promising young officer. He also served with great distinction in the following Indian Wars. You can catch up with Colonel Mackenzie at Frontier Texas!
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #FortConcho

On this day in 1816, The first Swedish immigrant to Texas and founder of the SMS Ranches, Swante Magnus Swenson was born in Sweden. Swante came to America in 1836 and arrived in Texas in 1838. The SMS Ranches are now the three largest ranches in West Texas.
#TexasFortsTrail #WestTexas #OnThisDay

On this day in 1941, the Forty-fifth Infantry Division arrived at Camp Barkeley (located near Abilene), although camp construction wasn’t completed until July 1941.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #WWIIHistory #CampBarkeley

On this day in 1919, Professional baseball player Johnny Lucadello was born in Thurber,TX. Lucadello played for the St. Louis Browns (1938–1941; 1946) and New York Yankees (1947).
#BasballLegends #OnThisDay #ThurberTx #TexasFortsTrail

[02/21/19]   On this day in 1860, Mason County Sheriff Thomas Milligan was murdered. Some suspected Indians, others blamed vigilantes in the area. He was attacked within two hundred yards of his home – shot though the heart with an arrow and his ears had been cut off.
#OnThisDay #RealWildWest #TexasFortsTrail #MasonTX

Great story!

110 years ago, one man set out to rid Texas of Malaria - with the help of what was then a very unlikely source... bats! Dr. Charles A. Campbell had a simple plan. He knew that bats eat mosquitoes, and believed that if he could entice thousands of bats to live in Malaria-ridden areas, they would single-wingedly eradicate the disease. After years of fruitless experimentation with small roosting boxes, he decided to go BIG, with a 30-foot tower containing roosting shelves, guano lures, and a meal plan - three large hams! The $500 contraption was, alas, a flop. Campbell realized that he didn’t understand bats enough to provide suitable homes. He spent months studying caves and roosts to learn what bats needed most. In 1911 he constructed a new, improved tower at Mitchell's Lake, where 90% of the locals were sick with Malaria. Within 4 years, Mitchell’s Lake was Malaria-free. Word spread of the bat roost’s success, and 16 "Municipal Bat Roosts" went up from San Antonio to Italy, eradicating the disease wherever they were placed.

Dr. Campbell, inventor of the bat house, medical pioneer, unintentional bat scientist, was responsible for saving hundreds of lives from Malaria, and for the subsequent statewide protection of all bats in Texas for over 30 years. He proved that bats could coexist with human beings, and make our lives better because of it. So for Febuary, remember Dr. Campbell, and remember to love a bat today! (Thank you to Mark N. for finding the photo!)

On this day in 1846, At the ceremony setting up the government of Texas as a state in the Union, Anson Jones declared, "The Republic of Texas is no more." Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas. Jones county is named after him.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #AnsonJones #TexasHistory

On This Day in 1856, Captain James Oakes, with a part of his company C, 2d cavalry, from Fort Mason, Texas, after a pursuit of six days, and on the ninth day from his post, overtook a party of seven or more Indians; killed one and wounded several others; capturing all their animals and other property; Sergeant Reis and Private Kuhn severely wounded. The troops were exposed to very cold and wet weather and for more than seven days subsisted on two days’ allowance of bread and coffee, such game as they could kill and the flesh of horses they were obliged to abandon. Pictured is Captain James Oakes.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail

On This Day in 1877, The Cattle Raisers association was organized in Young County. The organization was originally founded for the purpose of combating unbridled livestock theft. The association headquarters is now located in Fort Worth.
#TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #TexasCattle

Timeline Photos

Dublin,TX - The Irish Capital of Texas! Also, home to the Ben Hogan Museum, Old Docs Soda Shop, the Dublin Rodeo Heritage Museum, the Dublin Historical Museum, and Dublin Bottling Works!

On This Day in 1941,The Texas Defense Guard – which eventually became the Texas State Guard – was authorized by the Texas Legislature.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #TexasStateGuard

On This Day in 1820, William Tecumseh Sherman was born. After the Civil War, Sherman was named commanding general of the army. On a tour of the West Texas frontier in May 1871, Sherman visited Forts Mason, McKavett, Concho, Griffin and Belknap. He forecast that Texas would “become a prosperous and rich state.” #TexasFortsTrail #OnThisDay #TexasHistory

Bring your Valentine out to the Gordon Center’s free screening of “A Night at the Opera,” on Saturday, February 9th, at 6:30 PM. Enjoy an evening full of high society, matchmaking, and chaos in this Marx Brothers movie from 1935. Widely hailed as one of the greatest Marx Brothers films, it’s sure to bring laughter and love to your date night. A light refreshment will be served at intermission.This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited; reservations are highly recommended. Let us know you’re coming by using our online calendar, emailing us at GordonCenter@tarleton.edu or calling us at 254-968-1886.
#TexasFortsTrail #GordonCenter #BringYourDate

Spring is coming and that means its almost Baseball season! Get ready at Fort Concho this weekend! They will host a free day of baseball talk at the Baseball Heritage Symposium on Saturday, Feb. 9, featuring author Al Pickett speaking about his book “The Greatest Texas Sports Stories You’ve Never Heard.” Along with continued presentations over everything from biomechanics,professional scouting, baseball in movies, professional baseball in San Angelo in
the early 1900s, and pre-1900 vintage baseball!
#TexasFortsTrail #CallingallBaseballLovers #FortConcho #SanAngeloTx

On This Day in 1908, Frederick Benjamin Gipson was born near Mason, Texas. Gipson worked for the San Angelo Standard-Times and then the Denver Post. He is probably best known for the story of “Old Yeller.” #OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #MasonTx #OldYeller

[02/06/19]   On this date in 1854, the Texas legislature passed a bill that set aside twelve leagues of land for Indian reservations. The reservations were to be selected, surveyed, and governed by the US government, but to revert to state jurisdiction when no longer used by the Indians. This led the way for the establishment of the Brazos Indian Reservation near Fort Belknap, the Comanche Indian Reservation near Camp Cooper, and the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in East Texas.
#OnThisDay #TexasFortsTrail #TexasHistory

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Forts Trail 50th Anniversary Caravan




3702 Loop 322
Abilene, TX

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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