Thursday, June 19, 2014

The US Army Camel Experiment

Several years ago when my kids were in the fourth grade, I wrote a Texas history curriculum for us to study.  Doing lots of in-depth research was a lot of fun because I found many fascinating bits of information about a state I had lived in most of my life.  Perhaps the most fascinating historical fact I discovered was that the US Army had shipped camels from Africa and the Middle East to Texas to transport supplies to the western forts.  It was called the US Army Camel Experiment which was based in Camp Verde, Texas, only an hour's drive from San Antonio today. I was especially intrigued because I grew up in San Antonio and was then raising and teaching my kids there, yet before this I had never known about camels in Texas!
While studying this, we drove to Camp Verde General Store which dates back to the era when they serviced Fort Verde. Today store remains open proudly retelling the story of camels who came to Texas. There is much US Army Camel Experiment triva scattered about!  Somewhere I may have old fashioned 35mm snapshots of this. If I ever find them I'll scan them and add them to this post!
Since moving to Virginia I have discovered that the camels have returned to Texas! One day one of the facebook pages I follow asked a trivia question: Did any of us know about camels in Texas? I certainly did! From that posting I found the facebook page of the reenactor who brings the US Army Camel Experiment to life by traveling with camels to schools, forts and other locations across Texas, teaching all he meets. If we were still living in Texas, I'd have gone to one of those events by now! Check out his schedules and follow his journeys via his facebook page, The US Army Camel Experiment.
Today he shared a link to a youtube of a great history video of the US Army Camel Experiment...along with connections to Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee! What do they all have in common? The history video includes not only Texas but also the route to California...which eventually formed Route 66!

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