Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 3 – Fort Stockton, TX – Gulf Coast / Rio Grande Trip

Day's Travel mileage 120 total to date 582 miles

We are now back to our planned stops. It was a short travel day, just 120 miles and we are spending the night in beautiful downtown Ft. Stockton, TX at the Parkview RV Park with full hookups for $10.

It seems that Texas cannot be out done by New Mexico. Ft. Stockton boasts the world’s largest Road Runner.

roadrunner Ft. Stockton Road Runner

Road Runner
New Mexico Road Runner

Raija says that the New Mexico Road Runner is larger. I think that she is right but I will let you be the judge.

Fort Stockton, the county seat of Pecos County, is on Interstate Highway 10, and the Santa Fe Railroad, 329 miles northwest of San Antonio and 240 miles east of El Paso. It grew up around Comanche Springs, at one time the third largest source of spring water in Texas, and near the military fort founded in 1859 and named for Robert Field Stockton. Comanche Springs was a favorite rest stop on the Comanche Trail to Chihuahua, the Old San Antonio Road, The Butterfield Overland Mail Route, and the San Antonio-Chihuahua freight-wagon road. The Confederates took possession of the fort at the outbreak of the Civil War but abandoned it the next year. In 1867 the army rebuilt the fort on a larger and more permanent basis to protect travelers and settlers from Indians. Until abandoned in 1886, the fort provided employment for freighters and laborers and a market for farmers, stockmen, and merchants.

Fort Stockton was garrisoned by companies of the 9th Cavalry, known as "Buffalo Soldiers." In July 1867, Fort Stockton was re-established by four Companies of the 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment on 960 acres (3.9 km²) leased from civilian landowners, one-half mile northeast of the first post. Companies A, B, E, and K of the 9th Cavalry began construction under the command of Colonel Edward Hatch. The 9th was one of the new regiments organized after the Civil War staffed with Black enlisted men. When the 9th Cavalry was moved to New Mexico in 1875, Colonel Benjamin Grierson's 10th Cavalry took over the duties of protecting the westward migration and trade routes.

About 87 percent of all soldiers garrisoned at Fort Stockton from 1867 until 1886 were Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and the 41st, 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments. Native Americans called the black cavalry troops "buffalo soldiers" because of their dark curly hair, which resembled a buffalo's coat.Surmounting obstacles of harsh living conditions, low pay, and racial prejudice, they gained a reputation for tenacity and bravery. Stationed continuously on the frontier during the years of Indian hostility.

Today, the original fort's guardhouse remains, and some of the officers' quarters have become private dwellings. Several other buildings of the fort have been refurnished to the 1880s. The refurbished fort site includes a row of officers' quarters, enlisted men's barracks, and the parade grounds. A museum and visitor's center can be found at the site.

Fort Stockton is currently in a state of economic decline as oilfield production has decreased.

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