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Stringtown Historical Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received a $3,000 grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation through its Community Grant program.
The grant will be used to assist in funding “Marks of Our Heritage”, which will allow Stringtown Historical Foundation, Inc. to increase services to individuals in rural Oklahoma.
“We are so pleased to receive this grant,” says Becky Richards, Vice President of Stringtown Historical Foundation, Inc. “We appreciate the support of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation.”
President of the Stringtown Historical Foundation said “There is a rich Choctaw history in Stringtown, Oklahoma…the Jefferson Highway and the Butterfield Stage Line, racial integration before we knew what it was, outlaws, scattered sawmills and the Rock Crusher, of pride in our School and attendance in our churches.
Although each day thousands pass us by on Highway 69 without a second thought, it’s a history that is beyond worth to us and its preservation is at the heart of our little town.”
The goals of the Historical Foundation are designed to keep the history of Stringtown and the surrounding areas alive in order that the present and future generations may enjoy and appreciate the unique cultural heritage entrusted to us.
In displaying the “Marks of Our Heritage” signs, we believe the signs will not only add beauty to our town, but they will also educate residents, visitors, and passers-by of our valuable history.
The Foundation will place the following eight historical markers throughout the city’s notable sites:
•The First School
•The First Church
•The Cotton Gin
•The Grist Mill
•The Rock Quarry
•The Farmers’ Merchant Bank
•The KATY Depot
•St. Matthews Baptist Church
The placement of historical markers throughout town will bring attention to places and events that community members and visitors traveling the Jefferson Highway route might not otherwise know about.
Family road trips are often planned for the sole purpose of searching for information along major highways and tourist areas.
The Foundation is currently preparing for the installation of Jefferson Highway signs that were purchased through individual donations. The highway signs will lead to the downtown area where the “Marks of our Heritage” markers will lead participants through a “historical marker route” that will end at the school’s fifteen acre Double Springs Park, which has seven historic sites previously marked through a TSET Grant, along a half-mile walking trail.
In an educational sense, students will benefit from the opportunity offered to keep the community’s history alive. Marking historic locations provides local and visiting school students an opportunity for a field trip that enhances student learning and passes our legacy to the next generation.
Marking those notable sites tells a story, points out noteworthy facts about the area, and creates an awareness and appreciation for those who paved the way in making our community into what it is today
In 2007, the Stringtown Historical Foundation received 501(c)3 status as a nonprofit organization under the trade name of Stringtown Legacy Project, with the mission of preserving the rich legacy of the Stringtown area, supporting historical education, creating community awareness through the arts and culture, and continueing neighborhood beautification projects.
The historical markers will not only support and promote the Foundation’s mission of preserving of the history and culture of the community, but the project will provide the Foundation with a means of sharing these treasured remnants of the past with all our neighbors, future acquaintances, and anyone who passes through our town.
The Foundation’s greatest pleasure is to share the legacy that has been entrusted to us and to create an opportunity for all who come our way to see that “history happened here.”
Since 2010, the historic prairie-box style “Garside House” which was built in 1915 has been restored, a Veterans’ Memorial has been established, a walking trail with a bridge and seven historical markers have been placed along the trail, a 20’x 20’ beautiful Victorian style gazebo has been built, and a concrete pad has been prepared for the city of Stringtown’s recently restored antique fire hose reel.
All of these projects are located on the school’s 15-acre historic property, known as “ Double Springs Historical Park”.
The projects were funded through the combined efforts of fundraising, sponsorships, donations, contributions, and partnerships with the Choctaw Nation, Lattimore Materials Corporation, City of Stringtown, Stringtown Public Schools, Atoka County Commissioner’s office, and Atoka County’s Healthy Living TSET program.
In 2019, the Foundation received materials and equipment from the “Keep Oklahoma Beautiful” grant program to assist in the town’s beautification, historical, cultural, and art projects. Most recently, through the “Mayor’s Challenge”, twenty-eight Jefferson Highway signs were sponsored by local residents and printed at the local Oklahoma Correctional Institute.
An art project of telling our town’s story through murals evolved from involvement with the Jefferson Highway project. To date, a Jefferson Highway mural and a Stagecoach mural have been completed and placed in strategic places in the town.
This past November, Stringtown was proclaimed as a “Purple Heart City”. Five Purple Heart signs, also printed at OCI, we’re purchased through sponsorships. Fundraising is now in progress to purchase the poles needed for installing the Jefferson Highway and Purple Heart signs within Highway 69 city limits, Reba McEntire Avenue, Mulberry Street, and the “old highway”, which are located on the first north-south route of the historic Jefferson Highway that ran from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was established at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 1995 by the late Carolyn Watson, longtime CEO and chairman of Shamrock Bank, N.A. Grants from the organization are awarded to improve the quality of life in designated rural Oklahoma communities.