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About the cover


Fort Bayard Celebrates 149 Years

Historic fort to resound with music once again


Officers’ quarters at Fort Bayard in the early 1900s were
pleasant and roomy. (Photo by Elva K. Österreich

As Fort Bayard goes into its 150th year, Jane Voss and Hoyle Osborne are helping to celebrate with a concert-lecture on Aug. 22 at the historic landmark. But the 149th birthday events begin earlier in the day with tours, treats and arts at the old fort.

The amazing history of Fort Bayard includes tuberculosis treatment, buffalo soldiers, new rifle testing, battling the cold and the heat, kindnesses and abuse. Established in 1866 to protect settlers from the Apache, in 1886, following the capture of Geronimo, the fort became home to an Army tuberculosis hospital and research center.

bayard 2
Although the first hospital building at Fort Bayard was replaced in 1922, walls of the older facility still stand testament to time. (Photo by Elva K. Österreich)

In 1900, the fort was transferred to the Surgeon General’s Department and in 1922 a new hospital was built and the fort became part of the Veterans Bureau. In World War II, Fort Bayard had another job and became a place to hold 100 German prisoners of war. Today, the rebuilt hospital at the site stands empty, but a new Fort Bayard Medical Center stands nearby still taking care of people. The original hospital building can still be seen as well, walls and bottom floor open to the New Mexico sky.

Fort Bayard today is home to some 88 stately and empty buildings, a hospital building the state plans to tear down, the parade grounds with a buffalo soldier statue monument and perhaps a ghost or two. Walking through the streets of the fort is like stepping into another time.

The Fort Bayard Museum, located on the west side of the parade ground, will be open during the celebration from 9:15 a.m. to noon. Military historian Bill Kupke leads a walking tour at 9:30 a.m. and birthday cake will be served at 11 a.m. There will be book signings, old- fashioned games and toys, and creations of the Grant County Art Guild for viewing and sale.

bayard 2
Jane Voss and Hoyle Osborne will pitch in with their musical
Chautauqua presentation at 7 p.m. Aug. 22 with a concert-lecture on at the Fort Bayard historic site for its 149th birthday celebration. (Courtesy photo)

At 7 p.m. Voss and Osborne, who are with the Chautauqua Program of the New Mexico Humanities Council, perform "1912: A Musical Snapshot of America in the Year New Mexico Became a State,” at the New Deal Theater at the fort. The singer and the pianist will illustrate American life in 1912 through songs of the time. In addition to songs still familiar to the world, they will include “The Election in Jungle Town,” a farcical take on the election of 1912, women’s suffrage movement, labor struggles and a Spanish corrido, “Hymn to the Statehood of New Mexico.”

Admission is free, but donations to support the goals of the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society are appreciated. For more information call 575-056-3294 or 575-388-9123.

bayard 4
Fort Bayard was garrisoned by buffalo soldiers in its early days.
This memorial depicts Corporal Clinton Greaves, Company C,
9th U.S. Cavalry, who saved six soldiers and three Navajo scouts
from attack by 40 to 50 Chiricahua Apache on June 26, 1877.
(Photo by Elva K. Österreich)

By the Book

book Ping Pong Balls & Donkey’s Milk A History of Tuberculosis in Fort Bayard, New Mexico offers oral histories told from unique perspective of tuberculosis patients at Fort Bayard from 1900-1949, as told to Dr. Twana Sparks. The history of tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment in first half of the 20th century is reviewed and treatments such as donkey milk consumption and ping pong ball implants make for interesting and entertaining reading.



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