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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Arizona’s Fort Bowie Historic Site Continues 150th anniversary Observance in October

Arizona’s Fort Bowie Historic Site Continues 150th anniversary Observance in October

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A presentation by two noted historians and a performance by the Old Arizona Brass Band this month will help Fort Bowie National Historic Site near Willcox, Arizona mark the 150th anniversary of the Old West fort.

Originally established in 1862, Fort Bowie was built during the decades-long conflict between the U.S. military and the Chiricahua Apaches.

cavalry_barracks_doorwayThe National Historic Site commemorates the bitter conflict between Chiricahua Apaches and the U.S. military. It provides insight into a "clash of cultures" between a young nation in pursuit of "manifest destiny" and the hunter/gatherer society fighting to preserve its existence.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, Fort Bowie NHS will host Douglas C. McChristian and Edwin R. Sweeney , two historians and noted authors, at the visitor center.

Both will speak about the fort and the history of the Apache Pass area, with McChristian speaking at 11 a.m. and Sweeney speaking at 1 p.m.

Sweeney is the author of several bibliographies and books about Apache leaders including Cochise, Geronimo and Mangas Coloradas.

McChristian has written extensively about the U.S. Army during the late 1800s, including a book specifically about Fort Bowie. Altogether, six books between the two authors are sold at the visitor center.

Then on Oct. 27, the Old Arizona Brass Band, also known as the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regimental Band, will be performing music from the western frontier.

The band will be performing two sets at the visitor center between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Complimentary cake and sarsaparilla soda will be served between sets.

Additionally, park rangers will conduct guided hikes into the site every Sunday during October. Visitors can meet a ranger at the Fort Bowie trailhead on Apache Pass Road at 10 a.m. on Oct. 14, 21, and 28 for a one and a half mile hike into the fort ruins.

The hikes will focus primarily on the chronology of events that led to the establishment of the fort, including the Bascom Affair and the Battle of Apache Pass. Participants should bring water and snacks and wear sturdy shoes. Guided hikes end at the visitor center, and visitors can make their way back to the trailhead at their leisure.

Throughout October, visitors to Fort Bowie NHS also will be able to enjoy a collection of artifacts on loan from the Western Archeological and Conservation Center in Tucson.

All of the artifacts were found at Fort Bowie, and speak to the role or presence of women and children at the fort. The artifacts are on display at the visitor center, open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

All events are free and open to both individuals and groups. Visitors should be prepared to hike to the fort ruins and visitor center, a round-trip distance of 3 miles.

The trail is well-marked and includes easy to moderate terrain. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic lunches (no food is available onsite) and spend the day exploring and enjoying the area.

The site includes a visitor center and bookstore, which are open daily. Weather conditions this time of year are variable, but visitors should bring plenty of water, sun protection, and comfortable walking shoes . People with limited mobility can contact the visitor center for more information about accessibility options.

Fort Bowie NHS is located off Apache Pass Road. From Willcox, Arizona travel 22 miles south on State Route 186 to Apache Pass Road. Turn left on Apache Pass Road and travel eight miles along the dirt road to the trailhead parking lot. From Bowie, travel 14 miles south on Apache Pass Road to the trailhead parking lot. Apache Pass Road turns into a gravel road approximately 12 miles from Bowie.

For more information about events commemorating the fort's sesquicentennial, contact the visitor center at (520) 847-2500 ext. 1 or visit
www.nps.gov/fobo .

 
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