Can you imagine what life was like for a soldier in the 1800s whose job it was to protect our state from Indians? If you need some help with that, you need to visit the Fort Davis National Historic Site in Jeff Davis county. This restored fort is considered by many to be one of the best examples of a frontier military post in the mid-1800s in the Southwest. U.S. In fact, it is so authentic that military hobbyists and historians from all over the country visit the Davis Mountains specifically to see the Fort.
Fort Davis played a key role in the history of the region. During the mid 19th century, troops stationed here protected the West Texas frontier from Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches. Soldiers also provided protection for wagon trains and mail coaches traveling on the San Antonio-El Paso Road. But by 1891 the Indian Wars in West Texas had ended, and Fort Davis was ordered abandoned by the army. Seventy years later, in 1961, the fort was authorized as a national historic site, a unit of the National Park Service.
The fort is well maintained with partially and fully restored buildings, wonderful exhibitions, an excellent book shop and a museum. I’d recommend you begin your journey at the visitors’ center where you should definitely take in the 15 minute video explaining the history of the fort. This way you’ll be able to get the most out of your visit, since the tours are self-guided. If you have any questions, there are knowledgeable rangers throughout the site, ready to lend a helping hand.
I found this place to be a truly immersive experience: I interacted with people dressed in period clothing, heard the bugle's call-to-arms, flinched at the loud cracking of the artillery demonstrations and smelled the gunpowder. All my senses had me convinced I was living in 1854. I had an absolutely wonderful time here. And at only $3 admission per person, I'd say Fort Davis is a must-see destination.
For more information about the Fort Davis area, visit TourTexas.com.