| Here are some of our photos taken of this beautiful old fort.
||Though disappointed at the loss of its county seat status, Fort Griffin continued to bustle, serving as a major supply source for buffalo hunters from 1874 through 1877, and a stop off for the many cowboys herding cattle up the Western Trail to the Dodge City, Kansas railheads. Businesses of all kinds sprouted up to meet the needs of the growing population which including numerous stores, saloons, and restaurants. A newspaper called the Fort Griffin Echo was published from 1879 to 1882, and the town even sported an academy for several years. At its height, Fort Griffin had a permanent population of about 1,000 and an estimated transient population of nearly twice that.
However, by the late 1870’s the buffalo on the plains were beginning to dwindle, reducing the many buffalo hunters that called the Fort Griffin home. Vital to the town’s economy, businesses began to suffer and soon packed up and moved to the new town of Albany.
In 1881, two events would spell the final death blows for the town of Fort Griffin. By this time, the Indians of the area had been pushed westward or placed on reservations and the soldiers of the fort were no longer needed. After 14 years of guarding the area population, the U.S. flag at the fort was lowered for the last time on May 31st.
|That same year, the Texas Central Railroad was pushing through the region and Fort Griffin was working desperately to entice them through their city. However, the citizens of nearby Albany raised $50,000 to lure them through their town.
The small town survived for several years, gradually diminishing in size. By the 1940’s the school was consolidated with Albany’s and a short time later the post office closed.
Today, there are only a couple of original buildings left at the town site, but several “new” ones have been reconstructed over original foundations. What’s left of this once thriving town is situated on the Collins Creek Ranch, a wildlife habitat, working ranch, and commercial hunting property. Though privately owned, its owners do allow visitors on the property to view what’s left of this once lawless place.
The fort itself was preserved for years as the Fort Griffin State Historical Park; however, on January 1, 2008, the site was transferred to the Texas Historical Commission. The 506 acre park features the partially restored ruins of old Fort Griffin on the bluff overlooking the old town site and the Clear Fork of the Brazos River Valley. Several buildings remain including the mess hall, barracks, administration building, powder magazine, and the restored bakery. Other remnants include a hand dug well, cistern, numerous foundations, and a rock chimney. The small soldier’s barrack buildings have been recreated. A portion of the official Texas Longhorn herd resides in the park that also provides camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
With the Texas Historical Commission now operating the site, a few changes are currently being made, including clearing the mesquite trees and cactus from the fort, as these are not historically accurate. This vegetation came up the trail with the longhorns. The Visitor’s Center will also be expanded and their are hopes that archaeological digs might be conducted in the future.
1701 North US Highway 283
Replicas where the wild town laid At bottom of the cliffs before the river. It is a functional privately owned ranch. Got some cute cows and long horns freely roaming. Beautiful property. Excited that S.G.P was granted night time access as well. Hopefully I can mange getting through the photos and auto in the coming week.