Author Topic: A historic Hill Country fort is well worth a visit  (Read 163 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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A historic Hill Country fort is well worth a visit
« on: August 10, 2019, 10:17:24 PM »
Houston Chronicle by  Joe Holley Aug. 8, 2019

FORT MCKAVETT — Earlier this week, I found myself bouncing around in a golf cart on the manicured grounds of this frontier fort northwest of Junction, pausing at restored barracks of whitewashed stone, handsome officers’ quarters and a small, well-designed museum in what used to be the fort hospital. My guide and driver was the site’s educator/curator, Kevin Malcolm, a young man who takes obvious pride in the history he oversees. He calls Fort McKavett “the hidden gem among Texas forts.”

He’s right on both counts: The state historic site is a gem and it’s hidden. When I stepped out of the car early Wednesday morning, I heard — nothing. No traffic noise, no people sounds, not even bird sounds in the stands of live oak, mesquite and cedar just beyond the grounds.

Malcolm tells me that McKavett, arguably the best-preserved frontier fort in the state, gets between 15 and 40 visitors — a week. He and I wandered around for a couple of hours and nobody showed up. It was a weekday and hot, but I got the impression visitors are a rarity most days. That’s partly because the fort is a 40-mile detour off the nearest interstate — most travelers on Interstate-10 just want to keep on truckin’ — and also because, unlike Fort Griffin and other state historic sites, McKavett doesn’t offer camping facilities.

Malcolm, a 29-year-old Aggie grad, is obsessed with all things military and with history, particularly Texas military history. With journals, papers and documents from the fort’s archive at his disposal and with 21 venerable limestone structures to look after, he’s in the right place, to be sure.

In the 1840s, German immigrants to this rugged western edge of the Hill Country were promised paradise among the grass-covered hills and clear, spring-fed streams. What they might not have understood is that paradise was perched on the precarious far edge of the frontier. Their homes, farms and small hamlets, if they managed to survive, would be a buffer zone between civilization back east and Comanches just over the next hill. Fort McKavett was a bead, so to speak, along a string of frontier forts the U.S. Army established to protect both immigrant settlements and travelers along the “upper road” from San Antonio to El Paso.

He who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me.

Offline Sanguine

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Re: A historic Hill Country fort is well worth a visit
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 11:36:13 PM »
I love that area.  I'll have to visit Ft. McKavett.
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