Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saturday Afternoon - Fort Chadbourne - Bronte, Texas

After lunch we were off to see Fort Chadbourne.  It was a little drive out of Buffalo Gap, probably a bit longer as we missed a turn off and had to take a bit of a round-about to get back to the correct road, but it was fun looking at the country-side, so I didn't mind a bit.  Fort Chadbourne is on private land.  The owners allow visitors and our Texas Forts book actually says that "you have to stay in your car" while you drive past the old fort buildings.

John has actually been here before, around the year 2000, when the place was just about to open to the public.  He and one of his partners at TESS stopped in and met the owner's wife, who was nice enough to take them back to see some of the artifacts that the family had collected for many years.

Much to our surprise, the fort now has a beautiful visitor's center, and when we drove up and parked and went in, we were greeted by one of the guides, who directed us to see their very professional film that was made about the place a few years ago.  What a great productions -- very nice and it made me wish they had something similar for all of the forts in Texas.
 Soldier's barracks, refurbished
 Inside one of the officer's quarters
The soldier's etched their names into the walls, all over the buildings

The family has now created a foundation that has completely rebuilt several of the buildings as exhibits, created the visitor's center, and is creating quite a beautiful experience for the people of Texas, completely done with private funds and donations.  The owner's wife came and gave us a full tour of the exhibits in the main building, and then we were taken by golf cart to each of the outbuildings by one of the ranch hands.
The fort was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Stage Route at one time

Then as we got back from our tour, the owner of the property came in and we talked with them about the process they followed, all the assets they've gathered for display, and they showed us the research library they've created on Texas history in one of the back rooms. It could rival any library I've ever been in.  We really felt like we got a personal tour.

It's almost 5pm by the time we leave, so its time to get back to Abilene!

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