Friday, March 4, 2016

San Antonio's Fort Sam Houston

Clock Tower on the Quadrangle

One of the great benefits of Fred's Military service and retirement is that we have the opportunity to stay at Military campgrounds across the United States.
In San Antonio we are privileged to be staying at the Army's Fort Sam Houston. Fort Sam is a large post.   It serves as Command Headquarters for the US Army North, US Army South and the Army Medical Command. It has been home to many distinguished military personnel  that include John J Pershing and General Dwight D Eisenhower.
The RV park is located on base and occupies land adjacent to an Equestrian Center and a complex of Baseball  fields.
There is a great sense of history here at Fort Sam Houston. The fort has been in this same location since 1876 when the Army Quartermasters moved their supply depot here from the Alamo.  The city of San Antonio was a major supply  point for the Western forts  in the post Civil War years .  The city government wished to keep the  Army located here and donated land on  Government Hill along with locally quarried limestone to make that happen.
15 officers quarters designed by architect Alfred Giles in 1881 border the original parade ground.
The post at San Antonio also called the Quadrangle stands today within Fort Sam Houston and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Quadrangle is an interesting place to visit. The buildings now serve as the office complex for the Commanding General  and US Army  North. 
We visited the Limestone enclosed fortress on a sunny afternoon and were surprised to have to pass through a series of self closing gates to gain entry.  When we got inside the reason for the extra security became clear. The lawn and gardens enclosed within the old forts walls are home to a variety of birds and animal life.  
Fred and a flotilla of ducks in the Quadrangle
We observed peacocks, geese, chickens and ducks, Koi in a pond and a small herd of deer. 







The reason for the animals being kept there has been lost to time but one legend says that animals have resided inside the fort since 1886 when Geronimo and 32 of his Apache warriors were held here for 6 weeks before being sent to Fort Pickens in Florida.

A deer on the Quadrangle
At the center of the Quadrangle is a 40 foot clock tower that once served as a water tower with an observation post. 
There are  two museums on post. The Fort Sam Houston Museum is located within the Quadrangle. It provides a recorded history of Fort Sam Houston and of the US Army in Texas. It is arranged in a series of small rooms that move you in time from the development of the fort in the 19th century to honoring today's servicemen. There are exhibits of uniforms, weapons, flags and insignia from all wars and conflicts throughout those years.



The second museum on base is the US Army Medical Department Museum.. That structure houses Army medical equipment from 1775 through today. It's exhibits include a fully restored Hospital train car.
Ethyl is a Percheron mule

Although the horse cavalry began phasing out after WWI in favor of Jeeps and tanks many Army bases still house horses, and mules in Equestrian Centers. Fort Sam has one and we can see the animals grazing from the campground.  
Fred visiting with Gunny.
There is a full riding program here so we took advantage of a trail ride on Army mules and enjoyed seeing the fort from the horseback perspective.  Maybe if we do this a few more times I won't be terrified to ride one down those steep trails of the Grand Canyon.  I'll keep practicing.
To see more photos of our stay at Fort Sam Houston Visit our Flickr Album.

The beautiful Sammy.
To stay at the Fort Sam Houston Campground you must be Active, National Guard, Reservists, Retired, 100% DAV. or  DoD Civilians
The Museums and Equestrian Center are open to the public. You may access them by stopping at the visitors center outside the Main Security Checkpoint Gate with valid ID. They will issue you a temporary pass to enter the Base.
Joint Base San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
892 Hood St.
San Antonio Texas

2 comments:

  1. I love the limestone buildings in that area, Bonnie. The fort looks beautiful!

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