Road to Nowhere

Cutting across America’s heartland, US‑83 remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Fort McKavett State Historic Site

Farther along US-190, 17 miles west of Menard then another 6 miles south on Hwy-864, Fort McKavett (325/396-2358, daily, $4 adults) was called the “prettiest post in Texas” by Civil War General William Sherman. Established in 1852 as the “Camp on the San Saba,” Fort McKavett served as a first line of defense against Comanche raids along the Texas frontier and provided protection for travelers along the Upper San Antonio-El Paso Trail. Temporarily abandoned in 1859, the post was re-established in 1868 after local residents lobbied for Army protection. All four of the Army’s African-American units, whose ranks came to be known as “Buffalo Soldiers” by the Indians, eventually served at McKavett, including the famous 9th and 10th Cavalries. Fourteen of the original 40 buildings have been restored, including the officers’ quarters, barracks, hospital, school, bakery, and post headquarters. Seven other buildings lie in ruins, and the rest are gone. The hospital ward serves as a visitors center and contains interpretive exhibits explaining the natural and military history of the area. A nature trail, passing through pastures of spring wildflowers, leads to a shady dell around the clear waters of Government Springs.

Fort McKavett