Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fort Concho

Recently, our daughter and her family spent the weekend with us. We spent Saturday visiting a couple of sites around San Angelo, starting with Fort Concho.

Fort Concho was established on the south bank of the North Concho River in 1867. Like other military posts in this part of Texas, it was created to protect settlers and immigrants as the frontier pushed ever farther west. In 1889, the fort was abandoned as the Indian threat no longer existed.

Today, Fort Concho is a National Historic Landmark. It is an active place, with numerous events taking place there throughout the year. The day we were there, for example, the Texas Mesquite Association was holding an arts festival in 2 or 3 buildings of the fort, so we were able to browse their goodies as well.

Fort Concho is an integral part of the history of San Angelo. It was a leading factor in the establishment of numerous business on the north bank of the river, an area now consisting of downtown San Angelo, including historic Concho Avenue. Downtown San Angelo is a wonderful place to park your car and just wander around. There are wonderful and interesting shops and numerous places to eat.

One of the best ways to learn about what life at Fort Concho was like is by reading a novel by Elmer Kelton, a noted author I've mentioned more than once in this blog. His novel The Wolf and the Buffalo deals with old Fort Concho, the rowdy town of Santa Angela across the river, the "buffalo soldiers" of the post, and the Comanches they encountered in the settling of the west. It is a great story, and shows with historical accuracy what life was like on the Texas frontier.

Any trip to San Angelo would be incomplete without a stop at Fort Concho.

Officers' Row
Uniform display in the Visitor Center
Post headquarters in center, with quartermasters' quarters and commissary to the left
Enlisted men's barracks

The Museum of Telephony is located in one of the officer's quarters.

Some of the beautiful mesquite items on display at the Texas Mesquite Association's art festival

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