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Fort Richardson State Park

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Fort Richardson State Park
« on: April 09, 2007, 05:50:26 PM »

I've never stopped there.  Always too busy coming or going...  

Fort Richardson State Park
Special celebration scheduled for fort's 140th anniversary.

By Marian Edwards

When the morning mists hang close to the parade ground at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site, visitors need only close their eyes and imagine the sounds of creaking leather and the restless, muffled stamp of a hundred hooves waiting in cavalry formation. Perhaps the imagination can conjure up the smell of the stables mingled with the aroma of the bakery. As the sun burns through the mist, it reveals a vast, green parade ground, surrounded with historic buildings, but alas, no soldiers or mounts. Still, a stroll across the level and well manicured parade ground is a great walk at any time of day; pick up the interpretive guide and walking tour brochures at the park headquarters; they bring the old fort to life.

Established in the fall of 1867 near Jacksboro, Fort Richardson was at the north end of a long line of forts that ran from the Rio Grande River to the Red River. Established to subdue the native Comanche, Kiowa, Kickapoo, Tonkawa and Apache Indians along the frontier, the soldiers of Fort Richardson guarded the area and patrolled for Indian raiding parties. A glimpse into their lives on the wild Texas frontier of the 1870s is available for modern-day visitors when visiting the seven original historic buildings and the two replica fort buildings on the grounds. Guided tours are available and the park offers living history presentations and military re-enactments throughout the year.

Fort Richardson will celebrate its 140th anniversary this month. Activities include cavalry, artillery and infantry drills, soap-making, bread-baking, 1860s baseball, a frontier classroom, laundress presentation, chuck wagon cooking and children’s games of the period.

Hikers will make good use of the adjoining Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway, a 10-foot wide multi-use trail with loops that vary in length from one mile to an 18-mile round trip and can be enjoyed on horseback, bicycle or on foot. The trail meanders from Fort Richardson around the Lost Creek Reservoir (home to crappie, bass and catfish, for you anglers) and back. Plenty of pecan and oak trees offer shade along the trail, but pack in your water bottle; there is no potable water along the trailway. You can refill your bottle at the trailhead, where you will also find restrooms, picnic facilities and a fishing pier. The trailway is popular with equestrian groups, who enjoy the convenience of parking their horse trailers in a field close to the trailhead.

Visitors can choose tent or RV camping. The campsites are spacious with lots of buffers and wide open spaces, providing more seclusion when camping. The Quarry Lake near the entrance to the park provides bank fishing and is stocked periodically throughout the year with catfish, bass and trout. The park is popular for day use activities such as picnicking and has a volleyball court, horseshoe pits and a lighted group picnic pavilion. When a hot afternoon calls for some cooling splash-time, drive or walk to the swimming beach on nearby Lost Creek Reservoir, but keep in mind there is no lifeguard on duty.

Exploring historic Fort Richardson is a great way to absorb the history of the Western frontier. The hardships and dangers that challenged the soldiers and their families are keenly imagined when you walk where they once lived and worked, protecting settlers and townsfolk.


Offline Vince T

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Fort Richardson State Park
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2007, 06:40:07 PM »
It's a great place to stop...I recommend a late October day...mid afternoon.

There are a lot of neat old forts to stumble upon.  Many made up a line of forts that were built in a jagged line (think dot to dots) along the Texas Frontier...Ft. Leaton, Ft. Concho...Fort Clark...but one of the most random and seldom (ever?!) is Ft. Lincoln near D'Hanis.  It is surrounded by private land, but I believe you can access it.  I haven't been there in 20 years...nothing there but a plaque and some random stones, but the place talks to you.  


P.S.  I have just looked into this a little bit.  I see in 1995 they added a new roadside plaque, but the real location of the fort is on the west side of the Seco...the road and plaque are on the east.

If you are interested, look at this link at the bottom and then the info below that, from the TX Handbook-

Info below:

FORT LINCOLN. Fort Lincoln, on the west bank of Seco Creek a mile north of D'Hanis in west central Medina County, was named for Capt. George Lincoln, an officer of Company E, Eighth Infantry, who lost his life in the Mexican Warqv battle of Buena Vista. The fort was one of eight that formed the first line of permanent federal frontier defense in Texas from Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande to Coffee's Bend on the Red River. In 1848, at the conclusion of the Mexican War, a Texas Ranger company commanded by Charles S. DeMontelqv established a camp on Seco Creek a mile north of D'Hanis. On July 7, 1849, Fort Lincoln was established at the site used the year before by DeMontel. The 1,476-acre plot had been patented to the heirs of Milton Anderson on August 27, 1846.

The fort was built on the west bank of Seco Creek on high, open ground that provided a commanding view of the surroundings. Companies E and G of the Eighth United States Infantry,qv commanded by Maj. James Longstreet, were stationed at Fort Lincoln to repel and track down Indian raiders in protection of newly arrived European and American settlers and the commercial and military property transported on the Woll Road, an important trade route from San Antonio to Fort Duncan on the Rio Grande and points west. Longstreet's second in command, Lt. Richard Irving Dodge, was the man for whom Dodge City, Kansas, was named.

Water for the post was hauled from Seco Creek, at that time no more than a succession of standing pools. The builders of the fort made use of the locally abundant gray limestone in construction. In 1851 the installation had buildings for two companies, a commissary store, a storehouse for company property, a storehouse for the quartermaster's depot, and a hospital. The temporary buildings were of logs or poles, with roofs of shingles, thatch, or tarpaulins. Though the number of officers and men stationed at the fort was usually between 90 and 120, it reached 141 at one time. Longstreet was succeeded by Maj. Pitcairn Morrison, who was succeeded by Bvt. Capt. William Steelqv and Capt. Washington G. Newton.

Fort Lincoln was abandoned on July 20, 1852, after the frontier line had advanced westward. The buildings remained intact for some time, and the Texas Rangersqv made headquarters at the site. The barracks were torn down and transformed into residences east of Seco Creek at D'Hanis after being purchased by Irishman Richard Reily, who used the hospital building to raise his family. None of the buildings remains. On May 26, 1936, a dedication ceremony was held for the unveiling of a marker placed by the Texas Centennialqv Commission at the site.



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