Fort Stockton was developed around Comanche Springs – which was once the third largest source of spring water in Texas– and near the military fort that was established in 1859 and named for Robert Field Stockton, who made a name for himself during the Mexican War. The Confederate Army took possession of the fort when the Civil War began; however, they abandoned it the following year. In 1867 the army rebuilt the fort making it larger and more permanent. It was used to protect travelers and settlers from Native Americans. The fort was also a valuable economic asset to the area because it provided jobs for freighters and laborers and a market place for farmers until it was abandoned in 1886.
Today parts historic Fort Stockton, which is located two blocks east of Main Street, are still standing. The original guardhouse remains. Some of the officer's quarters are now private residences and several of the buildings have been restored to their original state. A row of officers' quarters, enlisted men barracks, and parade grounds are a part of the refurbished fort. It also includes a museum and visitor's center.
In addition to the fort, there are plenty of fun and interesting sites to see in Fort Stockton. For instance, Fort Stockton is a part of the Big Ben region that lies within the Chihuahuan Desert. This desert covers most of northern Mexico, the Trans Pecos Region in Texas, and parts of New Mexico. Although the average annual rainfall is twelve inches or less, this desert is teeming with plant and animal life that has been able to adapt to this arid environment.
If you use Fort Stockton as your beginning point, you should make a visit to Big Bend National Park your first stop. Established in 1944 to preserve superb examples within the Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, Big Ben National Park encompasses over 1,100 square miles. It contains three distinct areas: the Chisos Mountains, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Rio Grande. All three areas are worth exploring and provide a wide range of experiences.
Visitors can hike into Big Bend National Park one day and explore Fort Stockton's historic and cultural sites the next. The Annie Riggs Memorial Museum is one of the town's premier cultural institutions. Built in 1900, it was once an abode hotel. The museum is filled with artifacts, photos, and furniture that record the history of the town. It also contains one of the first pianos in Fort Stockton.
Fort Stockton offers visitors a wide range of activities, events, and sites to visit. Historic sites such as Comanche Springs, Fort Stockton, and the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum as well as awesome natural places make Fort Stockton a great place to visit.