Fort Lancaster comes alive with annual frontier days


History came to life May 24-25 at Fort Lancaster as the annual “Western Frontier Days” took place with reenactments of soldiers, camels, livestock, chuckwagons and pioneers took on a resemblance of days gone by.

The annual event brings the old fort to life with live presenters giving visitors a peek of the history which echoes the region of southwest Texas.

“We have a lot of very knowledgeable people who come to this event. It usually attracts a lot of families and retired people,” Jefferson Spilman stated. Spilman has been the site manager for the past four-and-a-half years.

Fort Lancaster, located just east of Sheffield, is an 82-acre property which has been preserved to keep the history alive of a fort built to provide protection for settlers, trade and communication. The fort was established in 1855.

The fort hosts a museum with a video explaining about the fort and has many camel artifacts. A small gift shop offers souvenirs of the historical place. There is a dress up station where people can blend into that section of history and take home a photo to prove they were there. A replica of “Old Kate” is part of that. “Old Kate” was a gentle camel brought into Austin. The camel was a favorite of children in the city and the old camel would go to her knees to let a child scramble on her back and then proceed to give that child a ride.

The federal government first settled the fort but abandoned it in 1861, resulting in Texas taking over. At noon during “Western Frontier Days”, the American flag was lowered to have the Texas flag raised to represent this historical time in history.