Ft Davis - a stop for me and a historic stop along the old Overland Trail
The Overland Trail was a major route for early pioneers traveling between San Antonio and El Paso. Ft. Davis was commissioned to protect travelers from Indian Raiders and from general misfortunes that occurred along the trail - many more soldiers and travelers died from disease and accidents than from conflict with the Native Americans who also traveled the area.
|Only the foundations remain of many of the over 100 buildings the fort contained at it's height.|
Fort Davis was first built in the late 1850's; it was abandoned during the Civil War and then rebuilt afterwards where it remained open until the late 1880's. I was confused by foundations from the 2 sets of ruins - they ran at an angle to each other. Then I read that the first buildings had been oriented to true North, while the second build was oriented to magnetic North. Such a military thing - to orient the entire fort and all it's buildings to such a precise plan. Their only concession to the land was placing the fort at the base of the mountains in a box canyon for some protection from the winds.
|Sign explaining the odd relationship of the old building foundations to surviving buildings from the second build.|
Among it's contingent of soldiers was cavalry Troop H - Buffalo Soldiers.
|One of the restored Enlisted Men's Barracks|
The hospital facility was considered the best west of San Antonio.
|The base Chapel - church, school, and social center of the community|
The history surrounding the Overland Trail got me thinking about Texas roads
From Lady Bird Johnson's campaign to plant bluebells along many of the highways, to the famous 'Don't Mess with Texas' campaign to discourage litter, Texas highways are something else.
I remember as a kid, my Dad would have us close our eyes as we got close to the Texas border - he wanted to see if we could tell when we crossed into Texas. Invariably, we could - the difference in the quality of the road surfaces was that obvious.
Texas has really, really, really a lot of long, straight roads with not much in between towns. However, there are an impressive number of 'picnic areas'. Picnic areas vary from full rest-areas (with vending machines and bathrooms), to simple pull-offs big enough for a semi and a few cars. They all have trash bins and most have shaded picnic benches and grills. I find it rather extraordinary!