Old Forts and New Amenities

In: Collateral Values: The Natural Capital Created by Landscapes of War. Todd Lookingbill and Peter Smallwood (Eds), Springer, In preparation with expected publication in 2017.


Chapter 4: Old Forts and New Amenities in the Southern Plains

Jason P. Julian

Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX


Abstract – The Southern Plains of the United States (U.S.), specifically the states of Texas and Oklahoma, is a region of transition. Physically, it represents the transition from the humid, forested eastern U.S. with mostly perennial water resources to the dry western U.S. with grasslands, deserts, and mostly ephemeral water resources. Socioeconomically, it represents the transition from the densely populated eastern U.S. to the wild open spaces of the western U.S. Historically and culturally, it represents the transition from the French/English colonies of the eastern half of the U.S. and the Spanish territory of the Southwest. Later, it would represent the transition from the eastern pre-Civil War states to the western post-Civil War states. The Southern Plains also represent a transition in time when U.S. settlers were moving into Native American lands. This occupation led to many intense battles between the European/American settlers and various Tribal Nations. Between 1821 and 1890, many forts were built in response to these conflicts and also to promote new settlements. Of these, 33 have been protected as publicly-accessible places, including museums, state parks, national historic sites, city parks, resorts, and even a USDA research facility. This chapter inventories and discusses the historical, cultural, and natural values of these ‘protected forts’ within the context of ecosystem services that have evolved from these sites.

Professor, Department of Geography, Texas State University

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