Fort McKavett State Historic Site, Fort McKavett Texas

Fort McKavett was a United States Army Garrison established in 1852 as part of a chain of military posts designed to help protect travelers and the mail on the upper San Antonio El Paso Road.  It is one of the nation’s best preserved frontier forts.  Fort McKavett served as an army supply base for other forts in West Texas.  Supplies coming from San Antonio, 160 miles distant, took seven days of hard travel.  Other duties of the 350-500 soldiers stationed here were scouting expeditions to control Indian movements, protection of settlers and exploratory parties to gain knowledge of the area.  The fort was occupied from 1852 through June of 1883 with the exception of the civil war years after which it was finally re-occupied on April 1st, 1868.  At that time most of the buildings were in ruins from the 9 year period of neglect and initial faulty construction.  The soldiers immediately began re-building the fort.  Work details also included caring for the livestock, loading and unloading supply wagons as well as daily drills, area patrols and escort duties.  A large 31-acre garden was planted and tended to and water hauled from the creek daily.  Occasional pursuit of Indian raiding parties took place but in general combat was only a small part of duty on the frontier.  The soldiers of Fort McKavett did however participate in two major Indian Campaigns.  General Ranald S. MacKenzie’s and Lt. Col. William “Pecos Bill” Shafter’s raids into Mexico, also the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon led by MacKenzie during the Red River War in 1874.  Portions of all four African American Army regiments, known as the Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at Fort McKavett at various times.  Today, several of the original buildings, restored and furnished to the period are open for your viewing.  You should allow one to two hours for your self guided tour of the fort.  You may request a personal tour and if staffing is available various buildings may be opened and viewed.  An employee or volunteer will be able to answer your questions.  The 79.5 acre historic site is open from 8AM-5PM daily.  Admission is $3 per person.  Texas State Parks Passes are not honored here since this is a State Historic Site.  You may bring your leashed pet on the grounds but not in the buildings.  A short nature trail will lead you down to the spring-fed creek, part of the headwaters of the San Saba River and the rock quarry and lime kiln.  Here soldiers made lime for construction of the stone buildings.   Fort McKavett State Historic Site is located in the town of Fort McKavett, Texas on the western edge of Texas Hill Country.  It is 23 miles from Menard, Texas and very close to the geographical center of the state of Texas. 325-396-2358


Fort McKavett State Historic Site, frontier fort Texas, Indian wars fort Texas, 1800 army fort, 19th century United States Army Garrison, Colonel Ranald S MacKenzie

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1 Response to Fort McKavett State Historic Site, Fort McKavett Texas

  1. Nice write up. Fort Davis is another great historic site on the old San Antonio El Paso Road. I have never been to Fort McKavett but i would like to after reading this.

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