From western forts to Victorian mansions and pivotal battlegrounds, the Texas Historical Commission's 20 state historic sites exemplify a breadth of Texas history. Come explore the real stories at the real places.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Day in Texas History

On this day 154 years ago, Camp Lancaster was established on Live Oak Creek near its junction with the Pecos River. One year later in 1856, the post was officially named Fort Lancaster. One of the most isolated posts in Texas, soldiers stationed here protected the lower San Antonio–El Paso Road, escorting mail and freight trains, patrolling the road and pursuing Mescalero Apaches and Comanches when necessary.

During this time, some of the more unusual visitors to Fort Lancaster were camels. In 1856 and 1859, two different camel expeditions passed through during a U.S. Army experiment in the use of camels for military transportation in the Southwest. The camels were successful in the arid western regions, able to carry extremely heavy loads, travel long distances without stopping for water and survive on desert vegetation. These camel expeditions are still celebrated today with reenactment events at the fort. For more information on the next event occurring October 10–17, visit the Friends of Fort Lancaster.

Located between Sheffield and Ozona in Crockett County, Fort Lancaster State Historic Site continues to offer a peaceful stop for travelers on Interstate 10. Stop by the next time you're in West Texas, and transport back to the 1850s to learn more about this important story in Texas' history.

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