Fort Mason Texas (Historic Landmark)

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Fort Mason, Texas, was a significant military anchor point for the US military. Prominent Colonels, Lieutenants, and Generals – like Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston and General John Porter Hatch, occupied its walls and fought tooth and nail to make history.

Let’s explore the history and significance behind Fort Mason as we follow its timeline from inception to present-day Texas.  

Fort Mason, Texas, served as a frontline military outpost to combat the Indigenous Lipan Apache, Native American Comanches, and Kiowa more effectively. It was established in 1851 and closed in 1871. It became a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1936, and Mason citizens restored it in 1975.  

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What’s There To Know About Fort Mason Texas?

Fort Mason served as a strategic outpost and frontline defense against the Indigenous Lipan Apache, Native American Comanches, and Native American Kiowa on July 6, 1851. The military abandoned it in the 1870s, and citizens restored it in 1975. It became a Historic Landmark in 1936.

Fort Mason received its name from a US Army second lieutenant George Thompson Mason, who lost his life during the Thornton Affair involving the Mexican-American War close to Brownsville on April 25, 1846. Fort Mason became an official outpost on July 6, 1851, for fighting the Lipan Apache,  Comanches, and Kiowa on the frontlines.

When reports revealed that the Native Americans stole horses, the military closed Fort Mason in January of 1854. They reoccupied it on January 14, 1856, with Second United States Cavalry companies A – I, led by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston.

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On March 29, 1861, the federal troops got new orders from the higher-ups to evacuate Fort Mason and relinquish control to The Confederate States Army. On December 24, 1866, the US Army reoccupied Fort Mason under the leadership and command of Gen. John Porter Hatch.

The fort’s personnel found it challenging to rebuild society after the American Civil War. Many personnel abandoned their duties and had to endure military disciplinary procedures.

The condition of Fort Mason had deteriorated substantially by January 13, 1869, with 25 shaky buildings housing the remaining 70 soldiers. The worsening conditions peaked on March 23, 1869, and the soldiers abandoned the fort.  

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When Did Fort Mason Texas Close?

Texas readied multiple frontier soldiers during the 1870s, allowing the fort to reopen, serving as their base of operations. The order to shut down Fort Mason finally came in 1871, and so Capt. James M. Hunter and his soldiers pulled out for the last time.

Over time Mason citizens recycled material from Fort Mason to build and reinforce their homes. It wasn’t until 1975 that the citizens decided to restore the fort as close as possible to its former glory. Today the fort is an official Historic Landmark of Texas, with a unanimous agreement in 1936.

Mason Country Historical Society owns modern-day Fort Mason and welcomes visitors to attend the Fort Mason Museum tours. You’ll explore the magnificent reproduction officers’ quarters and many other significant fort areas.  

What Was The Significance Of Fort Mason Texas?

The US War Department established Fort Mason to fight the Indigenous Lipan Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche Native American tribes more effectively on the frontlines.

Lt. Col. William J. Hardee worked with surveyor Richard Austin Howard to choose the site for Fort Mason. It was to be a site on Post Oak Hill, close to Centennial Creeks and Comanche. Together they secured the strategic position necessary to hold their ground and attain victory for Mason.

FAQs About Fort Mason Texas

Did Mason Get Its Name From Its Fort?

Mason County was initially part of Gillepsie County, but Fort Mason’s establishment had authorities rename the area to Mason in 1858.

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Who Built Fort Mason?

The Second Dragoons companies A & B collaborated with Bevet Major Hamilton W. Merrill to construct Fort Mason.  

Does Fort Mason Have An Entrance Fee?

There is no entry fee for visiting Fort Mason, so feel free to spend the day with friends and family and appreciate the historic wealth all around.


Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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