- 651 Fort Chadbourne Road
- Bronte, Texas
Hours & Fees
Tuesday - Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Free - Donations Accepted
The Fort Chadbourne Visitor Center, Roberta Cole Johnson Building, was completed in 2012. The 12,500 square foot facility houses over 300 antique guns, thousands of military and Native American artifacts, a Medal of Honor display, cowboy heritage, information on the restoration of Fort Chadbourne and much more. The Visitors Center also has a research library which is available upon appointment.
Established on October 28, 1852, as many as 450 or as few as 50 men were stationed at Fort Chadbourne during its years of operation. Men such as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, George Pickett, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John Bell Hood passed through its doors.
At the outbreak of the Civil War the fort was relinquished to the Texas Regimental Forces, some of whom were mustered into the Confederacy at the post. Following the Civil War, Fort Chadbourne was reoccupied in 1867 by Commander Eugene Beaumont and the 4th U.S. Cavalry. Due to lack of water and supplies, along with deterioration of the buildings, the troops were moved to an area along the Concho River and established Fort Concho. Fort Chadbourne was decommissioned and used as a picket post until 1873.
The Comanche and Kiowa were the two main Native American tribes associated with Fort Chadbourne. Chiefs Satanta, Buffalo Hump, Satank, Kicking Bird, and Big Tree all roamed freely through the area.
Thomas Lawson Odom was the first of eight generations to call Fort Chadbourne home. In 1877, he and his wife Lucinda purchased land from Mary Maverick, widow of Samuel Maverick, that included historic Fort Chadbourne for $500 in gold. Odom served on the Texas Legislature in 1882 during the time of the fence cutting wars. He was pivotal in passing the law, making it a felony to cut another man’s fence in Texas. The Odom’s resided in what is now referred to as the Double Officer’s Quarters. The building burned in 1919.
In 2007, the quarters was restored, and is now part of the Fort Chadbourne tour. It is presented as the first Ranch Headquarters of what would become the Chadbourne Ranch. The rooms are furnished with Odom family heirlooms.
Although the names have changed through the years from Odom, Wylie, to Richards, because of two generations of women, to this date eight generations have resided on the Chadbourne Ranch.
A living history event is held annually on the first weekend of May. Hundreds of school children attend the "education day" activities on Friday.
There is no charge to visit Fort Chadbourne; however, donations are gratefully accepted.
Read more about Fort Chadbourne in the Handbook of Texas Online.