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County
Shackelford
Region
Panhandle Plains
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Parks
Fort Griffin State Historic Site
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Fort Griffin State Historic Site Information:  
The park is located on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. It is surrounded by vast ranches making the unlit night sky perfect for stargazing from the scenic overlook. The fort was built on a hill overlooking the river in 1867, and deactivated in 1881. It was once one of the wildest places in west Texas. A 1 mile gravel trail winds through the rock ruins and the original and reconstructed fort buildings. The rock ruins include the First Sergeant's Quarters, the administration building, Sutler's Store, the hospital, a water cistern, and two officer's quarters. Original buildings include the library (also used as the school and chapel), the bakery (with ovens and a pot-bellied stove), the powder magazine and the commanding officer's quarters. The Friends of Fort Griffin (volunteers) have developed plans to restore the powder magazine by adding a roof and interpretive displays. The mess hall and the barracks hut were reconstructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). Additional facilities include a flag pole, a hand dug well, blacksmith and carpenter shops, cavalry stables, a guard house, the adjutant's office, a post office, the quartermaster storehouse, and the wheeler shop. Shaunissy’s Saloon has been reconstructed on its original foundation.Some of the west’s most famous people were involved in the settlement, including Doc Holliday (dentist turned gambler), Big Nose Kate (Holliday’s sometimes girlfriend), Lotte Deno (Carlotta J. Thompkins, gambler), Pat Garrett (captured Billy the Kid twice), John Wesley Hardin (famous gunfighter), and Wyatt Earp (lawman). Since 1948, Fort Griffin has been the official home and manager of the Official Texas State Longhorn Herd.  Portions of this herd are located at Copper Breaks State Park, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, Palo Duro Canyon State Park and San Angelo State Park. Fort Griffin is a Texas Archeological Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For more information read the Park Brochures and the History Article. The fort is located approximately 19 miles southwest of Throckmorton, 15 miles northeast of Albany, and 35 miles northwest of Breckenridge, Texas. From Albany: Go 15 miles northeast on U.S. 283 to fort entrance. The Fort is located on the west side of U.S. 283. The Camping area and the Longhorn Pen are located on the east side of U.S. 283.

Historic Fort Griffin Brazos River Through Truss Bridge, 1885:
This is one of the oldest remaining through truss bridges in Texas, and is the last remaining pin-connected Pratt through truss in the Shackelford County. The King Bridge Company built in 1885 to connect the county seats of Albany and Throckmorton. It is located in what originally was Fort Griffin, a former cattle town and military checkpoint. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Today it is a pedestrian bridge. It is located over the Clear Fork of the Brazos River on CR 188, outside Fort Griffin.
 
Historic Fort Griffin Masonic Lodge & Schoolhouse, 1878:
The downstairs of this restored building is used for meetings and other gatherings. The upstairs is a bunk house featuring 12 beds and one bedroom. 
 
Official Texas State Longhorn Herd:
In 1936, Fort Worth businessman Sid Richardson believed Texas was about to lose the Texas Longhorn; he believed the longhorns were closer to extinction that the buffalo. He discussed this issue with Texas Historian J. Frank Dobie of Austin, Texas. The two reached an arrangement whereby Richardson would provide the funding and Dobie would find and select the longhorns. Dobie enlisted the help of longtime cattle detector, rancher and longhorn raiser Graves Peeler. They traveled throughout South Texas selecting 20 head. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department eagerly sought the responsibility of protecting and preserving this State historic treasure. The longhorns were placed at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. Richardson then asked Dobie and Peeler to locate another herd. It was difficult to find more; they had to drive hundreds of miles on both sides of the Rio Grande River. By the end of 1942, they had located a few more and these were placed at Lake Brownwood State Park. By 1948, twenty one longhorns had been placed at Fort Griffin State Park (now Fort Griffin State Historic Site) and the remaining longhorns had been sold. The longhorns have been one of Fort Griffin’s greatest assets, attracting visitors from all over the world. Since 1948, Fort Griffin has been the official home and manager of the herd. Fort Griffin places longhorns in other state parks for exhibition, range management, and breeding purposes. Fort Griffin has placed portions of the herd at Copper Breaks State Park, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, Palo Duro Canyon State Park and San Angelo State Park. Big Bend Ranch State Park has a longhorn herd that is part of its legacy, but their herd is not a part of the Official Texas State Longhorn Herd.
 
Brazos River:  
The Brazos River rises at the confluence of its Salt Fork and Double Mountain Fork near the eastern boundary of Stonewall County in the Texas Panhandle Plains Region. It flows 840 miles across Texas to its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico, two miles south of Freeport in Brazoria County. The two forks rise 150 miles above the confluence, thus forming a continuous 1,050 mile long watershed, making it the longest river in Texas. The Brazos has seven principal tributaries, including the Salt and Double Mountain forks. The others are the Clear Fork, the Bosque and Little rivers, Yegua Creek, and the Navasota River which joins the Brazos River six miles southwest of Navasota in southwestern Grimes County. In addition, there are fifteen sub tributaries within the watershed, the most important being the Leon River, a tributary of the Little River. Although the Brazos was well known to Spanish explorers and missionaries who described the Indians located along its banks, the first permanent settlements on the river were made by Anglo-Americans. John McFarland, one of the Old Three Hundred, founded San Felipe de Austin at the Atascosito Crossing of the Brazos. The town became the colonial capital of Texas. Velasco, the site of the first colonial resistance to Mexican authority, is located on the River as are Columbia and Washington-on-the-Brazos, two of the first seats of government of the Republic of Texas. Originally, the Brazos was navigable for 250 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the town of Washington. It was an important waterway before the Civil War, and efforts to improve it for navigation continued until the early twentieth century. Important cities in the Brazos watershed are Lubbock, Graham, Waco, Temple, Belton, Freeport and Galveston. Houston abuts the region along the Fort Bend and Brazoria County lines. The most important lakes on the Brazos River are Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Whitney. 

Fort Griffin State Historic Site Directions & Map:
From Albany: Go 15 miles north on U.S. 283 to fort entrance. The Fort is located on the west side of U.S. 283. The Camping area and the Longhorn Pen are located on the east side of U.S. 283.