Fort Lancaster

  • Fort Lancaster, U.S. 290, 36 miles west of Ozona, established in 1855 to protect travelers on the Old Government Road.

    • Fort Lancaster is located in the Pecos River Valley in Crockett County. It stands in ruins on the east side of Live Oak Creek approximately one-half mile north of the junction of Live Oak Creek with the Pecos River -- the country is predominated by hills, cliffs and ravines.

      Physical remains of the fort today consist of the ruins of 29 buildings, a lime kiln, a cemetery and several trash dumps. Of these standing remains all are stone and/or adobe. In many cases only the foundations show, although a chimney and several walls (as high as six to ten feet) still remain. Vegetation at the fort site is made up of creosote, mesquite, yucca and cactus; live oak, hackberry and cottonwood trees grow along the stream banks.

      The site, now state property, is currently being developed; a museum has recently been built and will open soon.

      Fort Lancaster, one in a series of forts erected along the western Texas frontier as the settlement line expanded, had as its primary function the protection of settlers and travelers going between Texas and California. Its location in the Pecos River Valley was strategically placed at the Pecos crossing on the old military road between San Antonio and El Paso -- the Lower Road used by the stage.

      When it was initially constructed and occupied in August, 1855, the first buildings were crude, makeshift portable shelters. These less substantial buildings were soon to give way to more substantial ones though, so that by 1860, the peak of the fort's existence, most of the buildings were made of stone and/or adobe. Ruins of 29 buildings can be identified at the fort today; the most prominent being a chimney of a soldiers barrack.

      Until 1861 Lancaster was a Federal post, then it was abandoned with the secession of Texas from the Union at the onset of the Civil War. For a brief time (December, 1861 through April, 1862) it served as a Confederate garrison, but was soon abandoned for the duration of the war.

      In 1871, during the Kiowa-Comanche uprising, the fort was reactivated a sub-post by the federal government; shortly thereafter, in 1873 or 1874 after the Indian trouble had subsided, the fort was completely abandoned.

      Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1966.




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