Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Apacheria

Picture of Fort Davis
Photo from the book, Texas Forts, by Wayne Lease.
Fort Davis National Historic Site
P.O. Box 1456
State Highways 17-118
Fort Davis, TX 79734
Phone: 915-426-3224
Fax: 915-426-3122
Chamber of Commerce, 915-426-3015

Fort Davis National Historic Site, along Texas Highways 17 - 118 at the foot of Sleeping Lion Mountain and Hospital Canyon, is considered perhaps the best preserved of all the 19th Century frontier forts and one of the best preserved "Buffalo Soldier" forts in the west. The first African American graduate of West Point Military Academy was stationed here shortly after the Civil War as the Quartermaster. He was later Court-martialed here and finally, posthumously, vindicated, and his good name restored by President Jimmy Carter. Lt. Henry O. Flipper, Fort Davis "Buffalo Soldier" and 1st Black West Point Graduate, Court-martialed 1881, finally Pardoned by President Clinton (2/19/99).

Military hobbyists and historians from all over the country visit the Davis Mountains specifically to see the Fort.

The site is well maintained and thoughtfully restored with interpretive and historical displays, an excellent book shop and a museum. Partially restored and fully restored buildings are scattered throughout the 474 acre grounds. Some have period furnishings. Military hobbyists and historians from all over the country visit the Davis Mountains specifically to see the Fort. Three hiking trails climb from the Fort, with two links to the hiking trail at Davis Mountains State Park. Small plaques explain natural features and their value to the Fort when it was active.

Points of Interest

Fort Davis National Historic Site, Self-guided tours daily. Admission is $3 per person. Children 15 and under are free. Hours are 8:00 am to 6:00 PM, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. 8:00 am to 5:00 PM the rest of the year. For more info: Please call: (432)-426-3224

Town of Fort Davis, county seat of Jeff Davis County, established when the fort was built by the U.S. Army in 1854, retains many remnants of its past. Fort Davis has the longest unpaved stretch (over one mile) of the San Antonio-El Paso Road still in use, with original adobe structures along its route. These buildings, many dating back to the 1870s are part of a self-guided driving tour. Other restored historic structures are sprinkled through town. The Methodist Church was built in 1884; every building on Fort Davis' square, except the post office, dates to the early 1900s. The courthouse and the four-celled jail, now used as the public library, were also built during this period.

The Art Gallery-Elsie Voigt, 17 miles from Fort Davis on Hwy. 166; 500 sketches in charcoal, water color, tempra and oil, railroad, landscape, and animal art.

Chihuahuan Desert Visitor Center, botanic gardens and nature trails related to the desert flora. On Texas 188, 3.5 miles south. Open May—August, Monday—Friday, 1–5; Saturday, Sunday 9–5.

Jeff Davis County Court House includes an arboretum of trees native to the county.

Davis Mountains State Park, in a sloping basin among the Davis Mountains, 2,869 acre with the primary service facility a multilevel hotel called the Indian Lodge, patterned in the pueblo style. Area interpretive center is open afternoons, June through August, featuring plant and animal material, both live and mounted; bird observation window and wildlife watering station. Camping, picnicking, dining room, trailer facilities, rest rooms, nature study, hiking. Six miles west of Fort Davis, Texas, 118 Park Road 3. Admission.

Limpia Hotel, restored country inn, (c. 1912), turn-of-the-century oak furniture, second story verandah and glassed-in sunporch; Boarding House restaurant. Two other restored buildings, plus cottage. Hotel Limpia Dining Rooms include the Sutter's Club. On the town square. 915-426-3237, 800-662-5517.

Overland Trail Museum, named for the historic trail that once passed its front door, the small museum was the former home, office, and shop of Nick Mersfelter; early resident who was the justice of the peace, barber, and area music master. Austrian-born Mersfelter, who could play almost any instrument, was once member of the San Antonio Philharmonic Orchestra. Contains pioneer ranch, trail, and law enforcement artifacts. Open Wednesday—Sunday afternoons in summer. Admission.

Prude Guest Ranch, six miles west on Texas 118, was established in 1889 as a cattle ranch. The ranch is popular for meetings and vacations. Horseback riding, hay rides, chuck wagon cookout, and more. For information/reservations, call 800-458-6232.

University of Texas McDonald Observatory at Mount Locke, 16 miles northwest, via Texas 118, Spur 78m, was built in 1932 following a bequest from William J. McDonald. Located on 6,791 foot peak of Mount Locke, the site was selected because of clear air, high ratio of cloudless nights, distance from a concentration of artificial lights, and dust and radiation filtering growths of shrubs and timber. A visitor center at the foot of Mount Locke presents programs daily 9–5. Each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening, weather permitting, the center conducts "Star Parties" for the general public, with viewing of stars and planets through telescopes set up by the observatory. Once a month, visitors can view celestial objects through 107-inch telescope. A fee is charged for the large telescope viewing. Reservations, 915-426-3640.

Special Events

Friends of Fort Davis Festival, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend; special evening tours in the Fall and Spring; various interpretive programs throughout the year. For up-to-date information, call 915-426-3224.

Bed & Breakfast

Old Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast -The Old Schoolhouse B & B and Hopes Ranch Guest House will be closed through February 5. During this time, you may check availability and book reservations online at; or you may leave us a phone message at 432-426-2050. On our web site you can find the answers to all of your questions. We can respond to your emails or phone messages after February 5. $93 - $101 for double occupancy.

The Veranda Country Inn - Court Avenue. Historic inn and guest house  surrounded by walled gardens and courtyards. Provides a restful getaway, spacious rooms/suites, private baths, and generous breakfasts, from $80 - $95, 1-888-383-2847 or (432) 426-2233. Email: [email protected]

Wayside Inn - on 4th St., at the base of Sleeping Lion Mountain. $55-$105.  Country-style house with resident hosts.  Seven bedrooms, each w/private bath, have king/queen-sized beds.  Sun porch offers panoramic view.  Healthy country breakfast, served buffet.   Family atmosphere; groups welcome.  Credit cards/personal checks.  Occupancy: 26.  800-582-7510 or (432) 426-3535, Fax: (432) 426-3574. Email: [email protected]

Guests Houses

Hope's Ranch  - The hospitality the Kennedy's made a hallmark of the Old Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast has been extended to include this incredible 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath vacation home. Situated on 40 acres on the eastern edge of Fort Davis, Hope’s Ranch offers sweeping vistas of the Davis Mountains, the village of Fort Davis, and the high grasslands nearby. Phone: (432) 426-2050 Fax: (432) 426-2509 e-mail us: [email protected]

Hummingbird Cottage- 301 Agave St. This cozy one bedroom bungalow is nestled behind rose arbors and native trees yet within walking distance of shopping and dining.  Phone/TV/Cable/VCR.  Fully equipped kitchen.  Sun porch with rockers for morning coffee. 800-752-4145 Fax the same. e-mail: [email protected]

H.E. Sproul Ranch – Located 7 1⁄2 miles from Fort Davis at 1900 Sproul Rd., this historic working cattle ranch offers guest suites, catering and meeting facilities. All suites offer the latest amenities, including refrigerator, microwave, satellite tv, dvd player, coffeepot, internet access, pillow-top mattresses and quality linens. Other activities available at the ranch include use of the hot-tub and fitness room, jeep tours, trap and skeet and hunting. 432-426-2500

La Cabaña Escondida (The Hidden Cabin) - Hwy. 118. across Limpia  Creek. Wonderfully secluded log cabin, sleeps up to four people. Kitchen, bath, living room with TV/VCR (no cable).  Awesome views from two porches.  Wildlife, hiking, quiet.  No smoking. Rates start at $95.  (432) 426-3097. e-mail: [email protected]

Limpia Cottage - On the edge of Sleeping Lion Mountain.  Two bedrooms, one bath, full kitchen.  Quiet, great views.  $110.  800-662-5517 or (432) 426-3237 at The Hotel Limpia.

Mary's Post Office - On Davis Street just North of the Courthouse. In 1908, James Edwards built this one-room building for his wife the postmaster.  It now serves as a unique getaway for couples. It has a Queen bed, clawfoot tub with a shower and more. Non-Smoking, No Pets $95 plus tax. Available April thru September. (432)426-3097  e-mail:[email protected]

McIvor Ranch - Also known as the U up U down is a working cattle ranch. The ranch has remained in the family for over 100 years. Gram’s Ranch House is a great place to stay here in the Davis Mountains. It is a neat house with a lot of charm. It has a wonderful view of the McDonald Observatory from front porch and a majestic view of Blue Mountain off the back porch. The house has three bedrooms with air conditioning in each room/two full baths. It has a living and dining area with a TV/VCR (no cable). The house has a fully equipped kitchen including a washer and dryer. There is lots of wildlife. Birding, hiking, biking or just relaxing. $150 a night. We would love for you to come join us here at the ranch for a couple of nights or a while. Please contact us for more information and available dates. Julie & Scott McIvor, HC 75 Box 1434, Fort Davis, TX 79734 (432) 426-2277 e-mail: [email protected]

Mrs. Mims House - Mrs. Mims’ rose covered arbor leads to a courtyard garden, with flower beds in blues, pinks and purples. The garden is totally fenced, to provide a private space for relaxing with your family, dog or in quiet solitude. The Mims House has a fully equipped kitchen. The living room has twin day beds and a rocker. Large queen bedroom opens to a back porch with wicker furniture - perfect for morning coffee. Central heat & air. Cable TV. $95-$110. Please call (800)752-4145 e-mail: [email protected]

The Ranch House - Built in the early 1900's by Robert Stuart Sproul, the Ranch House served as the Sproul Ranch headquarters. The ranch has been in the Sproul family and a working cattle ranch for over 100 years. It has two bedrooms, one bath, fully equipped kitchen, dining and living room, screened in backporch. Awesome scenery, hiking, birding, relaxing. Great view of Casket Mountain. Non-Smoking, No pets. $125/night. (432)426-3097. e-mail [email protected]

The Mulhern House - 1905 historic restored adobe home.  Two suites, one standard room, each with private baths.  $79-$89.  Call The Hotel Limpia at 800-662-5517 for reservations.

Overland Trail Campground & Cabins -Camping cabins (small, inexpensive, rustic camping cabins, Cable TV, refrigerator, microwave, bath w/hot showers). Airstreams for rent. Picnic Tables, Laundromat. Day, Week or Monthly Rates. Walk to all Fort Davis, Pets welcome. Rates: Cabins $45-$115. Airstreams: $49.50  Reservations Only: 1-888-478-5267 or for information (432) 426-2250 e-mail: [email protected] 

Veranda Country Inn Carriage House - Two bedrooms, large living room, one bath, full kitchen, furnished with antiques, full breakfast. In garden area behind the inn. From $120-$160. 1-888-383-2847 or (432) 426-2233 e-mail: [email protected]

The Webster House - 301 Agave St. Built 1898. Restored 2,000 sq. ft. adobe home. Three bedrooms, two full baths. Laundry room. Big porch with rockers overlooks tree shaded yard with gardens. Large living room. Fully equipped kitchen. Cable TV/VCR. Phone. e-mail: [email protected]
Wild Flower Cottage- The Wildflower Cottage was built in 1917. It is constructed of adobe built on site. Like homes of time it has large rooms, with high ceilings and stucco walls. Renovated in 2001, it was painted and furnished with warm, calming colors and hand painted murals and floors. Enjoy coffee in the handcrafted rockers or the old church pew located on the front porch, as spectacular sunrises appear before you. Then stroll along paths that wind their way through gardens of perennials and native plants. At the end of the day relax in one of two bath rooms. The master bath has an enclosed washer/dryer, shower, pedestal sink and large claw foot tub. Two bedrooms have queen pillow top beds, the third has two twins. Amenities include a fully equipped kitchen, TV with cable in the living room and master bedroom and phone. Pets and children are welcome. Family rates. Reservations: (800)752-4145.

Hotels & Motels

Butterfield Inn Cottages - In the heart of beautiful Fort Davis, our charming country cottages offer cathedral ceilings, wood burning fireplaces, central heat and air, queen beds, rocker recliners, cable T.V. and full private baths with Jacuzzi jets in the tub. We are within walking distance of shops and restaurants. For reservations or to order our Cream & Butter Fudge call (432) 426-3252, or e-mail: [email protected]

Fort Davis Motor Inn & RV Campground - new in 1995.  Nestled next to the Davis Mountains on Hwy. 17 North (inside the city limits).  Close to Fort Davis National Historic Site, restaurants and shopping.  Enjoy full hookups, 30' x 50' spaces, cable TV hookups, 20/30/50 amps, tenting area, picnic tables, grills, showers and restrooms.  Daily, weekly and monthly rates.  Call (432) 426-2112 or for reservations, call 800-80-DAVIS.

The Harvard Hotel – An eight-room suite hotel located at 109 State Street in downtown Fort Davis. Each room offers a refrigerator, microwave, tv with dvd player, coffeepot, quality linens, pillow-top mattresses, internet access and more. Built in 2005, it is the newest hotel in town and also offers retail and office space on its lower level. Additional suite accommodations at the Harvard Lodge on the H.E. Sproul Ranch and Davis Mountain Jeep Tours can also be booked through the Hotel. Call 432-426-2500 for more information.

The Hotel Limpia L.C. - Historic hotel w/ 39 rooms, suites on the square, and historic guest houses available. Restaurant serving dinner 7 days per week 5:30 pm to 9 pm, 2 gift shops: The Hotel Limpia Gifts and Javelinas and Hollyhocks. 800-662-5517 or (432) 426-3237.

Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park - 39 unit park lodge, 2 meeting rooms, restaurant. Located in the scenic Davis Mountains State Park. State Park has 100 camping sites. For  room reservations call (432) 426-3254.

Old Texas Inn - On main street. Old West atmosphere. 32" TV. The Drugstore restaurant and gift shop is downstairs.  $60 and up. 1-877-426-3784 or (432) 426-3118

Overland Trail Campground & Cabins - camping cabins (Small, inexpensive, rustic camping cabins, Cable TV, refrigerator, microwave, bath w/hot showers) Day, week or monthly Rates. Walk to all Fort Davis, Pets welcome. Rates: Cabins $45-$115. Reservations Only: 1-888-478-5267 or for information (432) 426-2250 e mail: [email protected]

Prude Guest Ranch - located 6 miles north on Hwy. 118 on the historic Prude Ranch. Motel units and family rooms: $49-75; sixteen bunkhouses for group use: $10/bunk. Indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, hiking trails, Ropes Challenge Course and scheduled horseback rides for guests and other visitors, upon reservation. Dining room with buffet meal service. Conference facilities. Children's Summer Camp. 800-458-6232 or (432) 426-3202 Fax: (432) 426-3502. e-mail: [email protected]

Stone Village Motel -At State & 3rd Streets. Pets welcome.  Restaurants nearby. Best rates in town, $45 - $60. 14 rooms. For Reservations call: 1-800-649-8487, (432) 426-3941. Fax (432) 426-2281. e-mail: [email protected]

Veranda Country Inn  -  This lovely historic inn has 14 rooms and includes a full breakfast in its room rate. $80 - 160.  888-383-2847 or 432-426-2233. e-mail: [email protected].

Communities and Related Links
Fort Davis Web Site
NPS Fort Davis Web Site

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