Texas Forts Trail Region

Texas Forts Trail Region


Fort Mason
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.

Railway Museum of San Angelo

Music 🎶 is the only way to get away without leaving home! Since we can’t go to the music at the moment, let us bring it to you! 🚂🎶🚂🎶🚂
Tip Jar:
[email protected]

#RMOSA #SanAngeLoki Wrather Rhodes Matthew Lopez

Visit Mineral Wells

We’re wrapping up our National Travel and Tourism Week with some MW Trivia and other fun stories. And we have the perfect guest for it...

As we wait for things to open back up remember our heritage and the beautiful history that is our makeup. Fort Concho is one of many sites to see in the Texas Forts Trail Region. #NTTW #SpiritofTexas

Check out this beautiful little retreat not far from Early, TX. What a great little day trip. #SpiritofTravel

It's getting hot, hot hot, and we are here to help!
Check out our new "daycation" pricing below.
Spaces will be limited so call now to make your reservation.

Fort Griffin Fandangle

We are sad to announce that our board members had to come to the inevitable decision to postpone the 2020 Fort Griffin Fandangle until 2021. If you have already purchased tickets you may call and receive a refund, or keep your tickets for 2021. Please continue to stay updated with the Fort Griffin Fandangle we are brainstorming ways to keep the Fandangle alive and well during 2020! If you have any questions or concerns please email us at [email protected]. Thank y'all for keeping this Texas tradition around since 1938!

Wish our Texas Forts Trail board member Grant Ingram a very happy birthday.

Help us wish our CVB Manager, Grant Ingram, a happy birthday 🎉

Happy birthday Grant!

Railway Museum of San Angelo

All aboard, for story time!! #RMOSA #SanAngeLoki 🚂🚂🚂

The Grace Museum

Visit Brownwood, Texas

Social distancing might be hard, but life’s better inside right now. We’re using this time to become stronger, healthier - to protect the people we love. But, we’re also dreaming about the brighter days ahead. When you’re ready to travel again, Brownwood will be here to welcome you with open arms and a Texas-sized spirit.

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

Pvt. Mack here, I hope you all are having a great day. Last week’s linesman belt and harness must have been easy, several of you had the correct answer and even more of you agreed with their answer.

Since you did so well this week I am doing something a little different today, I’m posting two different tools. These tools in the hands of a skilled craftsmen turned the ordinary into the extraordinary. Any guesses what they are and do, I’ll have the answer tomorrow at noon.

You all are pretty sharp if you said wooden and moulding plane you are correct.

The larger of the two is a wooden plane is a tool used for shaping wood. A wooden plane is made entirely of wood except for the blade. The iron is held into the plane with a wooden wedge and is adjusted by striking the plane with a hammer. Most planes fall within the categories (by size) of block plane, smoothing plane, and jointing plane.

The other is a moulding plane, in woodworking, a moulding plane (molding plane in US spelling) is a specialized plane used for making the complex shapes such as a moving fillister, dado, tongue and groove, hollow and rounds, rabbet plane, side bead, and others, but I think you get the point.

Keep an eye out next week for another tool the Buffalo Soldiers used.

Pvt. Mack

Visit Graham Texas

Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce

We just wanted to take a moment and say, thank you. Thank you Brownwood and Brown County for stepping up and going above and beyond.

The Alamo

With the annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845, however, San Antonio’s military role evolved again as the city became a central hub of military traffic and supply.
Read more about the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department at the Alamo, 1847–1861: https://medium.com/@OfficialAlamo/the-u-s-army-quartermaster-department-at-the-alamo-1847-1861-466455cfe14

Visit Graham Texas

We’re asking our fellow Grahamites “what the perfect vacation in Graham, TX looks like?” Graham CVB Manager, Grant Ingram, took a short video to answer the question, and now we want to hear from you!!

You’re up, Dan De La Cruz and Jayne Elliott Beale!

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

The Writing On The Wall ~ How Native Americans added Art to Their Lives.

Fort Chadbourne

The Fort Chadbourne Foundation will remain closed until Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

“Hook’d on the Frontier”

Visit Mineral Wells

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since the weekend felt like a weekend. With the Mineral Wells Virtual Getaway, it finally felt like a weekend again.

If you missed any of the events, you can find them here on the Visit Mineral Wells page.

We are finishing off the weekend with a Native American Flute lesson and then Danica will play for us ‪at 6pm‬.

If you’d like to purchase one of her handmade flutes or find out when her new CD is ready, visit her website at https://www.whiteindianstudio.com/

*We’d love to see how you’re enjoying the Virtual Getaway. Post your photos and be sure to tag @VisitMineralWells and use #MWGetaway

IN-Focus Digital

Every Saturday should be Small Business Saturday since these businesses are the economic backone of communities large and small. Here's a highlight video from our time in Albany, Texas back in March.

IN-Focus Digital produced these small business spotlights free of charge to lend a helping hand during this time. Fort Griffin General Merchandise & Beehive Saloon Clear Fork Coffee - Albany, TX Nostalgia Antiques, Decor & More Icehouse Restaurant Prairie Star Vintage Vanilla & Erline's Specialty Shop Blanton-Caldwell Trading Co. Albany Wellness & Provisions Albany Hardware Rustic Charm Candles Buds for You - Albany Happy Wife Happy Life Weddings & Events Venue Sassifrass Fort Griffin Fandangle

Wildcatter Ranch and Resort

#dreamnowtravellater 940-549-3500 to learn more about Wildcatter Ranch

Texas Travel Alliance

Join us for this upcoming Texas Travel Alliance COVID-19 webinar:

Communication in the Time of Coronavirus

With uncertainty lurking in every corner, it’s near impossible to map out a clear, long-term communications plan. So how do you continue to communicate with empathy, clarity and substance during a global pandemic?

In this webinar, Jenifer will guide us through best practices to help navigate these uncertain waters and continue to build brand loyalty by staying top of mind with consumers and adding value to our collective conversation.

Presented by: Jenifer Sarver, Sarver Strategies

Registration is free for all members.

Register here: https://www.ttia.org/event/Webinars2020

Fort McKavett State Historic Site

This week’s #FirstHandFriday is a letter written to the Chief Quartermaster for the Military Division of the South at Louisville, Kentucky.

“Quartermaster General’s Office
(Washington) D.C., August 3rd, 1871

Lieut. Col. J.C. McFerran
Chief Quartermaster, Mil. Div. of the South,
Louisville, Ky.


Based on the recommendation of Dept. and Div. Quartermasters, Commanders, and the Surg General, concurred in by this office, the Secretary of War has authorized the construction at Fort McKavett, Texas, of a Twelve Bed Hospital, on plan laid down in Circular 3 of 1870, Surgeon General’s Office.
In submitting the papers to the War Department, the Quartermaster General reported,

‘The proper materials for building at Fort McKavett is stone, which can be quarried with little labor, in proper shape, for rough walls.’
‘The roofs will be most economically covered with roofing felt, and Composition, which can be transported much more cheaply than shingles, which are very much heavier. All transportation is by the pound.’
‘The work should be done by the command, the appropriations are not sufficient to pay many skilled mechanics to build half the buildings needed, unless a great part of the work is done by labor of troops, the windows, doors sash, and finished work being sent ready-made from the settlements. There is need of only one skilled mechanic, in each branch of work, to lay out, and direct the work.’
‘Any ingenious man can drive a nail or saw to a line.’
‘Fine work is (too expensive) at these wilderness posts.’
‘I therefore recommend that the Hospital be built, subject to these conditions, by the troops, aided by not over one skilled mason, carpenter, and smith if such cannot be found in the Garrison.’
‘The results of labor advertisements for builders in less remote Texas Posts, convince me, that the cost of building by contract will much exceed the cost of the work if done under the direction of a judicious Post Commander (Col. Shafter is such an officer.)’
Returned by the War Department endorsed as follows,
‘While the plan is to be adhered to, the economical views of the Q.M.G. herein specified are approved by the Secretary of (War.) who authorizes the necessary funds July 19, 1871.’

You will be governed accordingly.

Very Respectfully,
(Your Obedient Servant.)
M.C. Meigs
Quartermaster General, U.S.A.”

A couple interesting things to note about this letter. The Hospital to which the letter refers is the modern-day Visitor’s Center. Those who have been to the site know right away that some of the stipulations written in this letter were not adhered to:
First, the roof of the Hospital would end up being made of cypress shingles as the rest of the Fort. These were harvested near Kerrville so freighting was likely less of a burden than supposed by those in Washington.
Second, we know that not only did the soldiers of the fort NOT build the hospital, it was the only building built entirely by contracted labor. During the years of construction (1871-74) there were as many as 6 masons and 9 carpenters working at Fort McKavett, most likely on the Hospital building.
A couple of other notes about the Hospital. It was the only building not to be whitewashed on its exterior walls. It is clear that this building, when compared to others, was built by “skilled mechanics”. The stones are much more neat squared, laid, and mortared in place. Some of the stones and mortar seams even have unique marks and designs made by the stone cutter or mason working at the time.

Pictured here is the Post Hospital as it appears today and a drawing of the building’s footprint. Also pictured are some of the uniquely marked and designed stones and mortar seams visible on the east side of the building.

#FortMcKavett #FtMcKavett #FHF #PostHospital #ArmyQuartermaster #SurgeonGeneral #ArmyMedicine #PlansGoAwry

Fort Concho National Historic Landmark

Hoot & Holler storytime with Conrad McClure

Visit Graham Texas

Great job guys! Thank you!

Fort Concho National Historic Landmark

Curator’s Corner— video edition.

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

Lt. Henry O. Flipper was the first African American graduate of West Point and the first African American commissioned officer in the regular U.S. Army. He served as a signal officer and quartermaster, fought Apaches, installed telegraph lines, and supervised the building of roads. At Fort Sill, the young lieutenant directed the construction of a drainage system that helped prevent the spread of malaria, it is known as "Flipper's Ditch," the ditch. Can you name this tool and how it would have helped his men do their job? I’ll have the answer tomorrow at noon.

Lee Young you are absolutely correct it is a Lineman's Belt - safety strap, tool holster and canvas tool bag - probably was used in erecting the Telegraph lines. Keep an eye out next week for another tool they used.

Pvt. Mack

Graham Chamber of Commerce

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

“Knowledge is Power”

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

Good news!
Please everyone follow the rules and do not abuse this privilege.

Railway Museum of San Angelo

All aboard for story time!! 🚂🚂🚂 #RMOSA #SanAngeLoki

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

Tracks and Trails on the Texas Frontier

Buffalo Soldiers Program- Texas Parks and Wildlife

Let’s talk about it

Shout out to Brownwood and Early, TX this morning. I received my shirt from Willie T’s this morning.

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Videos (show all)

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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