Texas Forts Trail Region

Texas Forts Trail Region


My trip to the Alamo:
Male Sheep near Jacksboro
We had the best time on the tour - history, friends, then new friends, wonderful experience at each stop. Margaret Hoogstra - you did a tremendous job planning and coordinating all the events. We can’t wait to see what you’re planning for the next event!!!
Christmas at Old Fort Concho - Sunday, 12/3/17
Join the W. K. Gordon Center this Saturday as we celebrate our 15th birthday with free admission, cake, and the opportunity to become a founding member of the Gordon Center Society membership program! https://youtu.be/RU0SWB1rdrM
Fort McKavett is a Real Treasure! Long may it lie beyond the metastasis of nearby towns.

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.

Day #3 and last day of the Houston Home & Garden Show. #texasfortstrail

Working on day 2 of the Houston Home & Garden Show. I love my job! Do you travel Texas? #texasfortstrail

Fort McKavett State Historic Site

This week’s #FirstHandFriday is a report written by the Post Commander, H.B. Clitz, about recent changes to the post:

“Report of all changes that have occurred in the general features of, since July 1st, 1872 under the headings of Communication, Buildings, Supplies, Indians, Reservation, Description of Country etc.
Post of Fort McKavett Texas.

Communication.(nearest telegraph and railroad station, Post Office, Wagon Roads and distance of Post from nearest town or settlement)
Nearest telegraph and Railroad Station, Austin- Post Office at the Post, Mason is the nearest settlement (60 miles) of any importance- A small village at Menardville, 22 miles (Country town.) and a small village on the San Saba river, opposite the reservation- Wagon roads to Fort Concho, to San Antonio through Menardville, Mason, and Fredericksburg, and from the latter to Austin. A poor wagon road to Fort Clark.

Buildings.(All buildings, new constructed, for what purpose, of what material, and present condition.)
One fine stone building for hospital, 16 beds- finished February 1874- One good stone building with two ovens for Bake house finished January 1874.

Supplies.(Quartermaster and Subsistence, from what depot furnished, distance and by what route, Water and wood, how furnished, and how many months Subsistence kept on hand.)
Furnished from San Antonio by wagon road, 175 miles via Fredericksburg and Mason- Six months supply kept on hand- Water hauled in wagons from fine springs- Wood furnished by contract.

Indians.(What Tribe or Tribes at the Post or in the vicinity, with their numbers and disposition)
No tribes located in vicinity. Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches- sometimes raid the Country between the San Saba and Llano.

Reservation.(When declared, its extent &c.)
Occupied in 1855. Area 2,373 acres- Leased from private parties, Lease expires December 1875. the Government can purchase for $20,000 otherwise the reservation with all the buildings + improvements, reverts to those parties.

Description of Country Etc. (General characterization for grazing, cultivation, &c.)
Rolling- Post oak, limestone- Country pretty well watered- Grazing excellent except in the driest seasons, Very little cultivation and then only on the low lands along the streams. Fine Post and Company gardens at the Post on low land that is irrigable.

(Signed) H.B. Clitz
Colonel 10th Infantry
Commanding Post”
This report gives us a unique look at the situation for soldiers at Fort McKavett in the mid-1870’s. Notice that construction projects continued as late as 6 years after the post was reestablished. The hospital mentioned in the report is currently housing the Visitor’s Center and Museum on the Site. The town of Menard was officially founded 4 years prior to the writing of this letter, and it appears that it has much growing to do in the eyes of Colonel Clitz.

Pictured here is a sketch of Fort McKavett done about the time this letter was written. It was drawn by photographer M.C. Ragsdale and is the source for the fort diorama on display in the museum.

#FortMcKavett #FtMcKavett #FHF #FrontierArmy #ArmyAdministration #AdjutantGeneral #PrimarySourceDocs

Fort Concho National Historic Landmark

In celebration of Black History Month:
From the Collection of Douglas McChristian
Object# 2019.1.285
ca. 1898
Spanish-American War era haversack carried by a soldier of Company H, 24th U. S. Infantry
The 24th Infantry was one of the post-Civil War regiments of regular soldiers composed of black enlisted men, or those considered other than white. It is assumed that this particular haversack was issued during the last few years of the 1890s and the beginning of the 20th century. In 1898, the 24th Infantry was deployed to Cuba and participated in the climactic Battle of San Juan Hill. Between 1899 and 1902, the 24th was involved in the Philippine-American War.

Set up and ready to meet the travelers at the Houston Home and Garden Show. 2-6 Friday, 10-6 Saturday and 11-5 Sunday.

Spent a couple of days in South Padre for a site visit for the upcoming TACVB annual conference in August.
Shout out to the South Padre CVB, this team is amazing! #tacvb2020 #texasfortstrail

Fort Belknap

CONTEST TIME! 📣 The first 100 people to purchase tickets to our 5th Annual Crawfish and Cannons event will be entered in to win a FREE pair of floor tickets to the Food Truck Championship of Texas Concert featuring Whiskey Myers, Grady Spencer And The Work & the Old 97's!

Purchase Crawfish and Cannon tickets here ➡️ https://www.prekindle.com/event/28295-crawfish-and-cannons-newcastle

On the Texas Forts Trail-
On December 15, 1914 the Harvey House opened for business at the Brownwood Santa Fe Depot. Fred Harvey conquered the west along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway through strategic use of pretty girls in high-necked collars, as wait staff in his original idea of fast food for travelers. There was a restaurant and a coffee shop for a quick meal or a cup of coffee, when time was limited for passengers. There was a more luxurious dining room with a much broader menu for those individuals that had more time for dining.

On the Texas Forts Trail-
Early, TX is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 67 and 84 on the Pecan Bayou, just east of Brownwood, in central Brown County. Early was originally part of Brownwood; a dispute over land title and problems over water supply around 1869 caused many citizens of Brownwood to move from east to the west side of Pecan Bayou. Early was not considered to be a separate community until the mid-20th Century. Early was incorporated on December 15, 1951, when it had an estimated 600 inhabitants.
Early now has a population of over 2,762 with a constantly growing business district.

On the Texas Forts Trail-
Goldthwaite was originally part of the southern portion of Brown County. Like so many other Texas communities Goldthwaite was named for a railroad official, Joe C. Goldthwaite of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, who conducted the auction of town lots.
Goldthwaite has some amazing treasures, one of which is the Legacy Plaza located at 1219 Fisher Street.

Fort Concho National Historic Landmark

Fort Concho will be closed today, Wednesday, February 5, 2020, due to weather.
Stay warm, everyone!

On the Texas Forts Trail-
Bronte, TX is located on U.S. Highway 277 at its junction with State Highway 158 in east central Coke County. Bronte was founded in the 1880's. Originally named Oso and then Bronco. The request for a post office was rejected and so they settled on the English novelist Charlotte Bronte, but no one seems to know why. The post office was granted in 1890.

Guess who just became #1 True Western Town by True West Magazine?
You guessed it right if you said San Angelo, TX! The only place in Texas on the top 10 list.
San Angelo is filled with so many fascinating things to see and do, make sure you make plans to visit soon.
#discoversanangelo #texasfortstrail

In 1942, as the country reeled from the attack on Pearl Harbor, trained male pilots were in short supply. Qualified pilots were needed to fight the war. The Army also was desperate for pilots to deliver newly built trainer aircraft to the flight schools in the South. Twenty-eight experienced civilian women pilots volunteered to take those ferrying jobs. They formed the country's first female squadron late summer 1942.
Between November 1942 and December 1944, 1,074 more women were trained to fly first in Houston and then moved to Avenger Field in Sweetwater.

Comanche County was organized from portions of Coryell and Bosque Counties on May 17, 1856, and named for a tribe of Indians. The First county seat of the county was at the settlement of Troy, which was later renamed Cora in honor of Cora Beeman daughter of Alonzo Beeman of Bell County. The County seat was then moved in July 18, 1859 to Comanche.

City of San Angelo, Texas - Public Information

Super excited for San Angelo, TX! Congratulations, great things keep happening for this awesome community.

San Angelo, TX Honored as Top True Western Town by True West Magazine!

1. San Angelo, Texas
2. Deadwood, South Dakota
3. Buffalo, Wyoming
4. Prescott, Arizona
5. Fort Smith, Arkansas
6. Dodge City, Kansas
7. Sheridan, Wyoming
8. Tombstone, Arizona
9. Scottsbluff/Gering, Nebraska
10. Carson City, Nevada

Originally known as the "Post on the Clear Fork of the Brazos," the fort was occupied by the U.S. Army from 1851 until 1854. Shortly after the army abandoned Fort Phantom Hill, fire destroyed most of the log walls and thatched roofs of the post's buildings.

Fort Concho National Historic Landmark

The fort’s Education Department is looking for fabric donations to use in upcoming education programs and camps. If you have unused material from past sewing projects, please consider bringing them to the fort. Fort Concho will be accepting fabric from February 1— April 30. Material can be dropped off in the Visitor Center at Barracks 1. For questions or inquiries, please contact the site’s Education Coordinator, Sarah Ross at 325-657-4443 or [email protected].

Coleman, the county seat of Coleman County, is at the junction of U.S. Highways 84 and 283 and Farm to Market 53. With its location on the Western Trail, Coleman boomed as a supply and recreation center for trail drivers bound for Dodge City, Kansas.

Congratulations to the Texas Heritage Trail Regions and Executive Directors (past and present) for winning the 2018 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation!! #texasheritagetrails #texaafortstrail #texashistoricalcommission #realplaces20

Fort McKavett State Historic Site, located in Menard County. Fort McKavett was a frontier fort established as Camp on the San Saba in 1852 to protect settlers from Indian raids. The camp was renamed in honor of Captain Henry McKavett.

Buffalo Gap, is an incorporated community at the intersection of Farm to Market 89 and 1235, thirteen miles southwest of Abilene in central Taylor County. Buffalo Gap was founded in 1877. The Callahan Divide, the topographic boundary between the Brazos and Colorado basins, crosses Buffalo Gap from east to west. Elm Creek passes through and once served as a watering hole for buffalo. Present day Buffalo Gap highway (Farm to Market 89) follows the old Center Line Trail, which was surveyed in 1874 and ran from Texarkana to El Paso. Another major road entered the county on the south side of the mountains and passed through Buffalo Gap in the direction of Fort Phantom Hill. The road forked at Buffalo Gap; one branch led southwest to Pecos County and the other to Tom Green County.

Go follow Fort Concho on Instagram.

Check out the fort's new Instagram account! While you're there, don't forget to follow us.

Fort Concho was established in 1867 along the banks of the Concho River, which was then at the junction of the Butterfield Trail, Goodnight Trail and the Road to San Antonio. It's objective was to protect frontier settlements, patrol and map the vast West Texas region. The site was chosen for its strategic location at the junction of the North and Middle Concho Rivers, and because there were five major trails in the vicinity.

Possum Kingdom Lake was originally created from the Morris Sheppard Dam, which was a project of the Brazos River Authority and the Works Progress Administration. Construction begun in 1936 and completed in 1941. The dam is 2,700 feet (820 m) long and 190 feet (58 m) high.

Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas, now better know as Presidio de San Saba. The Presidio was founded in April 1757 near present-day Menard, Texas to protect the Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba, established at the same time. The Presidio and Mission were built to secure Spain's claim to the territory.

Brady was settled in the 1870's it was named for Brady Creek, which runs through town.
Brady is the home of the famous World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-off.

Built on the rolling hills between the West Fork of the Trinity River and the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, Fort Griffin was established by the US Cavalry in 1867 in northwestern Shackelford County to provide protection to area settlers from Comanche and Kiowa raids.

Fort Belknap

We are so excited to partner with Visit Graham Texas on this event. Saturday, April 11th is going to be a great day at the Fort!

🏃🏻‍♂️ Race Link ——> https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/Graham/GoodnightLovingRun

Established June 29, 1886 by the Santa Fe Railroad, the City of Ballinger was named for William Pitt Ballinger, an attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Home of the "Texas State Festival of Ethnic Cultures", "Friend" the Indian statue, the "Cross", "Charles H. Noyes" and many beautiful historic homes and buildings.

Fort Mason established on July 6, 1851, in present day Mason County, Texas. Fort Mason was named in honor of George Thomson Mason, a United States Army second lieutenant killed in the Thornton Affair during the Mexican-American War near Brownsville, April 25, 1846.

Graham, Texas was founded in 1872 by two brothers from Kentucky, Colonel Edwin Smith Graham and Gustavous Adolphus Graham. The mainstays of the area seem to be farming, mercantile, land sales and ranching until producing oil was discovered in 1917. Young County became the third-richest producing oil reserve in the state of Texas, with Graham in the center of exploration.

Fort Richardson was a United States Army installation located in Jacksboro, Texas and named in honor of Union General Israel B. Richardson, who died in the Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War. Fort Richardson was active from 1867 to 1878.

Eastland was incorporated twice, the first time on June 6, 1891, W.Q. Connelle was the first mayor and the second time on April 6, 1897, with June Kimble as the mayor.
Home of Ol' Rip, the Connelle Hotel & Civic Center, Six Flags Park along with many other sites and attractions.
#visiteastland #texasfortstrail #traveltexas

Fort Belknap, located near Newcastle, Texas, was established in November 1851 by brevet Brigadier William G. Belknap to protect the Texas frontier against raids by the Kiowa and Comanche.

Day 2 almost underway. Winter Texan Expo McAllen, TX

We are ready to rock day one of the Winter Texan Expo in McAllen, TX.

A few more photos from my travels in the region this week. #onthetrail #texasfortstrail #trailboss

Just another gem along the Texas Forts Trail.

Thank you @usatoday!!! https://www.10best.com/interests/hotels-resorts/10-unique-texas-hotels-getaways/ #traveltexas #wildcatterranch #wildcatter #visitgrahamtx #visitmineralwells #visitpossumkingdom #usatodaytop10 #texasspringbreak

On this date in 1865 - The Battle of Dove Creek was fought, when 370 state border guards intercepted 1,410 Kickapoo Indians who were trying to move to Mexico from Indian Territory. In the battle, 36 whites were killed and 60 wounded; 11 Kickapoos were killed and 31 wounded.

It was a beautiful day to get out and deliver Authentic Texas magazines in the region.

[01/07/20]   On this date in 1865, the Todd family was attacked by Indians while on their way to the town of Fort Mason. Mrs. Todd as well as a female servant and the family's dogs were killed; fourteen-year-old Alice Todd was captured. Alice had been home from the San Saba Female Seminary for Christmas vacation. She was never recovered. There is a pictograph in Paint Rock that is thought to record the attack and capture of Alice.

Fort Belknap

Working on details of what Fort Belknap actually looked like during the period of occupation. This is from the 1853 Freeman Map of the layout of the Fort. It is the only known rendering, map, photo, drawing, etc. of what it looked like in the 1850’s. I have zoomed in on what is now the Museum. During occupation the museum was the Commissary Store. Notice the two objects protruding on the east and south sides. We know the Commissary was 2 stories, from Freeman’s description. These two protrusions, which are no longer there are an entrance awning (right) and a staircase (bottom). That’s right! The original staircase was not inside the building, it was an exterior stair case.

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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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