Focus on the Frontier Fort Phantom Hill
“Post on the Clear Fork” 1851 until 1854
The fort was built as part of the second line of U.S. forts laid out in the early 1850's to protect the westward-moving settlement of Texas. The fort was occupied by the U.S. Army from 1851 until 1854. Shortly after the army abandoned Fort Phantom Hill, fire destroyed most of the log walls and thatched roofs of the buildings. However, there’s a lot that remains for visitors to inspect and explore, including an intact stone powder magazine building, a stone guardhouse, an almost-intact commissary building, more than a dozen stone chimneys, and stone foundations from the original fort.
In the late 1850’s, the abandoned fort was used as a stop on the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach route which was the longest wheeled trip in the world. Fort Phantom Hill was used again during the Civil War by the Confederacy's Frontier Battalion, and in 1871 became a sub post of Fort Griffin near Albany.
After 1875, a town grew up around the ruins of Fort Phantom Hill. The location functioned first as a buying and shipping point for buffalo hides. The 1880 census record shows more than 500 people living at the fort, which had a hotel and the staples of most West Texas towns. But by the 1890s, the area was pretty much abandoned.
The Fort Phantom Hill property has been owned by the family of John Guitar since he purchased it in 1928. Mr. Guitar's grandson, Jim Alexander of Abilene, purchased the property in 1969. In 1997, Mr. Alexander deeded the 22-acre site to the Fort Phantom Foundation to help assure its long-term preservation and to make it more accessible to the public. The site is open anytime during daylight hours and is free of charge to visitors.
Located 11 miles North of Interstate-20 on FM 600 North of Abilene.