March is Texas Spring Break month. We always expect the parks to be over crowded and noisy. While this park was full on the weekend, it never seemed crowded. The campsites provide just enough room to seem spacious and private without being isolated. Families, busy during daylight hours, gathered around evening campfires before retiring early.
Fort RIchardson State Park And Historic Site is literally inside Jacksboro, Texas. Towns surrounding parks often encroach on the peace and serenity of parks. Not here. Jacksboro makes a good host for this park.
Even though Jacksboro is within a 60 mile commute of Fort Worth, the town doesn't seem busy or distracted by big city living.
This spring, the drought in Texas West of Dallas and Fort Worth has come to an end. A wet and stormy end. Lucky for us the weather was good. Spring storms spared us that week. I heard rangers say that the most serious storms occur in October. Given the weather this year, I'm not sure how that could be true.
Saturday evening at dusk, I got to preview the old Fort. The blue sky formed a perfect border to the hospital. I later found out that the smaller building to the right was the morgue.
Every park has a theme. Fort Richardson's theme is the old Fort. Five days each week, a Park Ranger gives tours of the Fort. Our Ranger, Ray Monroe, gave an excellent tour. He helped me understand what it meant to be a soldier at this fort in the day. He talked about daily life using the exhibits in the officer's quarters, enlisted men's quarters, hospital, and mortuary as props. In this picture, ray is talking about meal preparation and foods common at the time. All of the park guests on Ray's tour are rivited by the discussion.
As Ray led us from the Enlisted Men's Quarters to the hospital, Ray told us about the rumors of spirits haunting the old infirmary. He said that reinactors (folks who re-inact life at the fort) who stayed overnight in the hospital reported unexplained noises, door closing, and other common signs that a place is haunted. I suspect most of it can be explained by the way the old building is settling in the ground. Many of the walls have settling cracks and the doors don't fit well in their jams. On the other hand, a manequin's eerie silloutte is visible at dusk. One can easily imagine a spirit looking out over the parade ground toward the Officer's Quarters waiting for who knows what.
I hope Ray is still giving his super tours when we stay here again.
See every single picture taken while we visited the park here.
Copyright © 2007 Larry Pearson - All Rights Reserved