Camp Verde, TX

We took a drive over to Camp Verde for lunch and a look-see yesterday. We heard about the old general store and post office from other RVers so thought we’d go and see it for ourselves,

A Brief History of the Store…
Nestled in the Texas Hill Country on the banks of the Verde Creek, the Store was first established in 1857. The present day two story stone structure of Southern Colonial design was constructed after a flood swept away the original building around 1900. Originally, the General Store was established to offer goods and services to the soldiers stationed at Fort Verde – a mile to the west. By the time the US Army deactivated the Fort, Camp Verde General Store and Post Office had become an important part of the community – servicing the growing number of pioneer ranchers in the area.

The Camel Experiment…
In 1854, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (who later became President of the Confederacy) petitioned Congress to appropriate $30,000 for the Army to experiment with using camels for supply transport and other military purposes. With the support of President Pierce, the bill was subsequently approved by Congress on March 3, 1855. Major Henry Wayne and Lieutenant David Porter were put in command of securing the camels from the Middle East. The first shipment from Egypt (of nine swift dromedaries, twenty burden camels, plus four others of mixed breed) arrived via naval supply ship in April of 1856.

U.S. Army Camel 1856

U.S. Army Camel 1856

New World…
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. 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.
The animals passed every test of their ability – carrying heavier loads and traveling longer distances than the mules and horses used in the area. However, the War Department sorely needed funds for Reconstruction after the Civil War. The Fort was deactivated in 1869 – ending the experiment. While a fire destroyed the buildings of nearby Fort Camp Verde in 1910, the courage and bold spirit of the Great Camel Experiment survives to this day.

Camp Verde Today…
Camp Verde evokes a feeling of stepping back in time to a place full of history, yet is welcoming and new. Half-way into it’s second century, this unique store occupies a special setting along the Verde Creek – offering the community that surrounds it a link to the past and a place for today.

Since the fall of 2003, the Camp Verde General Store has been undergoing a renaissance. Carefully and conscientiously, the proprietors have brought a new spirit to this historically important area of the Texas Hill Country. In 2012, a beautiful new restaurant was added to the site. Everywhere, there are distinct touches that add to the historical setting of this venue. The spectacular outdoor patios are perfect for a gathering with friends and family. The front porch invites you to “sit a spell” and enjoy the day. The shade trees surrounding the store have offered shelter to visitors for hundreds of years. Great care has been taken to honor the past while continuing to embrace the future of this remarkable place. Note: This is a reprint from one of many historical sites on the web about Camp Verde and the Army’s experiment with camels.


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