Poor Planning Plagued the Military at Fort Phantom Hill

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The Intentional Travelers Visit Fort Phantom Hill, near Abilene Texas.

I know you don’t ever get behind on reviewing your photos, but sometimes I am having too much fun to blog!  This post about Fort Phantom Hill is an example of our visits to cool out of the way places, and then waiting months to post.  Oh well, it must mean we are enjoying the journey.
Hurray! The Intentional Travelers are back on the road! We spent four months with a client in North Carolina from September through December.  Then, we hustled across the country to see our family in California.  It only took us two months. That’s really fast for us.
Then we spent March and April with various parts of our family in Northern California.  More on that to come.  I won’t bore you with the “Grandma” pictures quite yet.

We Have a New Name!

In case you didn’t notice it, we have changed our name and our look a bit.  The new link to the blog is TheIntentionalTravelers.com.  It was only fair to include Bill, my very significant other, (and husband of 35 years) in the name since he often chooses our destinations.
So in order to celebrate our new name, we are starting with one of Bill’s choices.  Fort Phantom Hill, just northeast of Abilene, Texas.

 

Phantom Hill was plagued by poor planning and horrible weather

Entrance to Fort Phantom Hill
Entrance to Fort Phantom Hill
Fort Phantom Hill was established in 1851 as one of four forts along the Texas Forts Trail.  The other forts are Ft. McKavett, Ft. Chadbourne, and Ft. Belknap.  These forts supported the settlers moving further west, helping to protect them from the local Indian attacks, as well as creating a place for trade and communication.
Unfortunately, the originally planned location for the site was changed by an officer that did not know the area.   During the short time the fort functioned, it struggled for water and wood.  The temperatures were extreme.  It was a tough life.
Watch for Rattlesnakes
Watch for Rattlesnakes!
Several of the buildings were built with stone, quarried from an area on the bank of Elm Creek, about two miles away.  Wood, however, was hard to find.  Officers quarters and the hospital were built of logs which were hauled from 40 miles away.  Other buildings were built using vertical poles and woven brush, with mud chink.  These buildings did have stone chimneys, however, and that is what we now see as we visit the fort.
Spooky chimneys at Fort Phantom Hill
Spooky chimneys
The military abandoned the fort in 1854. It had been a difficult location, due to the lack of water and lack of timber.  In the winter, the wind blew in freezing temperatures.  In the summer the heat often exceeded 100 degrees F.

A Recycled Fort

In 1858, a stagecoach company used the property as a way station. Later, during the Civil War, Ranger companies used the property as a base of field operations.
Walking around the site was just a little spooky!  We went early in the morning, so it was very quiet.  The stone chimneys are all that is left of most buildings.
So whether you are a lover of history, or just enjoy old ghost towns, Fort Phantom Hill is an interesting and even serene place to visit.  To learn more about the history of the Fort, visit FortPhantom.org.
Wherever we travel, we explore the forts. These were usually the first anchor for immigrants traveling west, providing supplies, protection and sometimes just a place to rest on the journey.  Take a look at this fort in Wyoming.  That was tough living!
Abandoned Stage Coach
An Abandoned Stage Coach at Fort Phantom Hill
Chimneys at Fort Phantom Hill
Chimneys are all that’s left of some buildings.

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