Historic Structure Report
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Codes used for number designations of First Fort and Arsenal buildings:

HS= Historic Structure number; the official National Park Service building number.
R= Ruwet number; the number assigned to the structure by Wayne Ruwet in ca. 1970.
B= Bleser number; the number assigned to the structure by Nicholas Bleser in 1965.
W= Wohlbrandt number; the number assigned on the Wohlbrandt map in 1961.
K= Kelp number; the number assigned by W. Kelp in ca. 1882 (Arsenal buildings only).
66= The number assigned to the Arsenal buildings by the 1866 proposed plan of the Arsenal, erroneously dated "1876."
M= Mansfield letter; the letter assigned to the First Fort buildings by Col. Joseph Mansfield in 1853.

Arsenal Structural Information

The "Proposal Plan" of 1866

At the time the research for the Base Map was conducted, the available copy of this document was a xerox of a tracing of the original, rather than a photocopy or photostat of the original itself. On the master copy in the Arrott Collection at Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico, the date of 1876 is written in pencil on the back; whether this is on the original or is just the opinion of the collector is not known. It appears to be a planning document for the Arsenal, depicting an early intended arrangement of the enclosing wall and buildings when they were finished.

The Arsenal is shown enclosed by a wall about 1000 feet square, but the plan shows the old Commanding Officer's Quarters, HS-133, and the old Ordnance Barracks, HS-143. Since construction on the main enclosing wall began in October, 1868, after the construction of the new Ordnance Barracks, HS-113, between March and October of the same year, it is not possible to have an as-is map that shows the enclosing wall standing without HS-113 also being shown. The diagram was drawn when the wall was planned but the actual location of HS-113 had not been selected; therefore, the date of 1876 is obviously an erroneous guess on the part of a researcher—the plan must have actually been prepared at some earlier date. The evidence indicates that the "1876" plan was a design, a "proposal plan," rather than an "as-built;" it seems to be a scale drawing and portrays the location and dimensions of some buildings with fair accuracy. With a little thought and research, the date of the drawing can be estimated as mid-1866. The reasoning behind this date is as follows: In 1860, Shoemaker believed that a new site was about to be selected for the Arsenal, and spent most of his efforts on trying to keep up the old buildings, rather than the construction of new ones; he did, however, work out a tentative plan for his new Arsenal that is presently unavailable (Part I, pp. 70-72). The intervention of the Civil War delayed the effort to relocate the Arsenal, and ultimately the decision was made to leave it at the site of First Fort. This decision was apparently reached sometime between December, 1864, when Shoemaker was still talking about other possible locations for the Arsenal, and September, 1865, when he had begun new, permanent buildings on the original site (Part I, pp. 72-74). In December, 1864, Shoemaker stated that he had made no estimate for construction costs for 1865 (presumably on September 1, 1864, when the estimates were usually submitted) because he did not want to spend money on the old buildings at the old site in anticipation of beginning a new Arsenal at a new site. In November, 1865, he referred to the "annual estimate for permanent buildings here" submitted on September 1, 1865; the use of the phrase "permanent buildings here" suggests that as of that date Shoemaker had already been informed of the imminent formal establishment of Fort Union Arsenal at First Fort during FY 1866. [103] Therefore, Shoemaker probably began working on plans for a completely rebuilt Arsenal soon after being notified of the decision, sometime between January and August, 1865, and on September 1, he officially submitted an estimate for the construction of the first permanent buildings. The context of the November, 1865, letter indicates that the new buildings he intended to build in 1865 were the Magazines, HS-109 and 110, and probably the wall enclosing them; as of November he was planning to start work on these buildings immediately and continue construction through the winter.

During the first planning in the first half of 1865 for his new Arsenal on the original site, Shoemaker prepared some sort of plan of how the establishment would be laid out. The available evidence indicates that the initial design was more or less the plan of the Arsenal as it stood a year later, in 1866, with two magazines in a walled enclosure to the south of a group of Arsenal buildings including both a few new buildings and those old ones built of adobe, with all the buildings connected by a series of walls or fences that created a second enclosure. In addition, most of the remaining First Fort buildings not used by the Arsenal were removed between ca. August, 1865, and ca. August, 1866. Because of the placing of the Magazines within their walled compound, Shoemaker must have already planned for additional workshops and storehouses in the north half of the Magazine compound, although these had not been built by late 1866.

A year after the decision was made for the new Arsenal to remain on the old Ordnance Depot site, Fort Union Arsenal was officially created on May 8, 1866. The "1876" plan, apparently a simplified sketch map made from a more exacting, scale plan, must have been prepared about the same time, and was probably intended to show the construction goals for the next several years. Specifically, the plan was prepared after the decision was made to add HS-106, the blacksmith's shop, to the east end of the original building, HS-105, the armorer's shop, the construction for which occurred in May, 1866 (Shoemaker to Dyer, June 1, 1866, RG 156, Letters Received, Office of the Chief of Ordnance). The tone of the letter implies that this addition was rather impromptu, rather than part of a long-planned change. Additionally, the sketch map was made before the Carpenter Shop, Saddler Shop, and Laboratory intended to be added to the group within the original Magazine compound were redesigned. The sketch map shows what is undoubtedly the original layout intended for the Magazine compound as planned in early 1865. However, between August of 1866, when Lambert and Enos surveyed the Arsenal area for the 1866 map, and July of 1867, when the Carpenter's Shop was completed in its present form as HS-108, [104] the Laboratory was removed from the plan, the two shops were increased to be the same size as the magazines, and the revised version built. For HS-108 to be completed in July, 1867, the redesign had to have occurred by late 1866 or early 1867.

Therefore, the original design was prepared in 1866, probably between May and the end of the year. To further tighten the date, in October, 1866, Shoemaker referred to "all of the work projected last spring," the spring of 1866 (Shoemaker, Fort Union Arsenal, New Mexico, to General A. B. Dyer, Chief of Ordnance, Washington, D. C., October 2, 1866). This must be a reference to the planning resulting in the "1876" plan. Based on these considerations, the following discussion of the buildings of the Arsenal will assume that the "proposal plan" is a simplified version of Shoemaker's master plan for his new Arsenal, prepared about May, 1866. The plan as designed and as it was later carried out in modified form demonstrated Shoemaker's usual scrupulous avoidance of needless expenditure. Where already-existing buildings met his standards, he modified them to serve in the new Arsenal. Apparently most buildings that had been constructed before 1865 using adobe with well-built stone foundations were adapted to the new plan. This included the Armory (HS-105), the Artillery Storehouse (HS-199), the Storehouse (HS-102), the adobe portion of the Ordnance Clerk's Office and Quarters (HS-115), and HS-192, a well-built structure behind HS-133, Shoemaker's first house—this building, used as a stable in later years, may have been the original adobe magazine, built in 1859.

Shoemaker constantly revised his plan of the final Arsenal. As mentioned above, after the creation of the "1876" plan about May, 1866, he carried out a further redesign in late 1866 or early 1867; a copy of this modified plan is not available, but resulted in the removal of HS-199 and the construction of HS-118, as well as the redesign of the Shops (HS-107 and 108) into their present form. This produced the version of the Arsenal shown on the 1868 map; the revised plan may be considered to have looked like the plan of the Arsenal as plotted on the map of 1868. Then, soon after the preparation of this map about May, 1868, Shoemaker arrived at several new changes to the plan, and in fact continued to revise and modify his plans until the completion of the Arsenal about 1871-72. In other words, the "1876" plan is only one of perhaps six or seven possible proposal plans, each reflecting another stage in the development of Shoemakers's design towards the final Arsenal; it just happens that the "1876" is available while the others are not. We are extremely fortunate that at least one of these plans was found, because the "1876" plan tells a great deal about the intermediate planning that carried the Arsenal from its original Depot configuration to the final plan in 1882.

Other Graphic Information

First, a word of warning: no matter how precise and accurate they look, the maps, plans and drawings discussed below are the result of the composer's interpretation; the presence or absence of a building from a drawing or plan does not prove that it is present or gone, but only indicates that this may be the case. This report assumes that the drawings depict what was present; some of the plans, however, show intended structures that were never built, or leave off buildings that were standing at the time; where other evidence shows that this has happened, it will be presented. In general, the plans and drawings are assumed to show the "truth," but this is only an assumption. Keep in mind that interpreting fine detail on the plans and drawings falls into the same category as fine detail in photographs: some of the information depends on the mind or knowledge of the beholder, and is not necessarily there to be seen by anyone. Basically, the more you know about a place and time, the more you can get from a drawing, plan, or photo, but at the same time, it becomes easier to see too much by projecting what you think should be there into the random markings of fine detail.


Two maps of the Fort Union Reservation prepared by Army surveyors contain critical information for this Base Map. These are the "Map of the Military Reservation at Fort Union, N. M.," surveyed in August to December, 1866, by John Lambert under the command of Brevet Colonel H. M. Enos; and the "Map of the Reservation Proper at Fort Union, N. M., originally 8 miles square," stated on the map to have been drawn in 1868, by Lambert under the orders of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel M. I. Ludington. A copy of this map is in Greene and Pitcaithley, ill. 2, p. 128-29. The 1866 Enos and Lambert Map is extremely good; it appears that virtually everything standing at the time was surveyed and plotted on the map, and the accuracy of the measurements is quite high, especially considering how small the original was drawn.

The 1868 map by Brevet Lieutenant Colonel M. I. Ludington and Lambert appears to have been traced largely from the 1866 Enos and Lambert map, with some differences to reflect the changes in the intervening two years. The map was drawn principally to show the revised boundaries of the Military Reservation of Fort Union, based on a survey carried out in March, 1868. A note on the edge of the map indicates that it was officially received by the Engineering Office of the Department of the Missouri at Fort Leavenworth on June 13, 1868. The map was therefore probably drawn in April or early May, 1868. However, on the two available versions of the 1868 maps, Ludington and Lambert show five buildings in Sutler's Row. This is awkward, since there were only two trader's stores at Fort Union Third Fort as of May, 1868. These were HS-302, the W. H. Moore Store, built about September-December of 1862, and John E. Barrow's Store, HS-305, built in December, 1867-January, 1868. HS-304 was in existence by mid-1868 when it was used as a barber shop and residence, and could conceivably have been built by May. But HS-303, the Greisinger building, was built in October-November, 1868, and must have been added to the 1868 map at the end of 1868 or in 1869; there can be no doubt that it was added after the final draft arrived at Fort Leavenworth, by somebody who had no concern for the peace of mind of later researchers. Based on these considerations, the available copies of the 1868 map must be considered to be updated through at least December, 1868.

The W. Kelp map of the Arsenal in approximately its final form is usually considered to be dated July 3, 1882. In actuality, this date is open to question, since it is directly associated with a parenthetical statement written on the original map: (Abandoned as an Arsenal), with the date directly underneath. This could be considered a note added to the map to indicate that the Arsenal was closed on July 3, 1882, rather than the date the map was made. If so, the map would have been made at some date other than July, 1882. Several oddities about it need to be noted. First, the enclosing wall is apparently not marked on the plan, even though other walls are clearly shown, such as those around HS-116 and HS-111. Other walls separating the interior of the compound into sections seem to be shown, especially the east wall of the Magazine compound. These walls seem to end at the points where the enclosing wall would have been, had it been drawn. Projecting the lines, it is found that the Kelp map shows the enclosure as 1005.4 feet east to west along the north side, and 1138.8 feet north to south along the centerline (as built, the interior dimensions were: the west wall, 1166.30 feet long; the south wall, 1000.08 feet long; the east wall, 1190.31 feet; and the north wall 1046.84 feet long). More interesting, the map shows no teardrop entrance drive, but rather the old entrance road along the north side of the Arsenal parade ground, and HS-102 is in two sections, as it was in 1888, rather than one continuous building. It is likely that the map was made about 1885-1890, when the enclosing walls were considerable deteriorated and the loop road had been abandoned for a more direct route straight in along the earlier entrance road to the large storeroom, still occasionally in use by Fort Union (Part I, p. 89).


There are two pictures that serve as the principal photographic sources for the Arsenal:

1. A photograph of the Arsenal area as visible behind Third Fort buildings, National Archives 111-SC-87997, a copy of which is in Third Fort Union, ill. 32, pp. 188-89, contains a great deal of critical information about the Arsenal. This photograph had no associated date in the Fort Union files, and has been generally dated to 1866, but an examination of the details of the Third Fort buildings allows a narrower date-range to be suggested. First of all, the lines of sight across the Quartermaster Depot Officers' Quarters and First Fort demonstrate that the picture was taken from the west edge of the roof of the Mechanic's Corral, HS-36, at its southwest corner. The three structures being built in the foreground are the three Officers' Quarters for the Fort Union Depot, HS-27, 28, and 29, from left to right. These buildings were begun in July and August, 1865, and the right-most building, HS-29, was completed by February 1, 1866 (Third Fort Union, p. 58). The photograph shows this building to be well along, with the chimneys and ceilings more or less complete but the brick cornices and upper roof still needing to be finished and the doors and windows installed, while HS-28 has its ceilings but no visible chimneys, and HS-27 is still unroofed, with sunlight shining into the rooms. Since bouts of freezing weather made construction proceed slowly during the winter months, in order for HS-29 to be completed by February, 1866, this picture must have been taken in late 1865. On April 15, 1867, Brevet Colonel H. M. Enos, in a letter to Chief Quartermaster L. C. Easton, mentioned in passing that Captain H. J. Farnsworth had sent photographs of Fort Union to Captain A. B. Carey, who assembled a collection of these from a number of posts and sent them on to the Quartermaster General in September, 1865. This makes it virtually certain that the several photographs of Fort Union taken during the early construction of the Depot were made by Captain H. J. Farnsworth or one of his subordinates sometime during and just before September, 1865. Since we know construction on HS-27, 28, and 29 did not begin until July, and is well along in the photographs, early September seems the best guess. In the following descriptions, the date "ca. September, 1865," will be used.

This may seem like a lot of effort to determine a date of only minor interest, but in this case the evidence of the photograph is of tremendous value. Since the point at which the picture was taken is known, and since all the Officer's Quarters in the picture still stand to some extent, the exact line of sight to the ends of specific buildings can be plotted on the map with an accuracy of a few feet. Taken in combination with the statements of MSK Shoemaker at the Arsenal, the photograph clarifies an amazing number of details; such things as what buildings he was referring to in his correspondence of 1865 and 1866, the dates of destruction of many buildings, including several of the First Fort Officers' Quarters (still standing in the Farnsworth photograph, but gone by the time of the survey for the 1866 map a year later), and the extent to which other buildings had been built. The importance of the date of the photograph will become apparent as the descriptions of buildings are examined below and the frequency of reference to the photograph becomes apparent. Many thanks to Superintendent Harry Myers of Fort Union for recognizing that First Fort was visible in the background of this picture, and insisting that we look a little closer at it. It allowed precision in many cases where otherwise the phrase "sometime in 1865-68" would have had to do.

2. The Arizona Pioneers Historical Society photograph of the Arsenal, taken from high on the hillside to the west of the buildings by an unknown photographer. This photograph is usually dated 1879, again apparently a researcher's guess; however, evidence in the picture suggests a date of ca. 1885. For example, the buildings of Sutler's Row are virtually identical in condition to another picture of Sutlers Row from the west that can be easily dated to 1883-1889; the Commissary Sergeant's quarters apparently not built until about 1880-83, are visible at the north end of Third Fort; the Flagstaff, HS-173, apparently is not standing, and no flag is flying over the Arsenal, a condition that probably indicates it has been closed; the east wall of the arsenal south of the gate is clearly irregular and partly collapsed, suggesting no maintenance for several years; the roofs of the buildings look irregular and in poor repair. Finally, the southernmost room of HS-102 appears to be separate from the rest of the building, as it is in the 1888 photograph (Third Fort Union, ill. 56 top, p. 237) and on the ca. 1885 plan of the Arsenal, and the arched opening facing west has a large multipaned window filling it (actually this is a pair of French doors—by 1888 the window panes have been painted white or filled with wood panels painted white). All this suggests a date after closure in 1882, but before 1888. A median date of ca. 1885 will be used for this photograph, rather than the traditional 1879 date.

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Last Updated: 13-Feb-2006