Fort Leaton State Historic Site is one of Texas' most unusual historic sites with a massive adobe fortress built by frontiersman, Ben Leaton, in 1848, immediately after the Mexican War at a strategic site on the Chihuahua-San Antonio Trail in arid West Texas by the Rio Grande.
Leaton cornered a lucrative trade with area Native American tribes, supplied far-ranging U.S. Army patrols, and was accused of encouraging Indian raids on settlements in Mexico by trading weapons and ammunition for stolen livestock.
Of more than 40 original rooms around the large patio, 24 are architecturally restored and roofed with cottonwood vigas (beams) and rajas (split cottonwood), sheathed with adobe. Restoration, not yet complete, eventually will include frontier furnishings of living and guest quarters, dining room, kitchen, storerooms and grainary. Interpretive exhibits trace area history and culture; audiovisual programs on desert ecology.
The park is day-use only and offers picnicking areas, guided tours, plus exhibits on the history from 15th century, natural history, and archaeological history of the area. The site serves for historical study activities.
Backpacking, camping (no hookups), and lodging is available at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Permits for backpacking and camping, in Big Bend Ranch, can be obtained at Fort Leaton State Historic Site Visitors Center or the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center headquarters.
Admission: Adults, $2, Students, $1
Hours: Daily 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Closed December 25
Address: 3 miles east of Presidio on F.M. 170
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