Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fort Davis Frontier Fort, National Historical Site

Hi all, Dianne here.  This is our last post from Davis Mountain State Park.  One afternoon we decided to visit the Fort Davis National Historical Site, which is just outside the state park.

Fort Davis was constructed to straddle the San Antonio-El Paso frontier road in 1854 to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and stagecoaches traveling through.  Troops were stationed there until 1891, including the famous Buffalo Soldiers black infantry troops.

First, Roger and I watched the short video in the visitors' center narrated by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, then we set out to walk around the grounds.  We enjoyed viewing the foundation ruins of many of the older buildings.

Some of the buildings that are still intact have period furnishings, such as the above interior view of one of the soldiers' barracks.  All of the furnished displays are behind glass partitions, but I was able to photo them by putting my camera up to the glass and turning off the flash.

One of the interesting features of touring Fort Davis was the schedule of bugle calls given out at the visitor's center.  Thirty-two times per day, at different intervals, a loudspeaker would sound different bugle calls.  Our bugle call schedule told us what each call meant in the soldier's day.  For example, the call that we heard at 1:50 was to alert cavalrymen to put on their riding boots and saddle their horses.  It gave us a flavor of life on an active military post.

Here is a shot of the homes in Officers' Row:

The Commanding Officer's quarters were furnished.  
Once again, I took a few photos through the glass partitions:

The photo below shows the children's room:

Before we left the Commanding Officer's quarters, I sat for a minute on the porch swing on the shady front veranda and enjoyed the cool breeze.  All I needed to complete the vignette was a glass of lemonade!

There were four abandoned two-story officers' quarters on the site; nothing inside but decaying floorboards over dirt floors, broken plaster, and stairways to nowhere (I peeked). 

After we toured the fort, we went back to the visitors' center to look at the museum displays inside.  Here's one I found especially interesting:

We really enjoyed touring the fort, even more than we expected to.  

History nerd that I am, I'm also reading a terrific Texas history book entitled "Gone to Texas."  512 pages, so it's not for the faint of heart!  I'm just now up to the civil war, and I've been reading it for weeks.  Here's a link to Amazon if you want more info,

but I bought the Kindle version for $19.  If you do have a Kindle, I also discovered a FREE book download that had been recommended to us by a man (a retired Texas oil man) that Roger met at our campground.  Here's a link to the book info, but to get the free Kindle version you would need to look for that specifically on the Amazon web site (guess they don't give links to free stuff!)  

I can't wait to read this one, because the man Roger spoke with said that Larry McMurtry used this book as a source for some of the Lonesome Dove story lines.  The author, Andy Adams, actually kept logs on cattle drives he went on as a teen and wrote this book in his later years.

Okay, that's your Texas history lesson for today.   

 Here's the pet photo of the day.  This is a more flattering shot of Charlie the Cat than the "basketball kitty" photo Roger posted a few blog entries back:

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