Fredericksburg, Texas is a favorite stop of ours! We love the friendly, small town atmosphere, the German heritage and influence that seasons the area, and the fun and eclectic destinations that we have found there. It’s hard to believe that we have never stopped by the Fort Martin Scott National Historic Site that is located on the east end of Main Street, until this year! This year we decided to stop by and give it a quick visit; and we ended up staying quite a bit longer than we anticipated!
Established in December of 1848, Fort Martin Scott was the western-most Texas fort at the time. Its main job was to keep the peace between the Comanche and the German settlers at and around Fredericksburg. Over the years, the fort’s 21 buildings were inhabited by the US Army, the Texas Rangers, and even the Confederate Army. Today many of those buildings are long gone, but half a dozen of the buildings have been reconstructed for the purpose of rebuilding the fort, and more are planned for the future.
There is no charge to visit Fort Martin Scott (a donation center is located on the visitor center’s porch if you would like to help support the site), and self-guided tours are allowed 7 days a week from 8 to 5. If you visit on the weekend, and you may just find yourself talking with Fredericksburg reenactors who dress and act just as they would have over 100 years ago, when the fort was in use as frontier security.
The fort is an easy self-guided tour by following a loop around the park grounds. I loved all the huge trees that are here!
The fort was in service from 1848 to 1853. After the fort was decommissioned in 1853, it was sporadically used by the US Calvary and the Texas Rangers, but fell into disrepair and was cannibalized by locals building in the town.
In the late 1800’s, the fort and it’s grounds were purchased by a family who used the building on the right (the only original building still standing) as their residence, and ran a beer garden from it!
The fort stayed in the family until 1959 when the City of Fredericksburg purchased it.
I’m not the only one that loves the huge oak trees that we have been finding all over Texas! The kids wanted to see just how big this tree was around…
Recreating the circle without the tree in the middle to get a better grasp of just how big it really was (with maybe some very slight exaggeration going on!)!
Roadschooling teacher’s on-the-fly assessment – yep, doing this whole American History on the Road thing right when WE (meaning the teacher and the principle 😉 ) have to wait for THEM (the students) while they check out all the information on a historical site.
And this wasn’t even the plaque that they geeked out over!
The wildflowers are in bloom for our visit, and we love the green of the Texas Hill Country!
Fort Martin Scott was a fun visit, and a great stop to get a peek into the 1800’s history of Fredericksburg!
And that last plaque that my Civil War buffs found so interesting? That one of the fort’s last commanding officers was Captain James Longstreet, who, of course, would go on to become one of General Lee’s lieutenants in the Civil War. Yep, then Fort Martin Scott suddenly became even cooler!
We are already planning our next visit to Fredericksburg, and Fort Martin Scott…partly lured by the all the stops that we love here in Fredericksburg, but also greatly influenced by the fort’s new neighbors!
Adjacent to the fort is the site of the future Texas Ranger Heritage Center! Currently under construction is a park and outdoors community center, and a Texas Ranger Museum is slated to open in June of 2016. This particular ranger museum will be unique because it will actually be owned by the Texas Rangers! While we will be back next year also, the museum opening is already on our calendar for 2016!
We still can’t believe that it took us 5 years of visiting Texas and the Hill Country to stop at Fort Martin Scott! It was a great find for our roadschooling, history buff, Texas loving family!
You can learn more about the fort on their official website at ftmartinscott.org.