I didn’t want to leave the Marfa area without visiting Fort Davis, the best-preserved frontier cavalry post in America.  It was closed on Christmas Day so Jae and I drove up to it the next day on our way out of Marfa.


The post is really something.  It was established in the 1850s, abandoned during the Civil War, reestablished afterwards.  It was shut down finally in the 1890s but has survived since then virtually intact.  It has been lovingly restored and many of its buildings are furnished with fascinating period artifacts.


At most surviving frontier posts, only a few original buildings have been left standing, but Fort Davis presents an image of the whole complex, with post hospital, a complete line of houses on officer’s row, and two barracks buildings for enlisted men, among other structures.


Buffalo Soldiers, black cavalry troopers, comprised the ranks of enlisted men for most of the post’s history, which makes it a special place indeed.  The ghosts of those soldiers still ride in formation over the parade ground at the center of Fort Davis, still move out on patrols into the forbidding landscape of southwest Texas, still testify to the rough glory won by men doing hard work in hard places.

Click on the image to enlarge.

4 thoughts on “FORT DAVIS

  1. Lloyd, Ft. Davis is my hometown; graduated from FDHS in 1986. It was a truly special place to grow up. Thanks for posting! Malone Gilliam

    • Wow, Malone — small world. It is a very cool place, but the wind was so intense when we visited the post that we could hardly hold our cameras steady for photographs. I’m wearing an engineer’s cap in the photo above because my straw Resistol wouldn’t stay on my head. Is that normal there?

  2. First engineer’s cap I’ve ever seen in FD. And yes, the wind can howl through the mountains there. Our house was at the base of Barry Scobee mountain north of the split in the highway which leads to Balmorhea and McDonald Observatory. I worked at the observatory as a summer job through high school.
    Love my vicarious travels through you!


    • We drove past that observatory on our way back up to the I-10 — it certainly looked surreal sitting out there in the middle of nowhere!

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