Thursday, May 29, 2014

US Hwy 70: Fort Stanton, NM

After exploring Lincoln, NM, I drove down the road and found the fort which played a central role in the area's drama. The first surprise about Fort Stanton is how many buildings are still standing and what excellent condition they are in.

Many of the buildings date from 1855 and much of their longevity is attributable to being built of local stone rather than the more conventional adobe of the time. Another factor is that the fort has been utilized almost uninterruptedly in various ways since its beginning: First to protect settlers in the area, then as a Civil War post, a tuberculosis treatment facility for WWI merchant mariners, a Depression-Era CCC work camp, a WWII internment camp, a state hospital for developmentally handicapped, a low security women's prison and recently as a drug and alcohol rehab center. That's quite a resume!

The structures have been modified over time, as is evident by the roof lines, palladian windows, etc.

Interiors have been repeatedly sub-divided and re-opened, patched, rewired, etc.

As a result, the buildings currently look much better on the outside than they do on the inside.

The fort is currently under the care of a non-profit historical society which is dedicated to its full and complete restoration. I've uploaded a large panorama which is worth a click on the thumbnail below.

After thoroughly exploring the grounds and the few buildings that are open for admission, I spent some quality time in the excellent museum.

A delightful volunteer named Dorothy was very generous with her time, patiently and thoroughly answering all my questions. As you know, I can ask a lot of questions!

If you're ever in the area, don't miss the chance to explore a place where notable characters like Kit Carson, John "Black Jack" Pershing, Billy the Kid, and Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry once lived!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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