The waist-high grasses that have overtaken what remains of Fort Bowie disguise the far less pastoral history of the once-bustling military base.
Some of the vestiges of stone and adobe buildings rising from prairie sheltered by mountains looked like contemporary sculptures, still as headstones on a quiet Friday afternoon. Once, according to a National Historic Site map, Fort Bowie was “the nerve center” for skirmishes between the military and the Chiricahua Apaches before the tribe was banished to the San Carlos Reservation in 1876. The fort was also the site of Geronimo’s surrender a decade later, but would officially close in 1894 after 32 years of operation. Now, there’s a modest National Park visitor center with a row of rocking chairs across the front porch and a few water spigots. The rest has pretty much gone the way of time, but some adobe has been replaced and an American flag hangs from a pole in the center of the encampment.