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April 2002

Release Date: April 19, 2002

Fort Chadbourne Collection on Display at West Texas Collection

A display of artifacts recovered from the grounds of Fort Chadbourne as well as historic and contemporary photos of the one-time military post in northeast Coke County will be exhibited through June 1 at the Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection on the Angelo State University campus.

The fort was established Oct. 28, 1852, and surrendered to Confederate forces in 1861. U.S. military forces reoccupied it briefly after the Civil War before its final abandonment in 1868 in favor of a better location at Fort Concho.

Shortly after it was abandoned, the property was acquired by T.L. Odom from Samuel A. Maverick and it is been in the family every since. Garland and Lana Richards, who are restoring the existing buildings on the site, currently own the property.

Since the fort has been on private property virtually from the time it was abandoned, the site has not been scavenged by souvenir hunters. The Richards over the years have instituted a systematic archeological project that is turning up a variety of artifacts that are giving insight into life on the Texas frontier in the years preceding the Civil War. Many of those artifacts are on display as well as other items from the Richards collection.

Fort Chadbourne artifacts on exhibit include pocketknives, eyeglasses, belt buckles, cannonballs, uniform buttons, coins, bullets, arrowheads and a variety of personal items. The artifacts are augmented by a variety of other period items such as a military snare drum, a McClellan saddle, an 1863 Sharps carbine, an 1851 Navy Colt pistol and a U.S. military sword.

In addition to the artifacts, samples of correspondence and military records related to Fort Chadbourne as well as historical and contemporary photos showing the progress of the restoration are available for public viewing.

The exhibit is open to the public weekdays through May 31 with the exception of the week of May 20-24 when the West Texas Collection will be closed. The West Texas Collection is open mornings 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and afternoons 1-6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 1-9 p.m. Thursday and 1-5 p.m. Friday.

The West Texas Collection is located on the second floor of the Houston Harte University Center at 1910 Rosemont on the ASU campus. For more information, contact the West Texas Collection at 942-2164.