I had a really great day today. The winds calmed down so I left the Walmart parking lot at about 9 o'clock this morning. And as much as I appreciate Walmart letting us RVers overnight there it was still good to get moving again. It seems like whenever I stay at a Walmart overnight I spend as much money in the store as I would've at an RV Park......humm, I wonder if that's their plan.
I stopped and had breakfast at a McDonald's in Raton New Mexico and then drove on down I 25 until I got to the Fort Union National Monument. I had been there a long time ago but I didn't have much time to look around so I figured this time I would take my time and see everything that's there.
Fact is there's not a whole lot there. Pretty much the whole place was made out of adobe, and time and weather is not kind to adobe. Which means there's not much left except pieces of walls, fireplaces and chimneys. The other problem for Fort Union is after it was closed in the eighteen nineties nobody bothered to take care of it. so it just sat there, out in the middle of absolute nowhere, and fell apart.
They're doing restoration work on it but there's not much left to restore so basically all they're doing is propping up what's left of the walls to keep them from falling over. Fortunately they had pictures and drawings of what the place looked like originally so with a little imagination you can still hear the horses hooves on the cobblestones and hear a bugle blowing every now and then.
I think what impressed me the most was the absolute desolation of the place, I mean it is out in the middle of nowhere and I'm talking about today. So back in 1861 when they built the thing the soldiers stationed there must've felt like they were at the end of the earth, and they just about were.
The unique thing about Fort Union is that it was a supply Fort. Supplies from back east were shipped to Fort Union by wagon on the Santa Fe Trail, which by the way runs right through the middle of Fort Union. And then Fort Union would ship the supplies to the other forts in the region. So for its day Fort Union was a large and very important fort for the United States Army.
Since this is getting a little long, and I've had a busy day..... Busy for me anyway. I will post some more pictures tomorrow.
A rendering of what Fort Union looked like back in the day. It was a big deal.
What a building at Fort Union looks like today.
Officers row, the homes where the officers lived
A picture of officers row when the Fort was still in use.