A FRONTIER DEFENSE
The frontier post of Fort Davis, established in 1854 and serving the Texas frontier until 1891, provided a strategic factor in the defense system of the American Southwest. The Fort’s garrison protected settlers, mail coaches, wagon trains, and travelers enduring the San Antonio-El Paso road, and, until 1861, soldiers stayed busy driving Comanche, Kiowa, and Apaches from the region. The Fort’s location, at the mouth of a box canyon on the eastern side of the Davis Mountains, provided a suitable advantage for fending off attacks, mustering troops, and staging defenses. Abandoned for a period after the Civil War, the Fort’s primitive structures had little to offer the Ninth U.S. Cavalry who arrived in 1867 to reoccupy the post. In two short years, however, permanent quarters, barracks, a guardhouse, and storehouses were raised and by the end of the 1880s Fort Davis harbored more than 100 structures and quartered more than 400 soldiers, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers. Today, the Fort and surrounding grounds comprise the Fort Davis National Historic Site, considered one of the country’s best surviving examples of a frontier military post in the Southwest. Twenty-four roofed buildings remain, along with over 100 ruins and foundations. Five of the historic buildings have been restored to their 1880s condition. Self-guided tours, hiking, and special events highlight the Fort’s year-round interpretive program.
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Age 16 and older: $7, 15 and younger: Free