March 27, 2009

Experience a Slice of Frontier Life During Fort Richardson Days

JACKSBORO, Texas ---
Come celebrate the 142nd anniversary of the
existence of Texas' northern-most U.S. Army fort
during Fort Richardson Days on April 17 and 18,
and see what frontier life was like in the 1870s.

More than 3,000 visitors typically show up
during the weekend for the annual living history event,
including 1,100 school children who are
invited to the fort on Friday, April 17.
The celebration takes place
from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at the
Fort Richardson State Park &
Historic Site one-half mile south of
town on U.S. Highway 281.
Entry fees are $3 per person for individuals between
13 and 64 yearsof age, and $2 for persons 65 and older.

On Saturday, Fort Richardson visitors can see
Wild West gunfights; cavalry, infantry and artillery drills;
flintnapping, spinning, blacksmithing and weaving
demonstrations; and equipment displays.
Lipan Apache tribal elders will be sharing their
heritage from their encampment, which includes a period tipi.
In addition, the event will include a 1 p.m. melodrama presented
by Weatherford College students and a 7 p.m. dance featuring
old-time music and dance instruction. There will be food and
souvenirs for sale, with proceeds supporting the
Friends of Fort Richardson.

More than 100 re-enactors in period attire bring the frontier days
to life in what was the most heavily garrisoned military
installation in the U.S. during the Indian War of 1870-74.
Fort Richardson, built in 1867, also served as the regimental
headquarters for the Sixth U.S. Cavalry from 1871 to 1873.

Seven original structures, six built of rock, and two reproduction
barracks will be open for tours during the special event. The most
impressive of the original buildings is the two-story rock hospital
built for $140,000 that dominates the fort's parade grounds that
once spanned the length of four football fields.

Visitors also can step inside a two-story, frame home that remains
as the only commander's quarters of its kind left standing in the
U.S. It was but one of more than 50 buildings that existed
during the fort's heyday when more than 700 troops occupied
the fort established to protect westbound settlers from hostile
Indian tribes that dominated much of West Texas in the
1860s and 1870s.

Though the weekend focus will be on the Fort Richardson Days
event, visitors also can enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational
options, including camping and traversing the nine-mile
Lost Creek Reservoir Trail way.

For more information, call the fort at (940) 567-3506.

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