An almost 170-year-old fort that played a big role in Texas history is about to get some renovations after receiving funds from Young County Commissioners.
Fort Belknap was established in 1851 and played an important role between the settlers and native Americans. Jim Hammond is the Director at Fort Belknap and he said the fort was used as a middle ground.
“The reason it was out here was as a buffer zone between the Native Americans and the settlers because of the conflict. They tried to keep the conflict down to try to protect the settlers,” Hammond said.
It is because of that importance and history that during Feb. 26, 2019, Young County Commissioners Court meeting, commissioners decided to designate $40,000 of the $50,000 Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds for renovations to Fort Belknap.
“This fort is a little unusual it is the only county-owned property along the Texas forts trail everything else is state owned. We had an obligation to this fort that had not been met for several decades now. The fort was slowly deteriorating. We were managing to keep just a little money to keep the grass mowed and some things happening out here that needed to be kept up but it wasn’t improving by any means,” Young County Commissioner Pct. 1 Mike Sipes said.
Now that they have the money, some new changes are on the way.
“We will need to put new lighting in, quality museum lighting. We are looking at sealing the building up a little better. Those are kind of the first, run new electrical we have air conditioning but need heat. So that’s another we are looking to make sure its comfortable year round,” Hammond said.
Renovations have already started as the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service came in and helped preserve the Grape Arbor that hadn’t been touched since it was put in back in the 1930s. No changes will be made to the historic structure of the buildings and in the end, Hammond said the goal is to make the most important fort in North Texas a destination stop once again.