New Releases: August 2018

Last summer, Team TAMI headed west for the Alpine Round-Up. There, we encountered one of our most unexpected program participants: a park ranger—in full ranger attire!—from the Fort Davis National Historic Site.

Established in 1854, Fort Davis is one of the last remaining frontier military posts in the Southwest. At its height, it held over 100 structures and housed over 400 troops. By 1891, however, Fort Davis outlived its frontier purpose and was left abandoned. It received national historic site designation in 1961, and remains a frequently visited tourist attraction.

The Fort Davis National Park Archives collection, now available on the Texas Archive website, features a wide array of films, from staged historical reenactments to public service announcements to environmental documentaries. This film represents the earliest footage in the collection, dating to 1932. Amongst the structures recognized are the commanding officer’s barracks and two multi-story officer’s quarters at the edge of a cliff.

The Fort Davis National Historic Site held its official dedication ceremony on April 4, 1966. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, known for her environmental initiatives, presided over the occasion. National Park Service director George Hartzog welcomed Johnson as she took the podium, where she described the importance of historic preservation to reveal the motives and experiences of Texans in the past. This silent footage captures the ceremony and the notable attendees.

Fort Davis is just one of many attractions West Texas has to offer. This 1950s home movie compilation shows off many others, including the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, Balmorhea State Park, and the McDonald Observatory. Visiting families enjoy various outdoor recreational activities, such as swimming, horseback riding, and hiking through canyons.

Explore the entire Fort Davis National Park Archives collection here.