National Park Service Treasures: Fort Davis

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Stephen Chambers, Dallas architect, recently visited the historic restoration of Fort Davis, a treasure of the National Park Service. In the book, Texas Public Buildings of the 19th Century, Steve’s favorite Texas Tech architecture professor, Willard B. Robinson, writes that the military played an enormous role in civilizing the wilderness, as well as having a spontaneous influence on the general development of communities in the state of Texas. Fort Davis is an exceptional example of these stations and is considered one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest.

Steve Chambers, AIA, in doorway of one of the remaining Fort Davis officer’s quarters, built of locally quarried limestone. All photos by: Stephanie Chambers, Chambers Architects, Inc.

Named for Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, the post was located in a box canyon near Limpia Creek on the eastern side of the Davis Mountains, where weather remained fairly temperate and wood, water, grass, and building stone were plentiful.

From 1854 until 1891, the fort’s import in history was as a key ‘Indian’ post to defend emigrants, mail and freight coaches, and travelers along the main route from El Paso to San Antonio, Texas. When the National Park Service acquired the property in 1962, neglect, vandalism, and the weather had already taken their toll on this national historical treasure.

The gallery, below, features park service personnel in historic military uniforms, the officers’ quarters, parade grounds, surrounding landscape and remnants of historical buildings.

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