Yesterday, my dear friend Charla Chin (Sharla Rae) passed away after a long, painful battle with cancer. She was a wonderful western romance author, whose career was cut off by the monster disease. I am filled with sadness at her loss and frankly can't think of anything to write about. Instead, I am reblogging a post from a few years ago about Fort Concho and the Concho Pearl.
The Concho River was named after mussels found in the river and lakes surrounding the town of San Angelo in west Texas. Called “Concha” by early Spanish explorers, the large gray mussels produce “Concho Pearls” in purple, lavender, pink and orange. The Spanish were enthralled by the lustrous pearls and enlisted local Indians to help harvest them. There may even be Concho Pearls in the Spanish Crown Jewels.
Centuries later, Fort Concho was also named after the mussels, or more likely the river. The fort was established as a frontier U.S. Army post in 1867, with five companies of the Fourth Cavalry commanded by Col. John P. Hatch. Situated beside the North Concho River, the fort replaced the earlier Fort Chadbourne north of San Angelo. Although built on flat, treeless prairie, Concho was described as “one of the most beautiful and best ordered posts in Texas.”
The fort was vital to settlement because five major trails crossed the area. An active post for twenty-two years, Fort Concho protected settlers, stagecoaches, wagon trains and the United States mail, and kept trade routes open. The Army launched campaigns against the Comanche and Kiowa from Fort Concho, as well as actions against the Comancheros who traded illegally with the Indians.
Pecan wood was first tried as a building material for the fort, but it proved too hard to work with. Next, the soldiers tried adobe bricks but they didn’t know how to properly make adobe. Consequently, when heavy rain came, it dissolved the bricks. Finally, it was decided to build the fort out of native limestone, and the Army hired German stonemasons from Fredericksburg, in the Texas Hill Country to the south. Construction went on throughout the fort’s active period and was never completed.
Today, Fort Concho is a National Historic Landmark owned and operated since 1935 by the city of San Angelo. Over time several buildings have crumbled into ruins, but the remaining buildings are repaired and preserved by the city, assisted by the Fort Concho Foundation. While attending a conference in San Angelo several years ago, my husband and I visited Fort Concho and snapped a number of photos. Below are the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, I neglected to add captions after hubby loaded the pics to our old computer, and now I can’t recall what all the buildings are. I’ve labeled the ones I know. For more historical information and photos from the fort’s active period, visit http://www.fortconcho.com/index.htm
Lyn, I'm so sorry you lost a friend. We don't get to pick our family, but we do get to pick our friends. Quite often our friends are closer to us than family.ReplyDelete
Very true, Elizabeth. I met Charla some 25 years ago and we stayed close even after she moved across the country. We called ourselves sisters.Delete
So sorry for your loss. I had her on my friend list but never really knew her. She seemed like a sweet person and a loss to the writing world also :(ReplyDelete
Rain, Char was a very sweet person. I know you would have been friends if you had gotten to know her.Delete