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While in Laredo, Texas, I was trying to find something related to the military worth seeing. Couldn't find any near by battlefields or even a decent Army surplus. However on my last day there, I learned that a former Army post had been converted into a community college. Went down there and was surprised to find several building still stand and altered very little. Here is a brief history of Fort (later Camp) McIntosh.


FORT MCINTOSH. Fort McIntosh, on the Rio Grande near Laredo, was established in the aftermath of the Mexican War and abandoned after World War II. American occupation of the former Spanish presidio dates from the arrival in November 1846 of Capt. Mirabeau B. Lamar, former president of the Republic of Texas, with the Laredo Guard of the Texas Volunteers. Pursuant to the ratification of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,qv which terminated the war with Mexico and settled the boundary question in favor of the United States, the government dispatched Lt. Egbert Ludovicus Vielé, subsequent designer of Central Park in New York City, from Ringgold Barracks (see FORT RINGGOLD) with a company of the First United States Infantry. On March 3, 1849, the unit reached the banks of the Rio Grande in Webb County, where they set up a camp of tents on a bluff to the west of Laredo. They named the post Camp Crawford, in honor of Secretary of War George W. Crawford. In January 1850 the site became Fort McIntosh, in tribute to Lt. Col. James S. McIntosh, killed three years earlier in the battle of Molino Del Rey.


The Mexican Revolution and two world wars prolonged the utility of Fort McIntosh long after transportation improvements rendered the old frontier posts obsolete. The war department discontinued the installation on May 31, 1946, when the Boundary Commission acquired the northern half of the property and the city of Laredo reclaimed the remainder. Laredo Junior College occupies a portion of the latter.




The Commanding Officer's Quarters, circa 1885



Officer's Quarters, circa 1880


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Enlistedmen's Quarters circa 1906




Camp Cemetary




Being on a college campus, it is probably a good thing they moved the graves!

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Well that makes the trip worthwhile in my eyes! I love seeing these old Army posts preserved. I used to get a kick driving through Ft. Sam Houston and looking at the old buildings.


In Omaha, NE we have also turned a historic military post into a community college.


Ft. Omaha was a key logistics center during the Indian Wars. It's main attraction is Gen. Crook's house, which has been fully restored.


It was also important during WWI as being the training center for observation balloon pilots and crews.


I didn't realize all of this the first time I visited the Metro Community College... I had gone there for an educational event. But the minute I walked on the grounds I recognized it as a classic US Army post. Even to this day there is a small portion of it still occupied by the US Army Reserve.


For those interested....




http://www.mccneb.edu/businessandcommunity/history.asp (page down for the military history)






http://www.historicomaha.com/frtomaha.htm (click on the blue links in the text and photos will pop up of the buildings)


for information on the balloon school



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Texas has several of the 19th century Army posts that are open as state parks and/or historic site. Some are run by the state and some are run by counties, cities or private individuals. Many have living history events during the year & are open to the public.

Here is a partial list in no particular order:

Ft. Davis - near the town of Fort Davis- run by the National Park Service. Partially restored but has many original buildings.

Ft. Concho - in San Angelo and operated by the city. One of the best retored frontier post in Texas. Many original bulidings.

Ft. Lancaster - near Sheffield. Operated by the Texas Historical Commission. Small post with only ruins & a visitors center.

Ft. Stockton - In the city of Fort Stockton and operated by the city. Partially restored.

Ft. Chadbourne - Privately owned and partially restored and open to the public. North of Bronte, Texas.

Ft. Phanton Hill - near Abilene. On Private land and only in ruins. Maybe open to the public.

Ft. Griffin - north of Albany and operated by the Texas Historical Commission. Few original building and ruins.

Ft. McKavett - east of Menard. Run by the Texas Historical Commission. Large post with many original buldings & ruins.

Ft. Bellknap - near Newcastle, operated by the county.

I may have forgotten some and there are others I don't have much info on.

If you are interested in the Indian Wars frontier Army, (both pre and post Civil War),Texas is a good place to see several sites connected to that era. Forts Concho, Chadbourne, McKavett and Griffin in particular have good living history events every year.

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Thanks for sharing the photos. I love old bases. There's quite a few on the East coast that I have visited, some being former CA fortifications. Theres a real mystique about them.



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