The hospital at Fort Chadbourne was the first building to be erected when the 8th
U.S. Infantry arrived at the Post in 1852. Requisitions and numerous inspections
of buildings from the time period showed a need for a floor and window glass to
be placed in the hospital. But, apparently it had neither. In 2008, archeological investigations proved this to be so. Little if any window pane glass fragments were found at window locations. Although it appeared in some areas that there was a plaster substance on the floor, it could have been used when nothing else was available, to help keep the dirt inside the building to a minimum.
The biggest question arose when a large cellar like hole measuring 9'x14'x6' was
discovered in the northwest corner inside the ruin. During the excavation, larger sandstone rocks, such as the ones used on
outside walls of all the Fort buildings, began to appear. As the excavation continued, some of the large rocks uncovered showed signs of plaster and graffiti. It was immediately known that these rocks had to be hauled from another location to fill in this hole. At the bottom
of the hole, evidence of a burned wood was found, which could have possibly been
a top covering the hole at one time.
All accounts led us to believe that this rock could be from the second officer’s quarters, where the foundation was uncovered when an electrical line was being buried. When the troops returned in 1867, some of the buildings were beginning to crumble. Most likely some of that rock was used to fill in the basement. Larry Riemenschneider with the Concho
Valley Archeology Society, and a Steward with the Texas Historical Commission,
researched long hours. He contacted other forts to see if an area, such as this had ever been located in other post hospitals. None had.
We have had many folks suggest a “dead room,’ but we believe they buried the dead very quickly off post. Most likely it served as a root cellar or a place where items used for medicinal purposes were stored.
At this time the hospital, although stabilized in 2003, still remains in ruins. Fort Chadbourne has no plans to restore this building. We feel it adds to the landscape, giving people a deeper understanding of the age of the Fort. And everyone seems to be in agreement, that they prefer to see the old with the newly
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