We took a tour of Ft. Bayard a couple of Saturday’s ago. The day was sunny and bright so Dale and I wore our shorts and sandals. Others wore coats, long pants, hiking boots and sweatshirts!
Kathy and another lady (sorry can’t remember your name) took us on the tour of the grounds of Fort Bayard. They shared lots of interesting facts about the fort when it was a protection from the Apache Indians and later turned into a military hospital for patients with TB or lung disease. You can find out the history of this place at http://www.southernnewmexico.com/Articles/Southwest/Grant/AbriefhistoryofFortBayard.html
Kathy lived here when she was 10 years old. Her father was a physical therapist. She remembers playing everywhere. She has done extensive research, read journals and put together a wonderful tour of the fort.
Many of the original buildings have been torn down. One that was especially nice was the hospital wing that was totally windows. When the fort was no longer needed for protection (Indians were put on reservations), higher up noticed how healthy everyone was who lived here. So they decided to make this fort into a military hospital for TB and lung patients because of the sun and clean air.
These steps led up to a wing where POW’s were kept. Kathy told us about the German prisoners who had a lonely life in these barracks. Then they would start seeking out children to entertain them and found one doctor who spoke German.
This place is full of history on two levels – Cowboy, miner and Indian days and WW II days. This history is endanger of becoming extinct as the state really can’t afford to keep it up. Kathy hopes their efforts to save Fort Bayard come to fruition.