Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fort McKavett

Fort McKavett is near Junction -- about 40 miles or so one way -- so we drove over during our stay in Junction to tour the old fort that General William T. Sheridan once called the "prettiest post in Texas."

Located on Ranch Road 864 just south of US 190 between Menard and Eldorado, Fort McKavett was -- and still is -- an isolated post. Established in 1852, the fort was one of many located along the Texas frontier to protect settlers and travelers from Indian depredations. It was abandoned prior to the Civil War, then reopened in 1868 to serve mainly as a supply depot in the war against Comanches who had made inroads during the Civil War. Following the end of Indian hostilities, the post was finally abandoned for good in 1883. In 1968, the post was purchased by the state and was, for years, part of the state park system. Today it is operated by the Texas Historical Commission.

There are quite a few surviving buildings at the post. It is located on a rise -- it would be too presumptuous to call it a hill -- and it affords a commanding view of the surrounding area.

The post hospital today serves as the park headquarters. The white buildings to the left are the privy on the left and the "dead room" (morgue) on the right.
Captain's Quarters at opposite end of post from hospital.
Ruins of commanding officer's quarters

Lieutenant's Row facing the parade ground
These are the only barracks that have been restored. They are furnished and open for viewing.
Post headquarters
Donna found this cactus growing out of a rock wall
After touring the post, we then took a walk along the Government Road Nature Trail. This road, built by the fort's soldiers, ran from the fort down to the springs, lime kiln, and rock quarry. The springs are actually the headwaters of the San Saba River, and they provided the post with its fresh water supply. The lime kiln provided limestone and quicklime for the construction of the fort. Of course, the quarry provided the stones used in the construction of the post.

Pretty patch of bluebonnets along the nature trail
Lime Kiln
Spring and headwaters of the San Saba River
Rock Quarry
Bluebonnets set against limestone outcropping
Donna in a patch of bluebonnets

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