In the second half of the 19th century, the United States established a line of military posts in west-central Texas to protect settlers from hostile Native Americans and other frontier turbulence. A new book, The Texas Forts Trail, offers a concise and colorful introduction to the forts and the experience they offer visitors today.
The Texas Forts Trail Region and Abilene Christian University Press released the book in November as part of the regionâ€™s celebration of its 15th anniversary as an organized entity of the Texas Historical Commission. The pictorial coffee table book highlights the eight historic frontier forts and one historic Spanish presidio that anchor the trail.
Featuring Â photography by Derrick Birdsall, park superintendent at the Farmers Branch Historical Park, and text by Kristine Davis, a writer from Waco, the book is organized in chronological order of the fortsâ€™ establishment, starting with Presidio de San Saba (1757) and continuing through Fort Richardson (1867).
Along with introductions to each fort, the book also includes details about important figures and events associated with each site, as well as updates on restoration efforts. Maps, historic photos, and paintings help bring the history of the forts to life.
â€œThereâ€™s the concept that once youâ€™ve seen an historic site, youâ€™ve been there and done that,â€ says Margaret Hoogstra, executive director of the Texas Forts Trail. â€œBut we want to encourage people to return to these sites, because thereâ€™s ongoing preservation and restoration work being done. And we want Texans to connect with their roots and share the story of our region, which is also part of the story of Texas.â€