While in Abilene, Texas, visiting friends, we stopped by a historical site called Fort Phantom Hill. The sun was just about to set on the Texas plains, and the lighting was perfect for photos.
The fort was built in 1851 out of necessity, to manage increasing hostility between settlers and Native Americans. (The area was called Phantom Hill because it seemed to disappear when approached from the nearby river.)
The Fort was only occupied for a few years before it was abandoned and burned in April 1854. Although the wood structures were destroyed, the stone structures provided shelter to various individuals over the next thirty years.
In the late 1850s, the Butterfield Overland Mail Company used it as a way station for its mail and passenger stage coach line that ran from St. Louis to San Francisco. During and after the Civil War, Texas Rangers and United States Cavalry camped out at the fort to help protect settlers from raids by Native Americans, outlaws, and military deserters.
In the 1870s, a town sprung up around Fort Phantom Hill, but by the 1890s, the population was dwindling, as residents were migrating 15 miles south to Abilene. It wasn’t long before the fort was permanently abandoned.
After 130 years of wind and rain, very little of Fort Phantom still stands, but the stone ruins provide an interesting glimpse into the past. As you walk the path, you’ll spot remains of more than a dozen buildings, including the guard house, officers’ quarters, library, commissary, blacksmith, hospital, laundresses’ quarters, and stables.
Perhaps as much as the fort itself, Mr. Handsome and I enjoyed the cacti because they aren’t native to Tennessee. The ones we saw were small but still impressive.
How cool! I am actually going to school in Abilene and heard this is an awesome place to visit! 🙂 Hope it was as fun as it looked and a belated congratulations on your little boy! 🙂
Thank you! I definitely recommend a drive to Fort Phantom Hill, since you’re so close. Do you like Abilene so far? What are you studying?
Wow, thank you! I love it! It has such an awesome home-like feel to it! 🙂 I’m a sophomore studying nursing! 🙂
Glad to hear that! Good luck with your studies.
How cool! I’m actually going to college in Abilene, and I have always heard this is an awesome place to visit! 🙂 hope it was as fun as it looks and sending a belated congratulations on your little boy!
Oooh how interesting! I love seeing history like that in person…did it feel eerie/haunting/weird etc when you walked around in it with just imagining, reflecting…? sometimes my imagination gets the best of me tho!
It did feel a little eerie, especially since it was almost dark when we finished the walk. I love visiting historical sites because I enjoy thinking about the many people who walked on the very same ground years before.
Do you think this has been used in any movies?
It is interesting. Thanks again for sharing. Doesn’t your heart go out to displaced people who were living on the land? And also displaced animals.
I’m not sure, but it would make for a great movie set. I’m sure life in Texas during the 1800s was difficult.
You and Mr. Handsome are such interesting people. My brother John and Fred have visited different places and when they share pictures and the history of these places we are always so captivated by it all. Learning about history is so important. Your little boy one day will get to experience these adventures into History with both of you. He will love it too I bet.