Quadrangle At JBSA-Fort Sam Houston - A Popular Destination
by U.S. U.S. Air Force 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam
July 17, 2018
The Quadrangle at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, or the
“Quad,” as it is commonly known, is an iconic structure rich in
history dating back to the end of the Civil War.
Civil War in 1876, construction began on the Quadrangle, as well as
the water and watch tower. The U.S. Army started its move from the
Alamo in 1877 and established the Quartermaster Depot, with the
headquarters element soon to follow.
The completed water and watch
tower in 1877 before the addition of the clock at the
Quadrangle at present-day Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam
Houston. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
The water and watch tower was later converted to the clock tower
in 1882. Both the Quadrangle and the clock tower are the oldest
buildings on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
In 1886, the U.S. Army
famously held Apache leader Geronimo and 32 other Apache men, women
and children prisoners inside the Quadrangle for approximately six
Two myths about Geronimo’s stay have been debunked,
however: he wasn’t housed at, nor did he jump from, the clock tower.
Apache leader Geronimo at the
Quadrangle in 1886. The Quadrangle is one of the oldest
buildings on present-day Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam
Houston, Texas. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
The Quadrangle is now home to the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army)
where Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan commands as the senior mission
commander for both JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Camp Bullis.
The Quad is also well known for its wildlife, particularly the
ever-present peacocks with their piercing squawks, which roams
freely amongst the visitors.
Jacqueline Davis, the Fort Sam
Houston Museum director, said in a JBSA Legacy article earlier this
year, “The first mention I have of the peacocks is from a newspaper
article dated 1898. In the article, a Soldier is making little
wooden boxes to place the peachicks in, so that the deer also living
in the Quadrangle won’t eat them.”
Visitors commonly ask
Davis why peacocks are living in the Quadrangle.
No matter the time of day or what
event is taking place at the historic location, the piercing
squawk from the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston
Quadrangle can be heard from over a mile radius and is
commonly referred to by visitors as a built-in alarm clock.
But, what animal is making all of that commotion? It’s the
vibrantly colored peacocks. (JBSA-Fort Sam Houston courtesy
photo - June 1, 2018))
“There is no good reason other than having peacocks was a popular
thing to do in the 1800s,” Davis said. “Peacocks are native to Asia
and were more than likely brought to Texas from India.”
grounds of the Quadrangle is currently home to various animals
including deer, peacocks, ducks, geese, turkeys and numerous other
bird species that fly in occasionally.
“It is a gift that
everyone should come out here and enjoy,” said Adam Quintero, a
Vietnam veteran who continues to serve as wildlife caretaker after
four decades. “Whether they come just to visit the animals or come
to the museum, they should come to enjoy it.”
is also the home of the Fort Sam Houston Museum, which is housed in
what were once storerooms at the former quartermaster depot,
constructed in 1876. The museum contains six rooms of exhibits and
displays, beginning with the establishment of a U.S. Army post in
San Antonio in 1845, to the construction of the fort and how the
post evolved to support the units and service members who served in
numerous conflicts at home and abroad.
“The Quadrangle is the
most historic site on the post and the oldest building on the post,”
Davis said. “It has been a tourist destination since the walls went
Davis said visitors to the museum will come away with a
greater appreciation of the fort’s history.
“One of the
comments we get is, ‘I didn’t know Fort Sam Houston had a lot of
history,’” she said. “There is always something to be learned. I
learn something every time I do research on the fort. For people who
served and lived here, it tells them something about their history.
It’s an easy way to learn because it’s visual. I hope people get
enjoyment out of it.”
The museum has more than 8,200
artifacts on permanent display or housed in two storage rooms. A
reference library contains books, publications and sources related
to the history of JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and other JBSA
installations, unofficial records, military manuals, personal papers
of service members who were stationed at the installation and
publications on identifying and taking care of artifacts. The
reference library includes archival holdings that contain a
collection of approximately 10,000 photos and a small document
June 1, 2018 - Army Pfc. Class
Min Jung (left) and Army Spc. Angel Torres (right) view a
historical display at the Fort Sam Houston Museum. Located
in the historic Quadrangle, the museum contains six rooms of
exhibits, displays and artifacts on the history of Fort Sam
Houston and a reference library and archives. (U.S. Air
Force photo by David DeKunder)
Visitors with DOD access into JBSA-Fort Sam Houston can enter the
museum through the Quadrangle’s Sally Port, going right to the east
wing of the Quadrangle, building 16, where the museum entrance is
marked by a blue awning. To reserve a guided tour or orientation,
for information on museum programs, or to make an appointment to use
the library and archives, contact the museum at 210-221-1886.
Visitors without DOD access to get into JBSA-Fort Sam Houston
should refer to the
JBSA website for base entry requirements.
offers orientations and guided tours, which should be reserved one
week in advance, and the reference library and archives can be used
for research by appointment. In addition, the museum conducts
outreach programs for schools and colleges and supports professional
development training for military organizations.
Sam Houston Quadrangle is open to visitors every weekday from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. and weekends from 12-8 p.m. The museum hours are 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-4 p.m. Saturday.