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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fort Union, New Mexico

From far away it looks like a post apocalyptic movie location...or a Stonehenge type place.

But as you move closer, you realize it's the ruined remains of Fort Union. Cavalry, infantry, and a large quartermaster depot were housed here on the New Mexico plains to protect the folks using the Santa Fe Trail and to act as a supply hub for all the other forts and military positions in the Southwest.

The fort was made from adobe clay brick, wood, local stone for the foundations, and, like in the photo below, adorned with bricks hauled along the Santa Fe Trail. Nails, window glass and roofing tin were also brought along the trail to finish the fort.

The work was hastily done and the clay plaster coating the adobe bricks cracked and required constant repairs to keep the damp from seeping between the plaster and the brick. When the fort was abandoned in 1891, things just fell apart.

Officers lived here, on Officers' Row. The posts in front of the houses held the porch roofs. Officers' wives would sit on their porches to watch the goings on, fanning themselves in the summer heat. Pretty much all that is left are the brick chimneys, standing as witness to times past.

It was a pretty isolated posting, but the fort had a hospital, school, a band, dances, baseball teams, and other entertainment. About seven miles away was the village of Loma Parda, (now a ghost town) where the more adventurous soldiers could find what might be called "night life," drinking at the cantinas and dancing with the local (and sometimes imported) ladies.

I could write more, but you can read more here, instead.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if they used different materials for the fireplaces... the chimney is still there, so it wasn't that they were housed indoors for part of the time. Anyway, love the post.


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