Fort Davis was established before the Civil War to protect settlers, stage coach routes and trains from (primarily Apache) Indian raiders. The fort was closed before the beginning of the twentieth century. We originally planned to visit the fort on Thursday (Adjusting to Altitude and Making Plans) but we went to the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute (CDRI) instead. We went to see Fort Davis National Historic Site on Monday.
At the visitor center, I paid our day-use fee. I always like to look at gift shops.
Since we last toured the Fort Davis National Historic Site in 2006, the hospital has been added to the buildings that can be toured. Because we hadn’t seen the hospital before, we started there first.
We decided to start on the Hospital’s left side. Linda refused to go inside the building when she say the bat warning.
In the open air hallway through the middle of the first building, the air was foul with the stench of bat guano. I was not deterred.
The chief surgeon’s office was down the hallway to the right. I’m quite sure I would have felt much more positively about a surgeon with a real human skeleton in his office. A real confidence builder. Nice to meet former patients. Such remarkably clean and sterile tools, too.
At the Dutch Oven Demonstration demonstration Saturday night in the Davis Mountains State Park amphitheater, I asked the Historic Site Ranger how many people they had on staff. He told me around 20 (I don’t recall the exact number) of which some were skilled at a trade or craft needed to maintain and restore the historic site. I saw evidence of this craftsmanship at the site in a number of places including the Hospital.
Inside, the dispensary was being restored. Outside, work was being done on the roof. Definitely a labor of love.
Thankfully, I moved out of the Hospital building section that housed bats and into fresh air. Note the lack of doors to keep the bats out of the attic.
The next building housed the hospital ward, where patients, like the one below, recovered from their illnesses.
I asked Linda to take a picture of me outside the hospital ward.
Linda had enough of walking in the sun. She decided to go back to the visitor center and sit on the porch there. I continued on to look at the officer’s housing.
Originally built for a Captain, the above house was furnished for one single and one married Lieutenant.
The furnishings are spartan but nice.
Each of the officer’s houses are perfectly lined up as shown in the photo below.
The Commanding Officer’s house is the middle house in the row of houses. It is also the nicest and biggest house.
One challenge in photographing the officer’s quarters is that the interiors are not accessible. I was looking into the rooms through outside windows. At times, you an see reflections in the glass that cover up room contents.
The other end of the room above is below. Nice piano.
After seeing the Commanding Officer’s housing, I crossed the vast parade ground back to the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is in the same building as the enlisted men’s barracks.
The enlisted men were typically called Buffalo Soldiers, a name the Indians gave to the soldiers they thought had hair like buffalo – African American Soldiers. Here is a Buffalo Soldier in uniform dressed for the field.
After looking at the barracks, I went back to the Vistor Center to look at the displays there. One thing that I learned was that Fort Davis was named after Jefferson Davis just before the Civil War. Jefferson Davis was the head of the Confederacy. Who knew?
Hope to see you on the road ahead!