Fort Stockton is located on the east side of stockton town and consists of original and reconstructed military buildings. Today the site includes Officers' Row, Guardhouse, Enlisted Men's Barracks, and the Parade Grounds. There is a visitor's Center at the west side of parade grounds.
Military presence began here with the establishment of Camp Stockton in 1858 by troops of the 1st and 8th Infantry, US Army. It was named for Commodore Robert Field Stockton, a naval officer who distinguished himself during the Mexican War. This first site was southwest of the present location, near the present Courthouse.
The post protected travelers and settlers on the numerous roads and trails that made use of the abundant water supply of Comanche Springs. It was here that these trails crossed the Comanche War Trail.
The US Army withdrew from Texas during the Civil War and abandoned Camp Stockton in 1861. Confederate troops briefly occupied the site until they too, withdrew. By the end of the war little remained of this first post. In July 1867, Colonel Edward Hatch, Commander of the 9th Cavalry, re-established Fort Stockton at its present location.
The new fort was garrisoned by four companies of the 9th Cavalry, one of the new regiments created for the black men who sought security in the US Army after the Civil War. These black enlisted men, called "buffalo soldiers" by the Indians, were commanded by white officers.
The post-war fort was occupied for nineteen years (1867-1886). The fort's 960 acres were leased from civilian landowners. An additional 25 acres on Comanche Creek were leased for the fort's garden.
By the early 1880's the "Indian menace" was no longer a threat, and the future of the fort was limited. It was finally abandoned in 1886 as the frontier moved west.
The fort consisted of about 35 buildings. Two of them were built of limestone and the rest were built of adobe. Of the original buildings, only four remain: the Guardhouse and three of the eight Officers' Quarters.
The Guardhouse, one of the first buildings completed, contains jailer's quarters, three solitary confinement cells, and a larger holding cell. A stone set into the south exterior wall is inscribed, "Erected 1868 by Lieut. J.L. Humfreville, Q M" (Quartermaster).
Of the three remaining Officers' Quarters, OQ #7 has been restored to its 1870's appearance. During the restoration, one room was left bare of interior plaster to reveal construction techniques unique to adobe materials.
The City of Fort Stockton is committed to the acquisition, restoration and reconstruction of the Fort. Extensive archeological excavations preceded and documented the reconstruction of the Barracks and their accompanying Kitchen/Mess Halls.
Historic Fort Stockton, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, is owned by the City of Fort Stockton and managed by the Fort Stockton Historical Society. A support group, Friends of Fort Stockton, assists in fund raising for the continued development of the fort.