Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visiting Tucson's frontier Army post, Fort Lowell

Remains of Fort Lowell hospital
The adobe remnants of an old 19th century Army post can still be seen today in Tucson.

The adobe has deteriorated since Fort Lowell was abandoned by the Army in 1891. Remains are covered by open sheds to protect them from the elements.

The fort is located where Tanque Verde and Pantano creeks join to form the Rillito River. The Hohokam tribe had lived there centuries earlier. Fort Lowell replaces an earlier Army installation, Camp Lowell that was located elsewhere in Tucson. The post is named after General Charles R. Lowell who died from wounds suffered at the Battle of Cedar Creek.

Fort Lowell was in active use between 1873 and 1891, and was key in protecting the Tucson area from Apache attacks. The post was a large complex, serving approximately 250 soldiers and officers. It had an extensive hospital, parts of which are standing today.

The Army decommissioned the post in 1891, with Mexican families moving in after that.

The remains today can be seen from behind chain link fences. It’s free to view them, but a museum nearby charges admission. The museum is administered by the Arizona Historical Society. The museum is open only on Fridays and Saturdays, though the grounds are open during the week.

The museum is located at 2900 N. Craycroft Road.



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