Fort Grant, Arizona

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Fort Grant
Aravaipa Canyon, Arizona
Fortgrant 4.jpg
Fort Grant, c.1885.
Type Army fortification
Site information
Controlled by  Arizona
Condition tourist attraction
Site history
Built 1860
In use 1860 - 1905
Built by  United States
Battles/wars Apache Wars
Garrison information
Occupants United States United States Army

Fort Grant, located in the U.S. state of Arizona, is a state prison and a former United States Army fortification. Fort Grant began its life as an Old West outpost in Arizona Territory, built in 1860 at the junction of Aravaipa Creek and the San Pedro River, which was originally known as Fort Breckinridge (1860 to 1866), then Camp Grant (1862 to 1872).

The post is named for Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States.[1]

History[edit]

The officers quarters at Fort Grant.

In 1872 after the Camp Grant Massacre, the United States Army post at "old" Camp Grant, at the confluence of Aravaipa Creek and the San Pedro River, was relocated to the southwestern slope of Graham Mountain in what is now Graham County. The new fort was strategically placed so as to protect settlers who were constantly harassed by Apache warriors. It played a prominent role in the Apache Wars of the 1880s. It was reproposed in 1900 as a staging point for soldiers going to the Philippines to fight in the Philippine–American War.

Henry McCarty or (McCarthy), William Antrim, Henry Antrim, William McCarty, William Bonney, and William H. Bonney, or better known as, "Billy the Kid," reportedly settled in the vicinity of Fort Grant in 1876 working as a ranch hand and tending sheep nearby. In 1877 McCarty killed a local blacksmith at a saloon and gambling house that is now called the Bonita Store, located a few miles from Fort Grant. McCarty was taken into custody at the Fort Grant stockade, but escaped to New Mexico before he could be tried.

Edgar Rice Burroughs was stationed at Fort Grant in 1896 as an enlisted man after failing the exam for entrance to West Point. He was discharged in 1897 after being diagnosed with a heart condition that made him ineligible for a commission.

Fort Grant was abandoned in 1905 by the Army, which transferred all troops to Fort Huachuca and left the fort unoccupied except for a caretaker. In 1912, Arizona gained statehood, and the fort was occupied by the State Industrial School for Wayward Boys and Girls, which modernized most of the buildings.[2][3]

In 1968, the state of Arizona officially assigned the site to the Department of Corrections, and in 1973 Fort Grant became a state prison for male convicts. In 1997 the prison became a unit of an Arizona State Prison complex headquartered in Safford.

The main road to and from Fort Grant is Arizona State Route 266. There is an abandoned general-aviation airport, Angel Field, immediately south of the prison.

Fort Grant Historical Museum[edit]

The Fort Grant Historical Museum is located in the lobby of the administration building, which is outside the prison grounds. The museum features artifacts and photos about the fort's military history up through its history as a state reformatory and later as a state prison.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 141. 
  2. ^ "Fort Grant History". Arizona Department of Corrections. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ A pictorial tour of the Arizona State Industrial School for Boys at Fort Grant, Arizona. Print Shop. 1949. 
  4. ^ "Museum/Heritage Resources". Graham County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°37′22″N 109°56′45″W / 32.62278°N 109.94583°W / 32.62278; -109.94583