Fort Union, NM (Tim)

10/27/17 - Northeast New Mexico

Click picture to see full size.

From 1846 to 1848, the US fought Mexico to drive them out of the New Mexico terrritory. After the US won, Washington decided we needed a really big fort to defend the territory, so they buit Fort Union along the Santa Fe Trail used by wagon trains going from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, then points west. Fort Union was the biggest fort in the southwest and served as the supply depot for 40 or 50 smaller forts.

Fort Union was originally built out of wood in 1851, with all of the work being done by the soldiers. Apparently they weren't very good carpenters because the fort was literally falling apart within a few years. In 1861, the soldiers completely rebuilt the fort using adobe. Alas, the soldiers were no better at masonry, and the fort again rapidly disintegrated. In 1867, the army decided to hire local civilians who knew what they were doing to build the third and final rendition of the fort that is still (partially) standing today.

After reading all of the exhibits in the ranger station, I went outside to take some pictures. I discovered that the largest number of adobe remnants were a half-mile hike away. Quoting the shorter winter hours, the ranger said the facility was closing in 30 minutes, so I would not have time to walk out to the remnants and take pictures. Click on the picture above, and you can see many fragments of the fort walls still standing.

Fortunately, right next to the ranger station were the remains of the fort's hospital. This 125-bed facility served as a regional medical center with "the best medical care within 500 miles." Up to 40% of the patients were civilians.

When we got to the hotel after a long day of touring, the boys were pretty restless, so I let them burn off some steam by bouncing on the bed. What could go wrong?!?