Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pawhuska, OK

Pawhuska was the next stop on the way to Birch Lake, and it proves how you can find rich history in some of the most unexpected places. I was actually stopping there on my way back to the campground to see if the folks at the town hall had information on possible Independence Day fireworks in the area. They didn’t. While there, I got a chance to see a few of the historic sites in the town and surrounding area.

A windmill powered watering hole on the open prairie.
Originally known as Deep Ford, the town was renamed in honor of the Osage tribal chief, Pawhuska, meaning “White Hair” in English. The Osage had agreed to the sale of their lands in Kansas in 1865. The Osage were removed to the reservation established here in Oklahoma, then the Indian Territories, during 1871-72 on land the tribe had to purchase from the Cherokee tribe. The Indian Agency was opened here in 1872. The deed encompassed 1,470,559 acres of land that now is Osage County, OK.

Home of the Osage Reservation blacksmith.
The first house built in Pawhuska in 1871 was of 18-inch thick native sandstone walls. As the Osage were being moved from Kansas, Sid Delarue, a Swiss blacksmith, was promised the house if he would move to Pawhuska to care for the territory’s horses.

The Pawhuska town hall, built in 1894.
On March 16, 1896, the first oil and gas lease in Oklahoma was granted for all of the Osage Reservation. Seven months later, the first oil producing well was completed and the first Oklahoma oil was sold in May, 1900. The billions of barrels of oil that followed would make Osage County the richest oil producing area in the state.

A bronze sculptur honoring the cowboy, done by John D. Free.

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