Monday, August 8, 2016
FT SUPPLY HISTORIC FORT
In November of 1869 a 450 wagon train crossed the Kansas prairie to enter what was then Indian Territory to establish Camp Supply. This was the beginning of a long a busy history of Ft. Supply in northwest Oklahoma.
In 1894 the fort was abandoned for military use and sat pretty much vacant until 1908 when it became Oklahomas first state operational mental institution.
In 1969 the Oklahoma Historical society took over the remaining five historical buildings. These were what we were going to see on the first morning we set out to visit Fort Supply.
Our first surprise arrived when we arrived at the gate of the William S. Key Correctional Center. You read right, it was a penitentiary that shared a gate with the historic site.
No one had told us that the historic site was ON the grounds of a penitentiary. As we sat there at the gate, stunned, verifying that the sign to our right said we were indeed at the gate for Ft. Supply as well.
A guard came to the gate, checked out the contents of our truck, both front and back, and asked who we were there to see. We told him the gentleman we were to meet and he told us he wasn’t there today.
We told him we had made a special appointment, but the man was late for the appointment. I called the curator and discovered he needed to reschedule. So we did.
The next day, he was late again, but he did show and helped us really enjoy the history of the fort. We were able to go into a few buildings and wander the grounds with certain limitations.
Because parts of the historic site are actually enclosed inside the fencing of the prison we were not allowed to use our quad copter for the privacy of the inmates, nor could we take photos of certain areas for fear we would get their images in them.
As we wandered around trying to imagine the fort in the height of its glory we looked at the renovations that have been done to help preserve this bit of our history. One such building was the guard house.
It had recently been renovated, although they were still looking for period correct items to complete the reconstruction. They even had the sign up that they needed these items.
If you know where these items can be located I am certain they would be thrilled to know. However, because they are currently self funded by donations to the historical society for a few years to come because federal funding has ran out a donation of these item would be even better.
Because of its location and budget limits you will need to call to make an appoint to visit the site and to be touched by its history.
There is no cost to visit the location, but donations are accepted. Here are a few of the photos we snapped that day.
The guard house as the renovation nears its end.
Once we had visited the buildings, collected a few brochures and made a donation we were released from the prison grounds and headed back toward Boiling Springs.
Along the way we passed this historical marker. The Boone it was referring to was Nathan Boone, one of my family members. So we found it interesting and snapped a photo.
It is strange how once you get into genealogy you become more and more interested in history.
Jan who enjoys seeing items of days gone by, especially when they tie to her ancestry in and away from OK