(Jan) This spring as we head towards the Midwest we are traveling through Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma. Chuck was stationed here in 1971 for his AIT training with the Pershing Nuclear Missile System and we returned to Ft Sill after two years in Germany. Our middle son, Eric, was born at Reynolds Hospital here at Ft Sill. Thursday we visited the post, strolling among the many historic military artillery pieces displayed on the grounds including the Pershing Missile that Chuck had worked with in the 1970’s. Our next stop was the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum. This excellent facility features artillery pieces and history from George Washington’s time through the present.
The following day we headed over to Duncan to visit the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. Starting in 1867 longhorn cattle were driven along the Chisholm Trail from southern Texas to a newly built stockyard in Abilene, Kansas. As the railroads continued their progress south, the cattle drives became shorter. By 1887 the rails reached down into southern Texas and the days of driving longhorns along the Chisholm trail became history. The museum had an excellent interpretive theatre as well as an impressive collection of western art.
Duncan is also home to the Stephens County Historical Museum. The museum houses many displays of early Oklahoma history as well as photos and memorabilia from early Oil Well drilling days. We were fortunate to strike up a conversation with Pee Wee Cary, curator of the museum, about photographs that were displayed. It turns out that most of the photos were his work, taken during his days with the local newspaper and then during his year working for Halliburton. Mr. Cary treated us to several extra rooms at the museum as well as interesting facts about Duncan natives such as Ron Howard, Jeanne Kilpatrick, Erle Halliburton and T. Howard McCasland.
In the park outside of the museum the original Duncan train depot is displayed along with one of only three surviving Rock Island Steam train engines. Engine 905 rolled into Duncan on the regular rail line and then track had to be laid section by section to get it to it’s new home in the park.