Visit Historic Fort Stockton Texas
If your vacation in Texas or road trip takes you into west Texas, there is a fabulous museum located at Fort Stockton Texas, a west Texas town easily reached by Interstate-10. The Annie Riggs Hotel and Boardinghouse, which today is a world renown museum and considered Fort Stockton's first real hotel, was bought by a woman named Annie Riggs back in 1904. Annie Riggs managed the hotel until she died in 1931. The building was wisely turned into a museum in 1954 and contains a fascinating and very high quality display of 19th and 20th century memorabilia.
The museum is comprised of fourteen rooms which display late 18th and very early 19th century furnishings, clothes, kitchen items, artwork and a courtyard with dozens of branding irons, a carriage and an old frontier plow. You'll also find some interesting reading material. You'll see the first electric stove in Ft Stockton TX which Annie Riggs bought in 1922. Another very interesting exhibit is a recreated boarding room with the actual iron bed that Annie bought for $6.75 from Sears. During the days of Annie Riggs hotel, a room might cost .50 cents a night and a family meal perhaps .35 cents. The hotel/boarding house's wrap-around verandas and gingerbread trim is an excellent example of Territorial architecture. This hotel would have been considered quite luxurious in 1900 Fort Stockton Texas.
The Old Annie Riggs Hotel
|Wrap around porch|
If you're looking for a 1902 voting ballot box, you'll find one on display that was fished out of the Pecos River. There is an archeology area that displays tusks of a Columbian mammoth found only about eight miles from the museum site. Cowboy artifacts include boots and spurs from the era. You'll also be able to view a good collection of pioneer women clothing. There is a Temporary Exhibit Room that features changing displays and a mural of Pecos County history. The goal per the Fort Stockton Historical Society is to preserve, restore, and utilize the historical past. They have done an excellent job of that.
Other fun activities at the Annie Riggs Museum include country and folk music concerts that are put on every other Thursday during July and August. These outdoor programs are free and visitors are very welcome.When you're ready to plan a vacation to west Texas you may want to check the calendar for special events in and around Fort Stockton.
See these additional Western Trips articles on the links below...
The Nimitz National Museum / Fredericksburg TX
Visit Gruene Texas on the Old Stagecoach Line
Annie Riggs History
|Annie Riggs Hotel courtyard|
Annie was married in 1877, had six children and then the marriage fell apart in the late 1880's. Annie married for a second time in 1891 to a man named Barney Kemp Riggs. Annie still had a few of her children with her and Barney had one. Barney Riggs had a shaky past, being sentenced to life in prison at the Yuma Territorial Prison for an Arizona murder but later pardoned for reportedly saving the life of the governor. As part of the deal, however, Barney was told to leave Arizona and not come back. Barney Kemp Riggs was shot and killed in 1902 and passed away at the old Koehler Hotel with Annie by his side. Annie went ahead and bought this same hotel two years later and renamed it the Riggs Hotel.
Before Annie Riggs purchased the hotel for a reported $5,000, the structure was known as the Koehler Hotel. The Koehler Hotel was built in 1899 and served as a stage stop on the trans Texas route. Actually, Fort Stockton was a stage and freighter stopover long before Annie Riggs arrived. Originally referred to as Comanche Springs, the area was located at a key junction.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Line came to Fort Stockton from the northeast on it's journey from Missouri to California. Other stage, mail and freight routes passed by Fort Stockton on the San Antonio to El Paso route. The military fort itself was at a key location to protect overland travelers from Comanche and Apache raids. The old military post of Fort Stockton (abandoned during the Civil War but rebuilt later) is located only a few blocks east of the Annie Riggs Museum and is a must stop while on your Texas vacation. The fort consists of several restored buildings around the parade grounds. Also, the fort museum has a lot of information and displays regarding the Buffalo Soldiers who were stationed at Fort Stockton after the Civil War as well as many rare frontier military artifacts. The fort museum also displays a rare Sharps Rifle 1874 Sporting model among many other period rifles.
Nearby Big Bend National Park
Another thing to make note of when you plan a vacation to this part of Texas is that the remote yet beautiful Big Bend National Park is not far to the south of Fort Stockton. Many people who live outside of Texas may ask, where is Big Bend? The question probably is asked because of the remoteness of the park. The fact is that Big Bend Park attracts thousands of tourist annually. Big Bend is also unique for it's ruggedness and is probably the most remote National Park in the country. That's one of the big reasons it attracts so many people planning Texas vacations.
Stay at Fort Stockton
|Carriage in courtyard|
The Annie Riggs Museum is located at 301 S. Main St. in Fort Stockton Texas ( corner of Main and Callaghan ). It's a terrific place to visit while take a driving break from Interstate-10.
If you want to get a real taste of old southwest Texas, the Annie Riggs Museum is a place not to miss. The Fort Stockton Historical Society has done a magnificent job there. The museum is open six days per week. Their phone number is 432-336-2167.
(Article and photos copyright Western Trips
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