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County
Pecos
Region
Big Bend
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Parks
Fort Lancaster State Historic Site
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Fort Lancaster State Historic Site Information:   
Fort Lancaster was established in 1855 to protect the military route between San Antonio and El Paso, Texas. The fort was abandoned on March 19, 1861, after Texas seceded from the Union. In ruins, the fort once had 25 permanent buildings including a blacksmith shop, hospital, Sutler's store and a bakery. All the ruins are marked with identifying signs. An old cemetery is located on the fort grounds. Many archeological explorations have taken place at the fort. Recovered artifacts are on display in the museum and Visitors Center. A replica of an 1858 Concord stagecoach is also located at the Visitor Center. Park amenities include picnic sites and a nature trail. As of 2017, the new Visitor Center was being constructed. A golf cart may be rented on a first come, first served basis. There are several Texas Historical Markers at the fort including markers commemorating the fort, the Chihuahua Trail and Escondido Water Hole, and Howards Well. Just east of Fort Lancaster is a Scenic Overlook on U.S. 290 with a Texas Historical Marker commemorating the Old Government Road, a troops and supply road connecting San Antonio and El Paso. The fort site is not ADA compliant though a majority of the site can be navigated by wheelchair. The fort hosts special events and group tours by special arrangement. For more information read Texas Forts History and the Park Brochure. Fort Lancaster is located in the Pecos River Valley, 36 miles west of Ozona, and 11 miles east of Sheffield, Texas. (432) 836-4391. From Sheffield, take U.S. 290 (Scenic Loop), east approximately 11 miles to the park entrance. 
 
Howard's Well, Texas Historical Marker Text:
First known to civilized men in the 18th century, when, according to legend, Franciscan Padre Alvarez prayed for water to ease his thirst, put down his staff, and saw a spring gush forth from the ground. This landmark of western travel was named for its rediscoverer, Richard A. Howard of San Antonio, an ex-Texas Ranger. Howard and other men, along with 15 Delaware Indian guides, made up an expedition sent out in 1848 under Col. John Coffee Hays to map a wagon road from San Antonio to El Paso. Although aided by the discovery of the well, the expedition failed, turning back in a state of near-starvation. In 1849 the US Army made its maps of the route, with Howard along as a guide. Many forty-niners went this way to the California gold rush. In 1853 the first regular San Antonio to El Paso mail line was routed by way of the well. So were many later ventures. Although white travelers seldom caught sight of them, Indians frequented the well. There on April 20, 1872, Comanches and Kiowas surprised a large wagon train led by a man named Gonzales, and killed 16 persons. This was one of the events that led to the US Government's cancellation of hunting permits for reservation Indians. The marker is located on U.S. 290 at the Fort Lancaster State Historical Park Visitor’s Center Parking area, 36 miles west of Ozona and 11 miles east of Sheffield, Texas.   
 
Reeves County Birding:
Texas Birds Checklist
Trans - Pecos Chihuahuan Desert Bird Checklist
 
Fort Lancaster State Historic Site Directions:
From Sheffield, take IH-10 east. Exit 343 on U.S. 290 (Scenic Loop), and go approximately 11 miles to the park entrance.