Good news for all who love old west history, remarkable things are happening at a frontier fort in Texas that was long in private hands but is now increasingly available to the public. In this week's Lone Star Adventure, FOX 4's Richard Ray takes us south of Abilene near Bronte, Texas to Fort Chadbourne.
Canons are booming again at what may be the most pristine frontier fort in America. Fort Chadbourne was established in 1852, almost a decade before the Civil War, as one of a line of forts built to protect settlers from Comanches.
Some 6,000 soldiers served there, fighting Indians and winning the West. Among them was Robert E. Lee, the man who would later lead the Confederate armies. James Longstreet, another famous Civil War general, was post commander for a time. Among the restored buildings is one originally owned by the Butterfield Overland Mail company.
Garland Richard's great-great-grandfather purchased the land in 1874 and for generations the family simply ranched around the old fort. It was not opened to the public until 1985. The fort was established as a non-profit foundation in 1999.
The Fort Chadbourne Days event is hard to match anywhere for hands-on living history. The major re-enactment occurs every year in the first weekend in May but Fort Chadbourne is open to visitors year around. A year from now they hope to have a visitor's center and museum with incredible artifacts.
Fort Chadbourne has a unique place in Texas history. It's one of only a few forts in private hands, preserved in large part because a town never grew up around it.
For more information about Fort Chadbourne please visit their website.
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