Grants from Park Service, National Park Foundation aid projects to enhance three Oklahoma historical sites
Contact: Tom Keohan, 303-969-2897
Projects that will enrich understanding and appreciation of three historic Oklahoma landmarks – the 101 Ranch near Ponca City, the Boley Historic District east of Oklahoma City, and Fort Washita near Lake Texoma –have been awarded grants from the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Park Foundation, official charity of America's national parks.
The 101 Ranch National Historic Landmark, site of a once-vast cattle operation in north-central Oklahoma, received a total of $11,700 from NPS and the foundation for improvements to a roadside memorial and to the historic ranch headquarters. Fort Washita National Historic Landmark, a mid-19th century frontier outpost in the unorganized "Indian Territory" that later became
As National Historic Landmarks, all three were designated by the Secretary of the Interior as nationally significant places of exceptional value in illustrating and interpreting the heritage of the
"Although we at the Park Service oversee the national landmarks program, much of the work of protecting and improving them is done by others, including local organizations and state, tribal and local governments," said John Wessels, director of NPS's eight-state Intermountain Region, which includes Oklahoma. "For these local friends, each historic place is a precious gem. We are happy to be the conduit for these needed funds, including the National Park Foundation's generous grant. All these funds further the passionate efforts of our partners at each landmark to preserve
· The 101 Ranch National Historic Landmark (
Named for its cattle branch, the 101 Ranch once sprawled across 110,000 acres and became famous as an early-20th-century hub of "wild West" entertainment and movie westerns of the silent-film era. The National Park Foundation, chartered by Congress as the national charitable partner of NPS, awarded a 2010 Impact grant of $7,500 to improve public access to and appreciation of a roadside memorial to the ranch, its Ponca Indian neighbors, and a legendary black cowboy who worked there for three decades.
The grant was made, via the Intermountain Regional Office of NPS, to the 101 Ranch Old Timers Association, which has worked for more than four decades to preserve the history of the ranch. "The Impact Grant program has become an incredibly effective tool for the National Park Foundation to meet the needs within the national parks," said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the foundation. "Through this unique program, we are seeing extraordinary results born from great need, creativity, and ingenuity."
The funds will help the 101 Ranch Old Timers finish building a paved interpretive pull-out on Monument Hill along State Highway 156 – also known as the
The project includes an informative sign and stone monument to interpret Monument Hill's convergence of Native-American, African-American and European-American culture and friendship, a relationship unique for the early 20th century.
"It is doubtful we could have moved forward on our Monument Hill construction project without both local and National Park Foundation interest in our efforts," said Al Ritter, vice president of the 101 Ranch Old Timers Association. "Our interpretive roadside pull-off will give us the ability to share western history and honor minority involvement in it by featuring the Ponca Indian Tribe, its pioneer leader, Chief White Eagle, and African American 101 Ranch cowboy Bill Pickett. Support from the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service helped turn our vision into a reality."
The 101 Ranch also received $4,200 in NPS funds for the design, construction and installation of four more podium-style interpretive signs at the ranch headquarters site along the Salt Fork of the
This landmark recognizes the establishment of
· Boley Historic District National Historic Landmark (
This landmark recognizes the town of
The three landmarks are among more than 230 National Historic Landmarks in the NPS Intermountain Region, whose states also contain more than 11,000 properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.