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Fort Croghan in Burnet opens for 2021

Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum, 703 Buchanan Drive in Burnet, is opening Thursday, April 8, and the blacksmith shop will be in operation. Visiting hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Oct. 9, which is Fort Croghan Day. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum, one of the best places to learn about Burnet County history, is reopening to visitors April 8.

“We’re beyond excited to get Fort Croghan back open,” said Elizabeth Johnston, president of the Burnet County Heritage Society, which manages the fort. “We were not open at all in 2020 (because of the pandemic), so it’s a big deal to finally get to open.”

Located at 703 Buchanan Drive in Burnet, the facility will be open 10 a.m-4 p.m Thursday-Saturday through Oct. 9, which is Fort Croghan Day. Admission is free.

Fort Croghan was one of the first in a line of forts the United States government established in Texas after it joined the Union to protect settlers from Native Americans. It was a federal facility for only few years, 1849-1852. As settlements pushed farther west, the United States established another line of protective forts.

During those few years, Fort Croghan set the foundation for the community that would become Burnet and Burnet County.

Today, volunteers and local leaders work to preserve historical structures and relocate them to the Burnet museum. Johnston pointed out that every cabin on the grounds is original, not a reproduction. It’s a claim few, if any, similar facilities can make.

“When you look in those cabins, you have to realize that these are actual cabins that families here in Burnet County lived in. Sometimes, it was a family with five, six, and even seven children living in those tiny cabins,” she said. “You’ll also see examples of early Texas architecture, including the dog-trot cabin. That’s something, from what I understand, is pretty unique to Texas.”

Visitors can also explore the museum itself with a large display of historic items and artifacts. These are all original as well.

Tour the grounds at your leisure or take a guided tour. Volunteers are always happy to answer questions.

The Heritage Society is working on a system to give visitors a cellphone tour of the grounds. Once set up — Johnston hopes by late April or May — visitors can use a link from the fort’s website to hear about each cabin and structure as they walk along.

Another plan in 2021 is to add living history activities the last weekend of each month. On April 8-10, Johnston said the blacksmith shop will be open and operated by an actual blacksmith. The smith will demonstrate some of the skills of the craft as well as take questions.

“We want to add more activities the last weekend of the month,” she added, including hiking trails later this year. “We have a lot of ideas and things we’d like to do.”

For more information or updates on events and activities, visit Fort Croghan's Facebook page.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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