If you have been following us, back in January of 2017, we converged with the Xscapers in Quartzsite, Arizona. That following Spring, we happened upon a cool little General Store and Post Office in a small town near San Antonio, Texas. Not realizing it, the two cities we’ve been to over a thousand miles apart were connected in history.
One beautiful day in March 2017, we drove out to the small town of Camp Verde; halfway between Bandera and Kerrville on State Highway 173. Strangely, when we arrived at the Camp Verde General Store, we ran into those silly camels again. Then it all came back to us.
Remember our visit to the Hi Jolly Monument in Quartzsite, Arizona and our blog about the Great Camel Experiment?
Camp Verde, TX: Home of the U.S. Army Camel Corps…
Camp Verde used to be the Old Camp Verde Military Camp.
It was late August of 1856 when this first group of camels finally arrived at Fort Camp Verde. The second load of 40 animals arrived during the spring of 1857. The town grew around the old Williams community store near the Army Post, opening in 1857, which accommodated serving the Soldiers stationed there.
In 1858, Charles Schreiner, a German Immigrant bought the store and the camp was abandoned. The store also served as the Post Office to the townspeople.
By the time the Civil War had begun, there were over 50 camels in residence at the Fort. During the winter of 1861, the Fort was captured by the Confederacy. When the Fort was recaptured by the US Government in 1865, there were more than 100 camels. After the war, the government ran out of funding for the Camel Corps. thus, the camels were sold to circus’, private buyers and well, some were just let out to pasture (this may be just a theory).
In 1866, the post office closed but was reopened the following year with Charles C. Kelley serving as the Postmaster. A few years later, the post office closed again and reestablished in 1899.
Today, that once-was Post Office is located in the Camp Verde General Store and Restaurant.
We decided to stay since we were already there. Besides, we were hungry and this seemed to be a pleasant, off-the-beaten-path cafe that was just up our alley. The food was delicious, the nicely remodeled room and building posed great atmosphere with awesome history and the serving staff was friendly and accommodating.
After finishing our lunch, we walked around in the General Store. It was a fun updated mercantile with almost everything under the sun when it comes to souvenirs, kitchen gadgets, grilling tools, gifts, writing papers and instruments, jewelry, jellies and jams, etc. It was my kind of gift store!
Outside the store, there was a beautiful courtyard with gardens full of colorful flowers and ivy, camel sculptures, and fountain. The patio had a fireplace and nice outdoor sitting areas to enjoy a beverage or lunch. It seemed perfect for a nice organized luncheon, wedding, party or small event.
So that completes our tale of two cities.
So if you’re anywhere in the Hill Country of Texas near Bandera or Kerrville, make this a cool learning experience with lunch and shopping.