Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fort Stockton, Tx

I bet your asking yourself why Fort Stockton of all places. Well it's halfway between San Antonio and Las Cruces NM and it happens to be central to the things we want to explore.

Fort Stockton originally named Camp Stockton until 1860 had the third largest source of water (Comanche Springs) in Texas. Therefore, it became a favorite stopping place for cattle drives, infantry men, wagon trains and now us. With the discovery of oil and natural gas, today Fort Stockton is seeing an economic boom.
Sunrise over Fort Stockton
On the east end of the city welcoming us to Fort Stockton is a large silhouette "March to Fort Stockton". It depicts the 9th U.S. Cavalry, later known as "Buffalo Soldiers" riding towards Comanche Springs.
"Buffalo Soldiers"
Located in the center of town near the visitors center is Paisano Pete. Erected in 1980 "Pete" stands 11 feet tall and spans 22 feet long.
Paisano Pete the Roadrunner
Our visit to downtown Fort Stockton started at the visitors center where we toured around the grounds understanding some of the history in the area.
Visitors center
Surrounding the visitor center are terraced gardens, sculptures, and a water feature which all depict much of Fort Stockton's history. The water falls represents the importance of Comanche Springs while the silhouettes depict the Comanche People and Buffalo Soldier.
An old prank someone put soap in the water
Shows the importance of oil to the area
There are a number of key stops while taking the Historic Drive around Fort Stockton.
The start of Historic Fort Stockton
As we drove under the arch we stopped at what was the First National Bank. Built in 1913 this building now serves as home for the Fort Stockton Police Department.
First National Bank circa 1913
Moving down the road we came to the Annie Riggs Museum. Who is Annie Riggs well she was a woman before her time. When the world was dominated by men in 1904 Annie bought the Koehler Hotel property for $4,500. She renamed it the Riggs Hotel. Wood stoves in every room kept patrons warm at night while the adobe walls boasted the coolness in the summer. Lots of history in this place.
Riggs Hotel
Desk used by Annie Riggs
Very old wheelchair
Different types of Barbed Wire
Across the road from the Riggs Hotel is the  Pecos County Courthouse.
Circa 1913
The Pecos County Jail was built in 1883 and enlarged in 1913. It now houses a museum depicting a holding cell, local sheriffs, and law enforcement. Unfortunately it was closed so we couldn't investigate.
Pecos County Jail now a museum
Driving around Fort Stockton is not always about sunny skies and dry climate. The flood markers throughout the city tells a different tale. After living in El Paso I know what they mean when they say flash floods and torrent rains. Check out this flood marker. If you think they are kidding, think again.
Looks can be deceiving
Yes, there is a fort in Fort Stockton. In 1867 Fort Stockton was established at it's present location. The fort consisted of 35 buildings of which only 4 remain today.
The Guard House

Solitary Confinement

Old West wagon used in 2 John Wayne movies
The last stop along our historic tour of Fort Stockton was the Hovey School and St Stephens Episcopal Church. The school was built in 1917 at a railroad stop in Hovey. It served as a one teacher, seven grade schoolhouse. It was moved to this location in 1987.
Hovey school
The St. Stephens Episcopal Church was constructed in Pecos in 1896 and moved to Fort Stockton in 1958. It is one of the oldest protestant churches west of the Pecos.
St. Stephens Episcopal Church
To the west of the city is another silhouette representing a small hunting party of Comanche Indians. They are pausing to search for the few remaining buffalo.
"Look to the East"

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