My new book, The Four Directions – A Southwestern Journey is now available! You can purchase the book here: https://www.williamfieldsartphoto.com/books-videos/the-four-directions-a-southwestern-journey-limited-edition-and-free-gift/
In an ironic twist of fate, within a few days of receiving the shipment of the books from the printer, I got a phone call from a wonderful person in the National Parks Arts Foundation. Sarah called while I was driving south on U.S. 67, on my way to visit my wife’s parents in Pocahontas, Arkansas. The call was to inform me that I’d been selected as the Artist-in-Residence at Fort Union in Watrous, New Mexico!
I was so beside myself with the excitement of hearing this news, I was fairly unintelligible. Add to that, the cell service was fading in and out. I kept asking poor Sarah to repeat herself. I’m not sure if it was because I couldn’t hear or that I just wanted to hear her say it again!
Fort Union was built in the early 1850s. It is at the junction of the Mountain and the Cimmaron branches of the Santa Fe Trail. Wait a minute! The Santa Fe Trail began in Independence, Missouri!!! So, there’s this strange
connection in all this. Missouri (my home for the last 25 years) and New Mexico (a significant part of my new book!) are the anchors to the trail.
The Santa Fe Trail became an important trade route taken by merchants from Missouri. After the Mexican War of Independence, the Santa Fe Trail became the most viable way to supply New Mexico with goods. Before 1821 the nearest source of imports was from Monterrey, more than twice the distance as that from Missouri.
New Mexico was acquired by the United States as a result of the Mexican American War, 1846-1848. The center of military presence had been in Santa Fe, but Secretary of War Conrad wanted it moved to the frontier. Fort Union was the answer. The fort was important to trade on the Santa Fe Trail. It provided protection from Indian raids and it supplied forts across the southwest during the Indian wars of the latter half of the 19th century.
Beginning around the first of April, I’ll be posting blogs of my adventures at Fort Union!
Note: The two images of Fort Union are by friend and fellow artist; Howard Schiff.