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[photo] [photo] Fort Davis National Historic Site
Photos from Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site was a vital link in the defense of the Texas frontier from 1854 to 1891. The acquisition of new territory following the Mexican War of 1846 to 1848, and the discovery of gold in California, intensified the numbers of emigrants making their way west. In 1849, the San Antonio-El Paso Road was opened and settlers began moving west along this route. In 1854 a fort was constructed at the base of the Davis Mountains to protect the emigrants and the stagecoach service from harassment by various American Indian tribes. The fort was named Fort Davis in honor of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later the President of the Confederacy). With the onset of the Civil War, the defense system of frontier Texas fell apart. After Texas seceded from the Union, Fort Davis and other outposts were occupied by Confederate troops until 1862. Fort Davis was then deserted until 1867 when Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt arrived with four companies of the 9th U.S. Cavalry, a newly formed regiment of African American soldiers, and began rebuilding the fort. Buildings were initially constructed of stone, and later of adobe. The fort was not completed until the 1880s. During this time the army campaigned against the Comanches and the Apaches. The Comanches were defeated between 1874 and 1875 and the Apaches in 1880. With the dangers to the El Paso Road minimized and the expansion of cattlemen into West Texas, Fort Davis was abandoned in 1891. Many of the fort's buildings have been restored. From June-August, costumed interpreters relate this turbulent period of Texas history.

Fort Davis, a National Historic Landmark, administered by the National Park Service, is located on the northern edge of the town of Fort Davis and can be reached off of Hwy. 17 from I-10 to the north or U.S. 90 to the south. The park is open daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. There is a fee for admission. For further information call 432-426-3224 or visit Fort Davis's website. Fort Davis has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.


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