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In Texas for work and play, we see the scorched mesquite remaining from their wildfires.
Hundreds of miles of dead trees guarantee more fires to come. But the icy fingers of the recession haven’t chilled Texas as they have New Mexico.
As usual, I can’t resist studying how Texas does things – in this case, tourism.
I’m here to see Fort Griffin, or what’s left of it, perched above the Clear Fork of the Brazos.
The grounds are spacious and even include a small herd of Texas longhorns.
“They’re just big puppy dogs,” says the visitor center staffer, who assures us we can just walk around them.
Every fort has a story to tell, but they’re not just a history lesson.
They have a lot to say about economies. Forts in their day were the military bases and posts of today, created to meet a threat and sustained beyond their useful life because they fed the local economy.
By the late 1800s, we had fended off the British, whupped Mexico, and penned up the nation’s tribes on reservations. With no serious threats on the horizon, most of the forts were closed without ceremony or BRAC.
Oh, there was great protest in some cases. Yesterday’s defense contractors – suppliers of hay and beef – saw their livelihood ride away.
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