Fort Richardson, established in 1868 as the northernmost army outpost in Texas, anchored the defensive line of fortifications built across the Texas frontier. During its 10-year history, the Fort, located just outside Jacksboro, served as home to soldiers who maintained the post, helped local law officers to keep the peace, pursued criminals and deserters, escorted wagon trains, oversaw elections, protected cattle herds, and patrolled for possibly-hostile Native Americans. The Fort also provided the major staging base for the final defensive effort against the Comanche and the Kiowas in the early 1870s. The military’s success in this operation ended Anglo/Native American confrontation in the region permanently and, as a consequence, the military abandoned the post in 1878. Almost one hundred years later Fort Richardson received National Historic Landmark status. Seven of the original 55 structures have been restored, including the imposing post hospital, a handsome construction featuring 18-inch thick sandstone walls and a wood frame veranda completely encircling the first floor. The hospital contains a kitchen, dining rooms, washrooms, a dispensary, surgeon’s office, and two large wards for patients. Although designed to patch up soldiers wounded in battle, records show that hospital staff treated more illnesses and saw more deaths caused by bad water, spoiled food, alcoholism, and venereal diseases than battle wounds. Today, visitors can enjoy a tour of the hospital and grounds among the restored structures, including the somewhat macabre pairing of the hospital with its only out-building — the morgue, complete with wooden coffin.
Fort Richardson was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1963.
Fort Richardson State Park, Historic Site, and Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway
Adults: $3, Children (Ages 12 and younger): Free
Open 7 days a week year-round.
There is no gate.