Davis Mountains State Park

History

Davis Mountains State Park, 2,708.9 acres in size, is located in Jeff Davis County, four miles northwest of Fort Davis, approximately halfway between Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park. The original portion of the park was deeded to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by a local family. Original improvements were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933; the park has been open to the public since the late 1930s, and formal campground facilities were added in 1967.

The Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range in Texas, were formed by volcanic activity during the Tertiary geologic period, which began around 65 million years ago. These mountains were named after Jefferson Davis, U.S. secretary of war and later president of the Confederacy, who ordered the construction of the Fort Davis army post. Most Indian bands just passed through the Davis Mountains, although the Mescalero Apaches made seasonal camps. As West Texas settlements increased, raiding in Mexico and along the San Antonio-El Paso Trail became a way of life for Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches. Few Americans had seen the Davis Mountains prior to 1846. After the war with Mexico, a wave of gold seekers, settlers and traders came through the area and needed the protection of a military post - Fort Davis. Fort Davis was active from 1854 until 1891, except for certain periods during the Civil War. In 1961, the historic fort ruins were declared a National Historic Site, and a vast restoration/preservation program was initiated by the National Park Service.


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