Sunday, September 26, 2010

So Sad

When I got on Facebook this morning I was surprised and heartbroken to find out that the old barracks at Fort Washita was on fire. A many of school field trips have been taken to Fort Washita and lots of family memories have been made there too.

A little history about Fort Washita taken from

Fort Washita is today an historic site
managed by the Oklahoma Historical
Society and listed on the National Register.
Sitting close to the Washita River, along the
old Texas Road, the Fort is a scenic,
contemplative and quiet place where one
can really reflect on history. But in its
former use as a frontier outpost, the Fort
saw lots of action.

Established in 1842, the fort's main
purpose was to protect Chickasaw and
Choctaw settlers from the Plains Indians.
Being the furthest fort in the Southwest,
Fort Washita anchored growing Indian
communities as well as serving as a
staging area for the Mexican-American war
of 1848. Though the fort generally had a
population of about 150 soldiers, during the
height of that war over 2,000 troops called
it home.

Post-war, the Fort became the seat of the
Chickasaw and Choctaw agencies, As 1861
rolled around, however, the Union army
abandoned its post after the Choctaw and
Chickasaw nations seceded, and
Confederate forces soon took over.

Well, we all know what happened to the
Confederates. Fort Washita did not see any
major battles as it was a solidly built place,
though there may have been attempts by
the Union army. Nonetheless, by 1865 the
fort was abandoned. As the frontier moved
further west, settlers dismantled many of
the stone structures. The Chickasaw
leader Charles Colbert bought the fort and
lands surrounding it, and his extended
family lived in many of the buildings. Their
house - the former West Barrack - burned
in 1917, but the family remained (and many
members are buried on the grounds). In
1962, the Colberts deeded the property to
the Oklahoma Historical Society, which has
done a superb job of preserving it.

Driving out to Fort Washita, you'll see cross
timbered prairies and pass semi-ghost
towns, relics of Fort Washita's hey-days.
The drive is truly tonic for the soul. Fort
Washita has a wonderful interpreter on
staff and a small museum and store. So
drive on out and witness Oklahoma history
first hand!

My sister Shelly text me this morning and wanted to know if we wanted to go out there this eveing for a picnic. She had no idea that the building was on fire. Spooooooookkkkky!!!!!

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