Fort Concho Historical Trail

Brought to you by
Concho Valley Council
Boy Scouts of America
Updated August 14, 2006

Fort Concho was established on December 4, 1867, after the army had to abandon Fort Chadbourne (located north of what is now Bronte, Texas) for lack of good water.  The new fort was located at the junction of the North and South Concho Rivers.  The fort consisted of some forty buildings and was constructed of native limestone.  Fort Concho was closed in June 1889 after having served this area for some twenty-two years.  Today, the fort is a National Historical Landmark.

The Fort Concho Historical Trail takes you not only through this Fort, but also along some of the streets of the settlement of Santa Angela, now San Angelo that was developed to serve the needs of the men who were stationed at the Fort.

In 1870, a trader and promoter named Bart DeWitt bought 320 acres of land for $1.00 an acre, marked off town lots and offered them for sale.  The town of Santa Angela grew from just a few people to the thriving city it is today.  On the trail you will take downtown, you will see some of the old buildings of this early community as well as some of the other historical areas along the Concho River.  The Concho River was named from the mussel shells found in the river.

THOSE ELIGIBLE TO HIKE THE TRAIL

All members of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts USA and all adults, parents and Scouters who go with them, are eligible to hike the trail and earn the Fort Concho Historical Trail Patch if they follow the trail requirements as listed. 

TRAIL REQUIREMENTS

1. The trail consists of a hike of two + miles on the course described herein.  Use this booklet as a guide

2.  Those taking the trail are reminded that they are representatives of the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts USA.  Their personal appearance should always be neat; they should wear their uniforms correctly, with proper insignia.  They should be extremely courteous, and render service where needed.

3.  We recommend that you hike the trail by Units or Girl Scout Troops or Patrols.  Each group must have at least two competent adult leaders (one of whom must be over twenty-one) in the group.

4.  All groups outside the San Angelo area must have an official local tour permit obtained from your Council Service
Center.  Groups traveling under 500 miles to participate in the hike must have a Local Tour Permit; those traveling over 500 miles must have a National Tour Permit.  All Girl Scouts must have a parent permission slip signed prior to the hike and Troop travel permission if from out of town.

5.  The Fort Concho Historical Trail begins at the City Park on the corner of Magdalen Street and Concho Street. There is free parking around the park and picnic tables are available for your convenience.

6.  The Trail ends at Fort Concho.  You may, if you wish, purchase a ticket and tour the Fort. (Or use this guide to walk around) Tickets are $3.00 for adults; military and Senior citizen $2.00 and $1.50 for students.  The museum is open from 10:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 PM until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.  The museum is closed on Mondays. Fort Concho has a separate patch for sale in their GIFT shop

7.  Upon completion of the Trail and the hike notes, you may purchase your Fort Concho Historical Trail Patches at the Boy Scout Council Office, 104 West River Drive, from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday or by mail at P.O. Box 1584, San Angelo, TX 76902-1584. Each historical patch costs $4.00

The Fort Concho Historical Trail begins at City Park, located at the corner of 

Magdalen Street and Concho Avenue.

In the Northwest part of the park is a building that was originally the Central Fire Station, built in 1928.  The park you are in formed the eastern boundary of Bart DeWitt's original purchase.   It was also where the first dairy was located and where cattle were slaughtered for Fort Concho.

Bart DeWitt purchased this section of town, some 320 acres of land, for one dollar an acre with a loan from San Antonio investor Marcus Koenigheim.  The land was marked off into town lots in 1870 and sold to the general public. The town was named either Saint Angela or Santa Angela in honor of DeWitt’s deceased wife.  The Post Office later changed the name to San Angelo.  DeWitt named Magdalen Street after his wife's sister, Mother Magdalen of the Ursuline Academy in San Antonio.  Of course, Concho Street, now called Concho Avenue, was named for the river.

Cross the street and walk on the North side of Concho Avenue going west. 

Along this block, Mrs. Annie Tankersley, the first white female pioneer in the Concho Valley, operated the Tankersley Hotel.  A strong-minded woman, she faced down an angry mob of soldiers during the Soldiers Riots of 1881.  Her first hotel, a wooden structure, burned and she replaced it with a fireproof adobe structure, but it was destroyed in the flood of 1882.

Look across the street to your left, you will see a long building with large arched windows.

This building was built in 1928 for the Terraplane and Packard Automobile Dealership.  International Harvester Co. was located here from 1933 until it was heavily damaged by fire in 1967.  The cast stone on the front of this building was designed and cast by Mr. Dwight Holmes, a local artist.  The building now houses the operations for   ___________________________________.

Here at the corner of Oakes and Concho was the beginning of the original Santa Angela.

DeWitt named Oakes Street for a Union Colonel, James Oakes, who had once fought an Indian battle in the western reaches of the Concho.

Here at the Northeast corner of the intersection (now a parking lot), William S. Veck made his mark on Santa Angela.

Following the Civil War, Veck had won a job as government wagon master in 1865, which brought him to Ft. Concho in 1868.  He claimed land on North Concho and began to ranch there. He married Katalina Wuertemberg in 1872, and built the first store in Santa Angela the same year.  A saloon and his home were also in this location.  Veck tore down the saloon and built the Veck-Sterrett Bank, designed by Oscar Ruffini, in 1884. 

This was Ruffini's first San Angelo building designed after the construction of the Tom Green County Courthouse that same year.

Look across the street at the southeast corner of this intersection.  The was the location of the first newspaper in San Angelo, THE CONCHO TIMES, was printed. The first issue went on sale April   24, 1880. 

Cross Oakes Street going west.

Look for the Blacksmith mural by artist Crystal Goodman.  Historic Murals of San Angelo, Inc. organized in 2002 and has placed three historically correct murals in the Historic City Center.  One of the murals is the Blacksmith mural. Blacksmithing was an important early day business in San Angelo.  Registered brands of early WestTexas ranches can be seen on the border of the mural.

While standing at the mural, look to your right and you will see the Cactus Hotel.  This is the tallest building in San Angelo.  It was built in 1929 by Conrad Hilton at a cost of $900,000.  The hotel does not host any overnight guests, but many businesses have offices there and parts of the building can be rented for meetings, weddings, proms or receptions.

Go back to the corner of Oakes and Concho and begin walking west. 

At 34 East Concho is the old Buck-Cox Auto Dealership.  The building was built in 1903.

Look across the street at 35 East Concho which is now: _________________________________________________

The original structure on this corner was a saloon.  In 1882 it became The Concho National Bank.  The main part of the Eggemeyer’s building was constructed in 1911 as a Buick dealership. On the West Side, the wall of an existing building was used, which is believed to date about 1880.  In 1927, a Plymouth dealership took over the building until 1935, when Angelo Spring and Axle purchased the property.  They maintained their business there (Angelo Automotive) until 1992.  Bobby and Karen Eggemeyer, owners and proprietors of the building now, had their son design the exterior awning of the building.  It is fashioned after the building awning found in Fredericksburg, TX.  Inside, the building has the original tin ceiling and four fireplace flues.  It was originally heated by potbellied stoves like the one in the Northeast corner of the store. Light is provided to the interior of the building by a huge skylight towards the back of the room.  The Eggemeyers recycled materials from other old San Angelo buildings including lights from Montgomery Ward, the mezzanine from Holcombe-Blanton, and the bricks with the stars imprinted on them from M.L. Leddy's.

Note: This store has many breakable items.  If you go in to look around, please supervise the children closely. The parking lot next to the Sassy Fox business was originally  the location of S.Lapowski and Brothers general     mercantile store.  Sam, Jacob and Nathan Lapowski owned stores in Abilene, Colorado City and San Angelo.

As you continue down the north side of Concho street, you will come to the restored buildings that once housed the San Angelo National Bank, Johnson and Taylor Dry Goods Store and the Schwartz and Raas general merchandising store. Look up at the top of the buildings. The dates at the top of the buildings read ________,  _________, and _______.   Stop and read the historical marker that gives the history of these buildings.

Look across the street at the four buildings that are now Cooper Interiors.

Beginning on the left, the first building was a buggy factory, the second was Santa Angela's first bakery, the third a carriage display shop, and the fourth building housed the carriage factory.   The veneer front of the building was added in the 1930's. The metal ceilings inside are original and the rock and concrete walls between each of the buildings are two feet thick! 

Notice the vacant lot between the Cooper’s and the six story old hotel.  This may have been the location of the Gray Mule Saloon, described by ranchman John A. Loomis as "a vicious place." In his memoirs, he wrote:

    "Due to a scarcity of lumber and carpenters, sheeting partitions were common.  There was such a
     partition between the Gray Mule and a small restaurant.  One evening, when I reached town too late for
     supper at the hotel, I went into this "eatery" next door.  While I was eating I heard a row start in the
     saloon.  As this was the usual thing in the Gray Mule I paid no attention to it until a man suddenly came
     head first through the muslin partition, barely missing my table, and fell on the floor on his back. After he
     was helped to his feet he soon recovered and left, swearing vengeance.  Later I learned that the fellow got
     his vengeance that evening.  He had another fight with the same man.  With a razor folded over his fist he
     struck the man in the neck and almost cut his head off."

At 18 East Concho, you will see _______________housed in a building that was built in 1909.  The rooms upstairs were rented out by the many cowboys who came to town in the late 1800's through the 1940's

In 1890 Mr. B.C. Alexander established “Concho Saddlers” and opened his shop at 8 East Concho in 1902. About 1905, the business moved to another area of town.  The firm changed hands several times over the next 80 years, but finally moved back to this location.  Famous customers included Will Rogers, Jack Dempsey and Pancho Villa. 

On the Northeast corner of Chadbourne and Concho is_______________________________________.

The building was built in the 1880's; this was the Arc Light Saloon until 1918 (prohibition).  Saloonkeeper Tom McClosky kept good order and catered to the more respectable customers.  He was a Canadian ex-heavyweight prizefighter, and a good businessman who won the respect of everyone in San Angelo.  Later, when the Alexander family operated a restaurant here, they had a mural painted on the East wall showing local citizens standing at the bar of the old saloon.  The mural was painted from an old photograph.  The mural is still there.

Across the street on the South east corner of Concho and Chadbourne stands a former hotel. It is a large  ______story brick building. In 1878, Ernest Nimitz established The Nimitz Hotel at this location.  This corner of Concho Avenue has an interesting history.

According to John Loomis, in 1881, "a Negro soldier was killed in Charlie Wilson's saloon by Thomas McCarthy, a rancher from Brady Creek.  This unfortunate incident led to a riot by the Negro troopers at the fort.  They surrounded the Nimitz Hotel, where they thought McCarthy was being held and demanded that he be surrendered to them.  Before the affair had been settled the Nimitz Hotel had been riddled with bullets. A precarious peace finally came with the arrival of Ranger Captain Bryan Marsh and a number of Texas Rangers who warned General B.H. Grierson to keep the troops at the fort.  It was incidents such as this that gave the "village across the river" such a bad reputation."  This became known as the Soldiers Riot of 1881.

In 1893, Nimitz's cook got into an argument and killed his helper in the kitchen.  He tried to cover up his deed by setting fire to the kitchen.  Although the entire hotel burned down, the cook's crime was still revealed.  Nimitz then moved his hotel to another location, and a two-story, 40 room Landon Hotel was built on this site.

On August 10, 1902, the Landon Hotel was also destroyed by fire. There was an explosion in the kitchen, and the night clerk roused Mr. and Mrs. Landon who proceeded to raise an alarm for the two volunteer fire departments.  The entire block was consumed by the fire, which even scorched the brush along the North Concho River.  Mrs. Landon and seven others died in the fire.  A new three-story Landon Hotel was then built of brick; but it, too, was destroyed by fire in 1925.  It was said that the heat from those flames was so intense that even the wooden paving blocks on Chadbourne began to smolder.  A five-story Naylor Hotel was rebuilt in the same location, and it was later renamed the Town House.  The hotel was closed in 1983.

On September 7, 1908, the first trolleys of the San Angelo Power and Traction Company rolled up Chadbourne Street from the Landon Hotel.  The trolley took people to the new subdivision of Lake View, located some three miles North of San Angelo, to try to interest them in buying lots there. The streetcar changed owners several times and was purchased in l909 by Sam Crowther, who renamed it the San Angelo Street Railway Company.  It went out of business in late 1915, but the old rails are still in the street, underneath the pavement. 

CHADBOURNE Street was named in honor of Lieutenant Theodore L. Chadbourne, who was killed on May 9, 1846 at the battle of Resaca de la Palma of the Mexican War.  He was 23.  The leather shoulder strap, the hole beneath the buckle that was made by the fatal bullet, and his sword and scabbard are on exhibit at the Ft. Concho Museum.

Cross Chadbourne and continue walking west on the north side of Concho.

On the Northwest corner of Chadbourne and Concho (now a parking lot) once stood a  picket-type log house built by Joseph Weber.  When the circuit riders came to town, services were held at the Weber home, with Mrs. Weber playing the organ.  Later, Macarthur Cullen Ragsdale married Liza Weber and bought this property. There he built his photography studio.  He had made his first visit to Fort Concho in 1875, and moved to San Angelo in 1880. He is credited with recording the pictorial history of the community.  Ragsdale died in San Angelo in 1944 at the age of 95.

At Chadbourne and Concho, you will see another mural by artist Crystal Goodman. This one was completed in 2005.  The mural depicts the 200 block of South Chadbourne around 1908.   The streets were paved with wood blocks approximately 4”X 4” X 12” which were placed on end to provide the pavement for traffic which at the time included horses, wagons, early vintage automobiles and the street car you see in the mural.  Extensive research has been done to be sure that all buildings and businesses were in existence during this time period.

On the Southwest corner of Chadbourne and Concho was the home of the Jackson, Hicks, Jones Horse and Mule Company.  Much later Cole’s Army/Navy surplus store was located in the building.  This building and the building to the right of it were designed by Oscar Ruffini.  At one time, there was on open-air movie theater located on the roof of the corner building.  It was operated by "Dad" Spooner.  The building was destroyed by fire. In an effort to beautify the boarded-up building, murals have been painted on it.  The murals show pictures of _________________________
________________________________________________________________

Occupying most of the block on the south side of Concho was the Elkhorn Wagon Yard owned by James W. Johnson.

The yard was one of three wagon yards in town in the 1880's.  Each yard was from 300 to 400 feet square and well equipped.  They had small pens, several sheds and a camp-house in addition to the main building where the feed was stored.  The wagon yard took the place of hotels and garages.  Small towns in the surrounding area depended on San Angelo for food, lumber, wire, windmills, clothing and furniture; many ranchmen would make only two trips to San Angelo a year bringing their families, and camping in the wagon yards with the freighters and others.  They brought their bedrolls, bought food and cooked it over stoves or campfires.  In the early 1900's, there were as many as eight yards in San Angelo; but after the automobile came to town, Elkhorn Wagon Yard was, by 1929, the only one in town.  In 1943, even this yard folded.

On your right is 16 West Concho, which cost $75,000.00 to build in 1928 as Ragsdale Auto Company.  M.C. Ragsdale had retired from the photography business by 1918 to sell automobiles.

At 16 1/2 West Concho was the Concho Livery Stable.  The first city directory, published in 1908, listed several    stage lines operating from here:  Arden Stage Line, Eola Stage Line, Ozona Stage Line and Sterling City Stage Line.

The building at 18 West Concho housed the first radio station between Dallas and El Paso in the 1920's.

KGFI was built by Henry Ragsdale (M.C. Ragsdale's son) so his mother could listen to music.  E. C. GUNTER obtained the 10-watt transmitter in Georgetown.  This building has been built on top of the Concho Livery Stable. Walk into the parking lot and you can still see the small square holes in the concrete where air was provided for each stall of the stable!

The building at 24, 26, and 28 West Concho is now ______________________________________.  It was built in 1928 as a warehouse that sold farms and ranch tools including windmills.  Mr. E.C. Gunter operated Gunter's Appliance Store here from 1936 to 1945.  He had the largest appliance store west of Ft. Worth at the  time.

The cornerstone at 30 West Concho, right next door, now an empty garage reads_______________________

__________________________________________________________________.

Wendland was once employed by Findlater Hardware and did sheet metal work.  This was the location of his early sheet metal plant. 

Cross Irving Street, then turn south and cross Concho and continue walking south on Irving St.  Watch for traffic.   You are now at the corner of Concho and Irving Streets.  The exact reason for the naming of Irving Street is not known, but it is thought that it was named for the great American author, Washington Irving.

As you come to the crest of the hill before you start down toward the river, look all around you and try to visualize how this country looked when Fayette Tankersley wrote:  "The grass was stirrup-high and there was no trees except along the river.  Everywhere there was wild animal life, great flocks of wild turkeys, antelope and deer in herds of hundreds, and in the distance they looked like great swarms of flies.  There were coyotes and panthers, and streams alive with fish. The beavers built dams in all the streams"  That is how this land, the very land you are standing on, looked less than 130 years ago!

As you near the bottom of the hill, you will see the Concho Valley Council Office, Boy Scouts of America on your right.  They moved into this building in 1974.  Prior to that time it was a Youth Center and prior to that a Serviceman's Center during World War II.  You are welcome to stop here.  The trading post is open between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. 

Sit on the park bench across the street  from the Boy Scout office.  Look across the river to your right and you will see the El Camino Girl Scout Service Center.  It was originally constructed by the Works Progress Administration and the City of San Angelo in 1939, following the flood on the  Concho River in the 1930's.  It is a one-story cut stone building designed by Architect Leonard  Mauldin.  The Girl Scout organization has been the building's only occupant. 

Further to your right you will see the Chamber of Commerce.  If you wish to visit, there are two pedestrian bridges about ¼ mile west of the Boy Scout office.

Continue your hike by walking south on Irving street.  Cross the low water crossing.  The river in the    1880’s was a narrow stream flowing through this area and there were no bridges.  Dams have been built to give make the river a pleasant look.

Stop at the Railroad Station.

This depot was the divisional headquarters for the Old Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railroad that reached San Angelo in 1909.  The "Orient" Railroad had begun five years earlier when Arthur E. Stillwell organized the line in Wichita, Kansas, with the hope of linking up with the port of Topolobampo, Mexico, on the Gulf of California.  From there it was a sea voyage to Oriental ports.

During the excitement of the Orient's arrival, businessmen in Iowa had raised $40,000. to build a line from Sterling City to San Angelo.  When the line opened in 1910, it was immediately sold to Santa Fe, which violated the agreements made during fund raising.  Santa Fe finally agreed to return the $40,000 to San Angelo, but stipulated that the money be spent on a community project.  The money was spent to purchase 30 acres along the North Concho River, now known as "Santa Fe Park" and includes the downtown city golf course.

Santa Fe bought out the Orient in 1928 for $14,500,500.  At one time a train every hour rolled through San Angelo carrying equipment west and oil east from the West Texas oil boom in the mid-twenties.  Passenger service was discontinued in 1965.

Historic Orient-Santa Fe Depot, Inc. began renovation of the depot in 1988 with volunteers and donations.  City officials stepped in with federal funding to complete the restoration.  It is now the City Bus Depot and a Railroad Museum.

The third mural by Crystal Goodman is located at the corner of Chadbourne and Ave. C.  This mural depicts the styles of public transportation that was available in San Angelo from 1840-1940.

Across Chadbourne Street you will see the old Santa Fe Freight Station.  This has been transformed into a new Senior Citizens Center and headquarters for the Recreation department.

The building on the Northeast corner of Chadbourne and Santa Fe Crossing housed the offices and facilities of the DeCoty Coffee Company from 1937 until 1962.

The company started in August 1929 by C.T. Ducote, Sr. and his son Curry Ducote on North Chadbourne as "Concho Coffee Company" sold coffee under the brand name "Red Triangle."  In June 1937, "DeCoty Coffee Company" moved to 618 South Chadbourne, becoming the largest plant in San Angelo at that time.  Ducote bought the property from Kenneth Cox whose father had operated a Purina Chow Feed Mill store there, having built the building about 1926.

Walk along the Santa Fe Crossing (between 618 Santa Fe Crossing and the Freight Depot).  At the intersection of Orient Ave and Ave. B you will see “Old Town” at El Paseo de Santa Angela.  It is a repository for restored endangered historic buildings.  Five structures have been relocated to the site:  the Zenker house, an 1880’s bank building, a 1909 Victorian residence, the Camunez grocery store and a tiny 1880’s home.  Oscar Ruffini, San Angelo’s pioneer architect designed the bank and the Victorian residence.

Walk toward the river.  You will come to Orient Ave and Ave A.  You will see the City Pool.  It was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration.  There is a historical marker to read at the entrance to the pool. In the area you will also find a windmill, bronze sculptures, the Fine Arts Museum, Celebration bridge, the outdoor amphitheater and a 9-11-01 memorial monument.

Once you have completed looking at all the sights at this location, go east on Ave A to Oakes street and turn right.  Fort Concho is about one block away on the left.

As you get closer to Fort Concho, think about what it must have been like to live in Santa Angela or at the Fort in the 1800’s.  Think of the distances that people had to travel for supplies or  the effort it took to see a doctor.


This map shows Fort Concho as it looked back in the days when the fort was active. 

Notable among the troops that served at Fort Concho was the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments composed of Black enlisted men.  The soldiers were garrisoned here at various periods throughout the Fort's history.  Often called the "Buffalo Soldiers," these troopers earned a remarkable record as Indian fighters and scouts.

The Indians gave the name "Buffalo Soldiers" to them.  The Indians compared the hair of the troopers and the shaggy coats they wore to that of the buffalo.  The Indians meant no insult to the soldiers as they held the buffalo in high regard.  They depended upon the buffalo for their very existence. After almost thirteen years of fighting Indians and chasing lawbreakers the buffalo soldiers had tamed the Texas frontier.  In 1880, they were transferred to posts in other states, where there was still an Indian problem.

Proceed to the first building of Fort Concho.  This is the first barracks building and now the Visitor's Center. (on the map: #1)

If the Visitor's Center is closed or a tour is not offered, you may use this guide to hike around the fort and look at the buildings.

The building of the six enlisted men's barracks (#1-6) at Fort Concho was a slow and tedious process.  By February 1869, the two barracks at the west end, (currently the Visitor's Center) and the barracks next door had been raised to the height of the stone walls.  It was not until August of that year that the buildings were finally occupied, even though they weren't completely built. By November 1870, stonework for all additional barracks and the guardhouse was complete; but they were not finished until the fall of 1871 due to a shortage of lumber.  The other barracks, #3 - 6, were built in 1871.

Stone for the Fort's construction came from a quarry at Ben Ficklin, about five miles South of Fort Concho on the Middle Concho River.  Mortar for the stonework was made of sand crushed from sandstone found nearby, and lime (burned in a limekiln) from the same limestone used for building.

Pink colored mortar was used to cement the stones together.  The mortar color derives from the sandstone bluffs across the river from the Convention Center, which were chipped off and ground into sand.

Pecan timber at first was cut on the banks of the Conchos and sawed into lumber on steam-driven saws nearby. However, the hardness of the pecan, plus the cost of preparing it, soon caused a change of materials.  By 1870, pine, cypress lumber and shingles, window frames, glass, doors, and trimmings were freighted in from San Antonio and the Fredericksburg-Hill country area for most of the buildings.

Behind the barracks is the location of the stables.  The horse tie rings are permanently embedded in the perimeter masonry walls and can still be found there.  Over 100 Comanche Indian women and children were held captive in the corrals from late October, 1872, until May, 1873, when they were escorted to Fort Sill to be reunited with their families.  Colonel Ronald S. Mackenzie and troops from Fort Concho captured them on a raid of a Comanche Camp on the North Fork of Red River in the Texas panhandle on September 29, 1872.  The building is now used for housing the fort collection, as a maintenance shop, general storage and for special events 

In the middle of Burgess Street, a building (#7) no longer there, used to be the Fort Guardhouse (jail).  It was built of stone, in the same style and on line with the barracks.

The building directly across from barracks #6  is the Commissary Storehouse (#12), which is the first Fort structure built, started in January of 1868.  It is also the oldest building in San Angelo.  This is essentially a twin of the Quartermaster Storehouse just to the right of it.

The Quartermaster Storehouse (#13) was built in 1868 and was the second structure to be built at the fort.   It has survived two major fires (which destroyed the original roof structure), masonry structural failure, and basic neglect.  Restoration was completed in 1983 and the building now houses _____________________________.

Continue South to the headquarters building (#14) which was constructed in 1876.  For three years (from 1878 to1881) Fort Concho was Headquarters of the District of the Pecos in the Army Department of Texas.  Business concerning the District, which included Forts Concho, Davis, Stockton and Griffin, as well as eight sub-posts, was conducted here along with the usual Post affairs.

There are ____  plaques on the front of the Headquarters Building.

Look for a typical wood clapboard constructed home and office that stands behind the headquarters building. It belonged to Oscar Ruffini, who designed many of the old buildings for businesses in the heart of San Angelo. Notice the false front on the building and the chimneys. What braces the chimneys? This building was moved here in 1951 from its original downtown location.

Just south and across the street is located the Post __________________________ (#17) The building, completed in 1870, is almost a twin of the hospital located at Fort Richardson near Jacksboro, Texas It was the largest and finest structure at the fort.  A strange thing happened one night at the post hospital, involving a black soldier named "Dead" Ellis.  Ellis apparently became so intoxicated one night that the muscles in his body went rigid.  Ellis was near death from alcohol poisoning, but had not yet "passed” on. Ellis' condition fooled the men who happened upon his body, and the stiff soldier was taken to the post hospital, pronounced dead, and laid out in the "dead room" for burial on the next day.  Ellis' friends gathered by the coffin that night to lament his demise.  A jug of whiskey passed between the mourners.  All went well until sometime after midnight when one of the men leaned over the coffin for a final, lachrymonious good-bye.  Ellis twitched!  The mourner looked again. Ellis twitched again! "That man ain't dead!  He's getting up!” the mourner yelled.  Almost instantaneously all the men in the room were getting up, too, and diving through the first available window or door.  When Ellis saw the coffin walls surrounding him, he was supposed to have nearly killed himself for real by jumping through a window to get out. He survived his wild night to live a long life, forever pegged with the name "Dead" Ellis - the man who came back from death.

A similar building is located at Fort McKavett, Texas except that the second story was never built on that hospital. The hospital at Fort Concho was struck by lightening and burned and was raxed in 1929.  The hospital was reconstructed in 1988.

One of the last structures completed at the Fort was the Schoolhouse/Chapel. (#18) On February 22, 1879, the structure was dedicated and described to be the "best furnished room in the post."  The building was used for a school, a chapel, and for social gatherings at the Fort such as dances.  It is now used for Frontier School Days. There are two  ____________________  ____________________ behind and attached to the building.

Officer's Quarters (O.Q. Building #9 (#19 on the map) was built in 1872.  The building plan and form is very similar to #8 and the original #1.  The plaque on the front reads: _______________________________________________________________________.

Construction on O.Q.#8 (#20) commenced in 1871 and was finished in 1872.  Like most of the quarters, it was remodeled following the military evacuation and  a stone addition was completed at the rear of the structure.

O.Q.#7 (#21), began in 1876 and finished in 1877, was the last officer's quarters built on the post.  This was a duplex.  The building is now used to house special events and as a library and archives.

O.Q.#6 (#22) was built in 1870.  This building was identical to Numbers 2, 4 and 5.  On the West Side of the building around the second story windows, are pieces of metal used to hold window shutters open.  What shape are thes metal pieces? _____________________________________

What does O.Q.#5 (#23), built in 1870, look like? ___________________________________

O.Q.#4 (#24), built in 1870, now houses the GTE Museum of Telephony.

4.Q. #3 (#25) may have been the first quarters built in 1870.  It is larger than the other single quarters and appears to be of better quality than many of the comparable existing structures.  It was used as quarters for the commanding officer until O.Q.#1 was finished.  It has one of the few relatively intact original interiors.

O.Q. #2 (#26) was one of the first five officer's quarters built and was finished by March 1, 1870.  The parlor room was the site of the first wedding at the fort, that of Miss Jessie Caldwell and Lt. Byron Dawson on April 26, 1870.  This building has _____ chimneys.

Officer's Quarters #1 (#27) was started in August 1870, but was not completed until 1875.  The post commander occupied it in May of 1872.  Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson moved into the building in 1875, and during his tenure had an office wing added on the West side, a kitchen added at the South end, and some  stone stables constructed behind the house.  The O.Q.#1 is ____ stories high and has _____ chimneys. 

The Fort's closing was an inevitable event, brought about by the growth of San Angelo, the coming of the railroad, and the diminished need for a frontier military establishment.  The flag was lowered for the last time on June 20, 1889. 

The stone buildings and the land on which they stand, reverted back to the original landowners, Adams and Wickes.  The Army had only been a rent-paying tenant.  In 1905, the Concho Realty Company was formed.  The Company purchased the Fort grounds with all the structures for $15,000.  A real estate addition was then organized and the various buildings sold to individuals.  The preservation of the existing buildings and the restoration of the destroyed ones were begun in 1930 by Mrs. Ginevra Wood Carson.   She moved the West Texas Museum to the headquarters building and renamed it Fort Concho Museum.  Fort  Concho has since acquired all of the property you see here today. 

This completes the Fort Concho Historical Trail. Fort Concho Historical Trail Patches are available from the Concho Valley Council Office.  The price is $4.00 and can only be purchased by the leader. Thank you for traveling this way and letting us share this history with you! 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

On behalf of the Concho Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America, we want to thank the following people for their help in
providing information on San Angelo and Fort Concho: Gus Clemens, author of The Concho Country; Don Treadwell, Robert L. Broene, Mrs. Donna Crisp, Mrs. Karen Anderson, E.R. Taylor; Fort Concho Museum Staffers, Cory Robinson, Evelyn Lemons; George Crownover; Bobby Eggemeyer; Wagon Yards, by C.T. Dalton; Old Angelo, by Joe Gibson; Texas Ranchman, by John Loomis; Fort Concho: It's Why and Wherefore, by J.N. Gregory; Frank T. Hilton, former Program Director, Concho Valley Council, BSA, Trail Developer. 

The Fort Concho Historical trail was updated in 2006 by Suzanne Campbell, Curator of the West Texas Collection and Lisa Mahler, Office Manager at Concho Valley Council, BSA.

A new patch was designed by Hugh Campbell of San Angelo.  He is an artist that paints traditional West Texas ranch genre.  He works in mediums of pastels, oils and bronzes.  Campbell’s art has garnered many awards nationally.  You can view some of his works at www.hughcampbellwesternart.com/

READ MORE ABOUT IT

The following books are available at the Tom Green County Library to help you read more about San Angelo and Fort Concho:

A Walk Through Historic San Angelo by the Tom Green County Library Staff
Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier by J. Evetts Haley
Historical Montage of Tom Green County by the Tom Green County Historical Society
Fort Concho in 1877 by Susan Miles
A History of Fort Concho (thesis) by Herschel Boggs
Old Angelo by Joe Gibson
Texas Ranchman: The Memoirs of John A. Loomis by John Loomis
The Concho Country by Gus Clemens
The History of Tom Green County, Texas by Grace Bitner
Fort Concho by James T. Matthews
 

FORT CONCHO HISTORICAL TRAIL OFFICIAL APPLICATION

Girl Scout Troop #_____Boy Scout Troop #_____Cub Scout Pack #_______

Council________________________________

Town ___________________ State ____________requests permission to hike the
Fort Concho Historical Trail on the following date:___________________

Leader in Charge _______________________Title: ________________________

Mailing Address ____________________________________________________

City___________________________________ State ______ 

ZIP________________________
Total Number of hikers: _______  Female _____Male ______   Adults ________
We will obtain a Local/National Tour Permit from our local Boy Scout Council. 
We understand that troops out of the San Angelo area cannot hike the trail without the tour permit.

Signed ________________________________________________ 

Mail to:  Fort Concho Historical Trail
            Concho Valley Council, BSA
            PO Box 1584
            San Angelo, TX  76902-1584

Or come by the Boy Scout Council Office at 104 West River Drive in San Angelo.

Order form for Fort Concho Historical Trail patches.

Troop or Pack number_____  Check one   ___Boy Scouts ___Girl Scouts

Council______________________________________________________

Hiked the trail on __________________

Leader:____________________________________________________________

Number of patches ordered________ @ $4.00 each =______________.
Mail to: (please print)

Name______________________________________________________________

Mailing address______________________________________________________

City/State/Zip________________________________________________________

Phone_________________________________
 


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