The Army said I needed to be at a course on research in San Antonio for two weeks. So what I hear out of that statement is that I have the perfect opportunity to drive and sneak out an extra overnight trip. As it turns out there really isn't much between El Paso and San Antonio except Fort Stockton. So here goes the photo tour:
Fort Stockton marker
This stone reads that Fort Stockton was established on the Comanche trail in March 1859 as a protection of the San Antonio to San Diego mail route. Our guidebook states it was first named Camp Stockton but the army withdrew from Texas during the Civil War and abandoned the fort in 1861. Confederate troops briefly occupied the site until they withdrew in 1862. In July 1867, Fort Stockton was re-established by four companies of the 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. The 9th was one of the new regiments organized after the Civil War staffed with African-American enlisted men known as Buffalo Soldiers.
Fort Stockton has a driving tour composed of 17 well marked historic sites. Before tackling that though we had to build up our strength with some chow at Pepito's Café.
Curt offering Emma to Pete
Paisano Pete is one of the first exhibits at the start of historic Fort Stockton. He is the unofficial mascot erected in 1980 and declared the largest roadrunner in the world at 11 feet tall and 22 feet long. He is said to be one of the most photographed "birds" in the world.
The main street is pretty abandoned for a Saturday night but atleast it made it easy to pull over to read all the signs. One store was closed but still had a bunch of merchandise lining the street to include this donkey pot.
Annie Riggs Memorial Museum
We pass the First National bank that now houses the police, The Grey Mule Saloon that does wine tastings and the Annie Riggs Museum. The museum was built in 1899 and is an example of Territorial architecture.
Next we pass the courthouse, St. Joseph Catholic Church and Zero Store Park. There is a rock that marks the point which all directions were measured from in the days of the Fort. The historic old jail is on the corner and now also a museum.
St Stephens Episcopal Church
St Stephens Episcopal Church entrance
There are some remains of the oldest house, an old school and Army telegraph building, a few stores and Comanche springs. The springs used to be a stop for weary travelers but looks almost dried up today. Next is I think the most picturesque part of the tour in the St. Stephens Episcopal Church.
The Old Fort
Historic Fort Stockton still has buildings that were for guards, enlisted soldiers, officers and stables. Finally you pass the cemetery that was in use from 1859 to 1912. Grave markers were testament to the hard and often violent life on the early frontier with people not often living past forty.