The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

A Trip to the Past....Camp Verde, Texas

Thursday we headed for Camp Verde.  It's a unique place. The store was first established in 1857. A flood swept away the original building around 1900. The present building is a two story stone Southern Colonial design structure. It was originally established to offer goods and services to soldiers stationed at Fort Verde a mile to the west. By the time the Army deactivated the Fort, the General Store and Post Office was an important part of the community serving pioneer ranchers in the area.

You feel like you stepped back in time when you come to Camp's a link to the past as well as a place for today. It has been a few years since I visited and there have been a few changes. Since 2003, changes have been happening. There is a great new patio and a new front porch. There are also outdoor tables for lunch.

Our timing was perfect as they were able to pull tables together to seat all of us. It wasn't long before the place was full. Lunch was great. Almost everyone had a take home box as the portions were huge.

After lunch, we visited the store. They have a lot to see.

The post office is along one wall under a row of cowboy hats.

Lots of cute little kitschy signs and dodads to check out as well. The smell of cookies was overwhelming in a very good way. They were baking in the back room.........mmmmmmm. 

The patio is a great place to sit around and visit in the shade. And a roaring fire would be great if it was chilly.

We'll get to the camels in a few minutes.

Remember the pioneer ranchers I mentioned. Well, there were also Indians in the area....the Penateka Comanches. That is why there was an army fort.

Camp Verde is also famous for the "Camel Experiment". In 1854, Jefferson Davis who was the Secretary of War and later became the President of the Confederacy, petitioned Congress for $30,000 for the Army to experiment with using camels for supply transport and other military purposes.  President Pierce supported him and Major Henry Wayne and Lieutenant David Porter were put in command of securing the camels from the Middle East. Thirty-three camels arrived from Egypt along with four native drivers in 1856. Forty more arrived the next year. In 1861, the Civil War was ongoing and the Fort was captured by the Confederacy. Four years later, it was recaptured by the U.S. Government and there were over 100 camels. The camels passed all their tests doing better than either mules or horses; however, the Government needed money for Reconstruction after the Civil War and the Fort was deactivated in 1869 ending the unique experiment.

A fire destroyed the buildings of Fort Camp Verde in 1910 but the courage and spirit of the Great Camel Experiment is alive and well today.

It's a beautiful area and we had a great time.


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