This fort, in Durant, Oklahoma, is a Civil War-era museum that’s been standing for well over 150 years. Offering visitors a variety of educational opportunities, including tours of the restored buildings throughout the area, re-enactments of Civil War battles, and a wide variety of yearly events, Fort Washita is proud to give guests a look into days gone by. Fort Washita was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, and Fort Washita Historic Site and Museum is owned by the Chickasaw Nation and is open to the public.
Backstory and Context
In 1842, Fort Washita was established by General, and future president, Zachary Taylor to protect the citizens of the two Native-American tribes, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, from raids and attacks by the local Plains Indian tribes, as well as less-than-friendly white settlers. The fort was quite an active center for travelers and was often visited by pioneers on their way to California. The fort was also especially busy in the years leading up the Civil War, with several different legions and dragoons being garrisoned here.
The fort was abandoned by Federal forces sometime later, around the beginning of the Civil War in 1858. The Confederate army sent its soldiers into the area and its troops ended up holding the post until the end of the war. Once the war reached its conclusion, the Confederates decided to burn the remaining structures. Never again was the fort reoccupied by the U.S. military.
In 1870, the ownership of Fort Washita was handed to the U.S. Department of the Interior. It was then kept by the Chickasaw Nation, and the grounds were often allotted to tribe members. After several years in private hands, the Oklahoma Historical Society bought the fort grounds in 1962 and the site was soon restored.
Nowadays, Fort Washita is open to tourists to teach of the area’s fascinating history. Visitors can view the restored buildings, watch re-enactments of moments and battles from the Civil War, and, The fort grounds also offer a variety of events over the course of the year, including Ghost Stories in October, and, once a year, tourists are also invited to take part in the Fur Trade Era Rendezvous, which brings visitors into a journey of the past through educational stations, storytellers and more assorted features. Fort Washita is open to help any interested folks take a tour of an important part of U.S. history.
Fort Washita. The
Chickasaw Nation. January 25, 2018. Accessed October 03, 2018.
May, Jon D.. Fort Washita. Oklahoma Historical Society. n d. Accessed October 03, 2018. http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=FO046.