Fort Belknap Entrance Gates
Fort Belknap was originally constructed in 1851 as one of the frontier defense posts in Young County, Texas. It was abandoned in 1859, and over the years, dismantled for the materials, with the exception of two buildings (National Park Service).
In 1936, the State of Texas, with supplemental money from the Federal government through the WPA program, reconstructed buildings on the original foundations as part of the Centennial celebration (commemorative plaque on entrance gates, National Historic Landmark, National Park Service). The corn storage building was partially standing, and the powder magazine was still intact. The corn storage building (now used as a clothing museum) and other buildings were reconstructed. The original fort had no exterior defense system, but part of the WPA reconstruction built a short rock wall around the fort area, and an entrance gate (Wooldridge, personal communication).
Reconstructed buildings included the commissary building and barracks. A period kitchen was built, although it was not part of the original fort. The commissary building is currently used as a museum, and the barracks are used as meeting rooms for community events.
Note: While some sources state this was a Public Works Administration (PWA) project, the work was undertaken by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1937 the Wichita Falls Times described a ‘typical’ WPA project in a photo caption: “the partially restored Fort Belknap, historic landmark of Northwest Texas, located in Young county. The structure pictured is the “corn building,” used as a storage space for grain.“
National Historic Landmarks Program. "Fort Belknap." (Retrieved from tsp.cr.nps.gov)
"Total of 146 WPA Projects Completed Since July 1, 1935 in 14 Counties of This Area," Wichita Falls Times: Feb. 7, 1937 (pg. 16): https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/774046732/
Wooldridge, G. R. (2013, March 13). Personal communication. (Note: Mr. Wooldridge lived in nearby Proffit and was 11 at the time of the restoration and reconstruction).
Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on March 18, 2013.
Additional contributions by Evan Kalish.
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