Google Earth allows you to zoom in close to a landscape for an aerial view or, if the Google camera car has traveled a road, you can zoom in to a street view of that road and enjoy a view as if from a car. This way, you can actually see what the road is like, and that can be quite useful when you are traveling in unknown areas, especially when towing a behemoth behind you. Another feature of Google Earth I like is that people post pictures of areas so as you traverse a landscape, you will often see picture icons which you can then open and view.
Yesterday while viewing an area near Sterling City, Texas (about 40 miles northwest of San Angelo on US 87), I saw a grouping of 4 pictures centered on a hill about 5 miles south of Sterling City. I looked at all 4 pictures and saw they were of a place called "Tower Hill". Unfamiliar with this place, I then did an Internet search for "Tower Hill Sterling City Texas". This search turned up several hits which I then investigated.
At the top of the list was a link to a PDF article entitled "Archeological Investigations Tower Hill, Military Lookout (41ST91) Sterling County, Texas" by Tom Ashmore. This interesting and informative document was produced for the Concho Valley Archeological Society in December, 2010.
It turns out that this hill was probably used as a lookout by the 1st Texas Mounted Rifles during the early years of the War Between the States to watch the movements of Comanches as they followed the Sterling Creek valley on raids into and out of the Texas frontier settlements. The document contains numerous photos of the hill and the fortifications that were built there; the remains of an Indian burial location were also examined. I especially enjoyed the research that was conducted and how the participants deduced the history of the hill. The paper is well documented and is worth reading if you are interested in such things.
During my review of Tower Hill, I also learned a bit about Camp Elizabeth, located a few miles northwest of Sterling City. Seems this was an outpost of Fort Concho at a later time, so I'll devote a bit of research to this later.
If you use Google Earth and are interested in learning more about Tower Hill, its coordinates are roughly 31°46'40.36" N 101°00'41.96" W.
Other resources I found online for Tower Hill include the following:
- "Unearthed History" by Ray Theiss (article from the San Angelo Standard Times)
- Harold M. Gober wrote his thesis in 1950 at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University). His thesis, entitled "The History of the Sheep Industry of Sterling County," provides some history on the county, including some interesting details on Tower Hill beginning on page 19. It takes this thesis a little time to load, so be patient.