Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fort Apache Arizona

Commanding Officer's quarters as seen across the parade field.  

On May 16, 1870 construction began on what was called Camp Ord.  Within the following year troops moved from Camp Goodwin into the site and renamed it Camp Mogollon, then Camp Thomas, and finally, Camp Apache.  The post was designated Fort Apache in 1879.  The Army stayed at Fort Apache for 43 years until it was abandoned in 1922.  In 1923 the site became the home of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Theodore Roosevelt Indian Boarding School.  The school was originally intended for Navajo children however by the 1930s the majority of the school were Apache.  Today the school serves as a middle school under administration the Tribal Council school board.  A great place to visit for further information is located here.

Fort Apache is located 1/2 mile east of Arizona Highway 73, and 5 miles south of Whiteriver, Arizona.  Fort Apache is a Historic Park owned and managed by the White Mountain Apache Tribe. 

We've passed signs for Fort Apache every time we drive north to Show Low and every time I'd say to Sandy that I wanted to go there "someday".  Of course I was thinking of the place I had seen in the movie as a kid not thinking the movie and the actual fort would be different.  I've remembered Fort Apache as the 1948 John Ford film starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda.  While I haven't seen the movie in many years the reality of the film to the actual location and history has turned out to be different. 

We finally took the drive last week to visit Fort Apache and I'm glad we did.  While little is left of the actual fort there are still buildings that have stood for over 120 years.  The added benefit was that in visiting Fort Apache we found the Kinishba Ruins which we'll share later on.

Camera gear used for this outing was left simple; Sandy had her Canon 1DsIII and 24-70 mm lens while I had my Leica M9 and took turns using a Summicron 50mm and Elmarit 24mm. I decided to process the images to better suit the environment and used a combination of C1 Pro, CS5 and Nik software.

Sandy and I wish to thank the White Mountain Apaches for sharing their history with us and being patient in answering our questions during our brief visit.   

There's more to come...

Sandy & Don


  1. WoW. Really great photos. Where is this? This country is beutiful. And the house is enthralling.

  2. Thank you for the comment. All the images were taken in Fort Apache AZ.

  3. Nice photos - I grew up here as my dad was the superintendent of the TR school and we got to live in the CO's quarters. My bedroom was the one that Pres. Roosevelt supposedly slept in when he visited the AZ territory. great room with a "secret" stairwell out to the kitchen and basement!

  4. You captured the textures and emotions of a place beautifully.

  5. If I remember correctly, the two burned-out buildings are actually replicas of the original adobe barrack buildings, which housed the museum for a short while before the fire. The museum was then in the small log cabin, which we used to climb up on and jump off of the roof, and which had several items in it that we found as kids. I lived down the street from pnv, I believe. My dad was the art teacher, and we had horses that we kept in the cavalry barns across the hwy from the school.

    1. WOW! Thank you so much for sharing what sounds like an interesting childhood. Have you ever gone back?

    2. It was an interesting place to grow up, for sure. The canyon behind the fort has a small stream, and a small cave. I have been back through there once, in 2000?. It was odd seeing the place I grew up in turned into a museum.