Fort Lowell Park is now a large city park northeast of downtown Tucson. It is home to several ballparks and soccer fields. The ground is also the site of a former frontier Army fort. The original military post was opened in 1860 on the outskirts of the then tiny town of Tucson. This location was abandoned several years later and moved to the Fort Lowell site, seven miles northeast of downtown Tucson. The fort remained until it was decommissioned and abandoned in 1891.
The Fort was used as a staring point for several Army expeditions chasing down “renegade” Apache bands. Perhaps the most famous event that began at Fort Lowell was General Crook’s expedition that led to the “surrender” of Geronimo.
Today little remains of the original buildings. The old hospital building remains are the largest reminder of the original fort. The mud brick walls are now protected from the weather by a large shed roof. A fence now surrounds these ruins to keep them safe from vandalism.
The Commanding Officer’s quarters has been faithfully reconstructed and houses a small museum. The museum houses fascinating displays covering the life and times of life on a frontier military post. Military uniforms, saddles and weaponry are there for up close examination. Civilian history is also told.
Take time to visit Fort Lowell. As you walk the old parade grounds you can imagine the cavalry troopers in formation as the infantry marches into place for the sounding of the evening gun. Look at the large statue of a mounted bugler: let your mind travel back to Tucson in the 1880’s.
Once a year the old fort is the location of the Fort Lowell Day Celebration. Normally the second Saturday in February, this event is packed with activities including Cavalry drills, period bands, walking tours and of course lots of food vendors. Visit the Arizona Historical Society website for details.
5 thoughts on “Fort Lowell Park showcases 19th century military history of Tucson”
Reblogged this on Roadtirement and commented:
Fort Lowell in Tucson takes you back to the days of the 19th century, primarily the military history of the Arizona Territory.
It is so great that these old forts have been preserved. What’s sad is that not many people take the time to see or learn about them.
That is so true! It is too bad that more people do not like history…
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I think most people appreciate history, but they don’t make time for really learning something from it. I actually hated history classes in school, and I’ve always said that students should get to defer history until they are at least 30. It is nice to find others, like you, who enjoy it as much as we do.
I like that comment about deferring history ’til 30. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
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