630 South Oakes
San Angelo, TX 76903
630 South Oakes
San Angelo, TX 76903
$1.50 children; $2.00 seniors & military; $3.00 adults
Robert Bluthardt, Director
Kathy Roland, Curator of Collections
Evelyn Lemons, Librarian/archivist
Carol Cummings, Special Events Coordinator
Christopher Morgan, Director of Education
Melvin Bohnert, Buildings/Grounds Supervisor
Covering forty acres and twenty-four buildings just south of downtown San Angelo, Fort Concho represents one of the best preserved frontier forts west of the Mississippi! Its 1870s-style structures reflect the simple but sturdy military architecture of the late 1800s when West Texas was truly a "vast expanse" awaiting protection and settlement.
Fort Concho is central to San Angelo in spirit, fact, and location. Its soldiers in the 1867-1889 era created the economic needs (both legal and illegal!) that led to the creation of San Angelo, the "town they left behind them" in 1889. The fort sits just south of the Concho River and downtown San Angelo, at the virtual center point of the city that now has 90,000 people within sixty square miles.
Preservation of this site as a memorial to those early pioneers began as early as 1900, but the serious work started in the late 1920s, about the time the efforts began with Colonial Williamsburg and Greenfield Village.
Today, Fort Concho is many things to many folks: we have several major special events annually (A Texas Mesquite Arts Festival in April; Frontier Day in June; the Sheep Run and Archaeology Fair in September; and Christmas at Old Fort Concho in December), holiday celebrations for Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, & Veteran's Day; ongoing special exhibits, living history programs, and children's events; period rooms and interiors that reflect the frontier army; mules, wagons, & artillery!; and a visitor center, gift shop, and orientation displays.
The fort also maintains a collections division and an extensive library & archives for researchers.
Current projects include a series of site improvements to our historic Bay 3 of the Stables Block that is used for parties, meetings, and gatherings; better lighting along the Officers' and Barracks' Rows; recreation of the 1870s pathways with improved handicapped access; a new entrance way and crosswalk; and a new living history stables facility that will provide animal stables, classroom space, and storage/work facilities.
To preserve extant fort period structures and features; To maintain and develop a museum and interpretive center; and To serve a functional and educational purpose for the San Angelo community, the State of Texas and nation at large.
Fort Concho was established by the United States Army (4th Cavalry) on December 4, 1867 and operated as a military post until June 20, 1889. While some preservation efforts began as soon as the early 1900s, the first building was purchased (Headquarters) in 1928 and that began the formal effort to acquire the core fort grounds, and all the extant buildings. Today, the twenty-four building site sits on forty acres.
Fort Concho became a responsibility of the City of San Angelo in 1935; it became a full city department in 1955 and a professionally operated site with city funding in 1967. The fort received "National Historic Landmark" status in 1961, one of only 2400 such declared sites across the nation.
As of 2005, Fort Concho is operated with eleven full-time and three part-time staff with a fifteen member board of directors.
The Fort Concho Collections Division has an extensive and varied group of clothing, uniforms, weaponry, tools, equipment, household artifacts, furniture, toys, as well as archaeologcal remains that reflects its core collecting areas of frontier/pioneer/military history of Fort Concho and the San Angelo/Concho Valley in the 1860-1920 era.
The Collections Division has a full-time curator whose office and Collections are located in a climate controlled, secured building slightly distant from the fort's center.
The fort still collects artifacts from its thematic areas and welcomes inquiries about potential donations.
Fort Concho operates daily tours, special educational and children's programs, special events, holiday celebrations, and living history practices annually.
Its staff and volunteers travel to other events, programs, and community celebrations and perform military demonstrations, set up period camps, and interpret the life of the military frontier.
Staff have traveled and instructed in many programs across the state on such topics as curatorial matters, heritage tourism, frontier and military history, interpretation and educational programing, weaponry firing and care, and other topics.
The site's library/archives is available for rsearchers by appointment.
The fort has six buildings of various sizes, capacities, and facilities that are rented to the public for gatherings, parties, weddings, dinners., etc.
Fort Concho's living history "army" has two wagons and two mules, a cannon and mortar, infantry, cavalry, & Buffalo Soldiers, officers' wives and laundresses, field camps, weaponry & equipment.
Fort Concho offers daily tours, but it will also craft a tour or program to the needs of any group and thematic interest with proper advance notice.
The fort has annual programs, celebrations, two Speakers Series sessions, and living history demonstrations throughout the year. Several of its main special events (Frontier Day/June, Sheep Run/Archaeology Fair/September, & Christmas at Old Fort Concho/December) incorporate many levels of children/family programing, demonstrations, & workshops.
The fort also has a standard fourth-grade Texas/local history tour/program that serves 2000 city/county/region students annually.Fees for most programs are very modest. Many programs are free.
City of San Angelo & separate foundation
Access: General Public, Students, Scholars
Appointment required: Yes
Fort Concho publishes a monthly newsletter (Fort Concho Dispatch) for its volunteers and friends at other forts and associated institutions. The Fort Concho Guidon, the site's main newsletter, is sent to fort members, supporters, and friends three-four times a year. From 1986 - 2005, Fort Concho co-sponsored the Concho River Review, semi-annual journal of fiction and poetry covering West Texas/Southwestern US themes.The fort has several books on area history that have been published over the past twenty years., Fort Concho Guidon, newsletter, 3-4 times a year
Fort Concho Dispatch, volunteer newsletter, 10-12 times annually
Facility report: The fort covers twenty-four buildings on a forty-acre site that spreads over the equivalent of six city blocks just south of downtown San Angelo.
All displays, programs, and services are offered on the ground floor of all buildings. Ramps have been installed where necessary to assist guests in wheelchairs. Starting in December/2005, the site will have a special golf cart to transport visitors who need that service to see all fort buildings on the tour.
Up to ten fort buildings have displays at any one time, including Barracks 1 & 2; Barracks 5/Mess Hall 5, Barracks 6, Headquarters, Hospital, Chapel, Officers' Quarters 3 & 4. The fort also has large special displays that are housed in the Quartermaster Building, the former home of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.
Weekday access to most buildings is via the walking tour that leaves the Visitor Center six times daily (10:30 and every hour thereafter to 3:30). On weekends, the site has extra staff or volunteers covering most of the tour buildings and guests may visit them at their own pace after registering at Barracks 1.
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