Forts Trail Region

From Post Hill you look down on the white dome of the Mason County Courthouse, and you look back 150 years. The U.S. Army established Fort Mason here in the 1850s to protect German immigrants settling the hills and valleys of what became Mason County. Robert E. Lee served here before commanding Confederates during the Civil War. A replica officers quarters marks the historic grounds, and many structures in the picturesque historic district contain limestone from the old fort. The Classical Revival 1909 Mason County Courthouse, currently undergoing restoration, dominates the tree-studded square. Across the street, the new Mason Square Museum paints the broad strokes of county history—from the area’s famous topaz stones to the cattle feud called the Hoo Doo War. An 1887 stone school houses the Mason County Historical Museum where extensive displays elaborate the county story. Mason boasts the refurbished 1928 Odeon Theater which still shows first-run films and stages live performances. Walt Disney’s film, Old Yeller, premiered at the Odeon, because native son Fred Gipson wrote the story in Mason. A bronze statue of Old Yeller and the annual Old Yeller Day honor Gipson’s tale, inspired by his grandfather.