Fort D.A. Russell (1)

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Fort D.A. Russell (1) (1911-1933) (1935-1946) - Established in 1911 as Camp Albert, later renamed Camp Marfa and finally named Fort D.A. Russell in honor of U.S. Civil War General David A. Russell. The fort was deactivated in 1945 and closed 23 Oct 1946.

Fort D.A. Russell Original Front Gate
Fort D.A. Russell Officer's Club Bldg. 98


Fort D.A. Russell (1) History

Originally organized in 1911 as a cavalry post and supply depot for U.S. Army border posts along the United States-Mexican border. It began as a tent camp named Camp Albert but was later renamed Camp Marfa in 1914. Camp Marfa was also the base for Signal Corps biplanes that patrolled the Rio Grande.

World War I

During World War I the post expanded to house units of federal, state, and national guard troops.

Post World War I

In 1929 the post became a permanent Army post and in 1930 it was named Fort D.A. Russell after U.S. Civil War General David A. Russell. A Wyoming post was first named Fort D.A. Russell in 1867 but when that post was renamed Fort Francis E. Warren in 1930 the Fort D.A. Russell name was assigned to the Texas post.

On 2 Jan 1933, the Army closed the post, but reactivated it in 1935 as the home base of the 77th U.S. Artillery.

World War II

The post expanded during World War II and was used as an air base, for WAC training, for chemical mortar training, as a prisoner of war camp and for border patrol. The Marfa Army Airfield was constructed nearby and was used as pilot training facility. Up to 200 German prisoners of war were housed in a camp on the post.

Post World War II

The fort was closed in 1945 and on 23 Oct 1946 it was transferred to the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The Texas National Guard assumed control of the base shortly afterward. The government sold the property in 1949 and returned the land to the city of Marfa.

Current Status

All of the post is in private hands with most of the officer housing serving as private dwellings. The majority of the enlisted quarters and logistics area are in the hands of the Chinati Foundation and are being used by artists to create and display their works. There are two markers on the post, one at the main gate and one at building 98 which served as the Officer's club. Access to the Chinati Foundation area is limited to guided tours of the art areas and staff conducted special tours. Call ahead for tour times and availability (432) 729-4362.

Location: At the southern edge of Marfa, Presidio County, Texas

Maps & Images

Lat: 30.297092 Long: -104.028339

Sources:

Links:

Visited: 7 Nov 2009

Fort D.A. Russell (1) Picture Gallery

Click on the picture to see a larger version. Contribute additional pictures - the more the better!

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