In Texas: the Uses of Yesterday

The post hospital burned down long ago. So did Officers' Quarters No. 5. But the 21 remaining limestone buildings at Fort Concho—the enlisted men's barracks, the two-story headquarters that dominates the parade ground, the officers' row—all glint beige-red in the West Texas sunset as they did 100 years ago.

Complicated historical ghosts inhabit the place. In the 1870s the fort was the headquarters for the U.S. Army's District of the Pecos. Across this territory over the centuries, Comanches and Kiowas and Kickapoos, Mexicans and Spanish and the other European strains all foraged, collided,...

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