Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fort Selden

Old covered wagon with the ruins of Fort Selden behind it 

In the interest of doing something new - anything new - I played a little GPS roulette and ended up at Fort Selden in Radium Springs, NM last weekend.  It's a quiet place, and I was the only person in the small museum besides the ranger despite the fact that state monuments are free for New Mexico residents on Sundays.

From the museum, I learned that the fort housed infantry and cavalry, including Buffalo Soldiers; that the officers' wives often described the place as dusty and unattractive; that Douglas MacArthur, the WWII general, spent a couple of years at Fort Selden in his childhood and sported a longish blond hair that made me mistake him as a girl in the photo; that in the 25 years that Fort Selden was active (1865-1890), more soldiers were killed by fellow soldiers than with run-ins with Apaches in the area; and that the soldiers had a particularly monotonous diet, among other odds and ends.  The museum painted a fairly grim picture of boredom, dust and disease -- hardly a desert paradise.