When we see this sign:
(not my photo - I am not that quick. I have trouble getting my sweetie to make a lot of u-turns for my photography,
so I have to be choosy when to pick a battle... This photo from Google Maps Street View)
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Found this great little story. From TexasEscapes.com:
The site that Spanish Fort now occupies was once a Taovaya Indian village. Mostly, the natives peacefully farmed and traded with the French. In 1759, Spanish troops under Diego Ortiz Parilla tried to claim the territory after a Taovaya and Comanche raid on the San Saba mission. To thwart the Spanish, the Taovaya built a large fort, surrounding it by a moat. The Taovaya and Comanche tribes (some say with French help, although that was probably not likely) captured a Spanish canon, and used it successfully in a battle that made the Lords of the South run for the hills. If the natives had known high-fives back then, they probably would've exchanged several.
But the history of the Western Frontier proved that peace never remained for long. In the 1830s, American settlers, in their good ol' manifest ways, decided that the fort they found in the fertile Red River valley should be rightfully theirs. Since they thought it belonged to the Spanish (may have been the canon that led them to this conclusion), they named the "new" town they founded Spanish Fort. The Taovaya, decimated by smallpox, decided that the neighborhood was going to the birds, so they headed west and merged with the Wichita.
Soon, the Chisholm Trail cut its way to Spanish Fort, which now had a population of about 1,000. The crossing at the Red River signaled the entry into untamed Indian Territory, which provided the cowhands a reason to need lots of wine, women, and song. Spanish Fort complied by opening 4 hotels, several saloons, bordellos, and a few specialty shops, including the first store of that famous cobbler H.J. Justin. The town also boasted a doctor, who remained busy tending to the dying after gunfights. It has been told that on one Christmas morning, 4 men found their way into the red soil of the Spanish Fort cemetery after an all-night poker game at the Cowboy saloon went awry. Ghost Towns tells of the cemetery holding 43 graves: 3 suicides and 40 murders.
Once the railroad made the Chisholm Trail obsolete, Spanish Fort lost its glory. Being so remote from major roads and rail lines, the inhabitants moved south to greener pastures. By the turn of the century the rough trail town quieted into a laid-back, tiny community. With the discovery of oil in fields surrounding Spanish Fort, the town rebounded long enough to open a schoolhouse in 1924, but now it too sits forgotten along the road that once lead cattle across the banks of the Red River.More in depth story at the Texas State Historical Association site. I wished I had found out all the details, I would have tracked down all this little ghost town's monuments.