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Fort Gibson
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Fort Gibson Barracks Building in 1934
Location: Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Built/Founded: 1824
Architect: Matthew Arbuckle
Governing body: State
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL: December 19, 1960[2]
NRHP Reference#: 66000631

Fort Gibson, now located in Oklahoma in what is called Fort Gibson Historical Site, was established April 20, 1824 in Indian Territory by Col. Matthew Arbuckle. It was named for Col. George Gibson, head of the Army Commissary Department. The fort was the westernmost in the north–south chain of forts intended to protect the frontier in the American West. Jefferson Davis, later president of the Confederacy was one of over one hundred West Point cadets stationed at the fort. Also stationed at the fort was Nathan Boone, son of the famous explorer Daniel Boone. Sam Houston owned a trading post in the area after leaving Tennessee and before moving to Texas. In 1832 Washington Irving launched his 'Tour of the Prairies' from the fort writing a book of the same name. In 1834 Gen. Henry Leavenworth led the dragoons on a peace mission to the west. Gen Leavenworth died during the march, and was replaced by Col Henry Dodge. Famous artist George Catlin also traveled with the dragoons. The army first abandoned the fort in 1857. During the Civil War, Union troops occupied the fort, which they called Fort Blunt.

Ft. Gibson in the 1870's.

In 1872 the Tenth Cavalry reoccupied the fort to keep law and order in nearby railroad camps for workers engaged in building the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad from Baxter Springs, Kansas to the Red River crossing at Colbert's Ferry, a key crossing point from Indian Territory to Texas. When the Kansas and Arkansas Valley Railroad built through the area in 1888, a new town was constructed closer to the tracks. After the military permanently departed, the civilian community expanded into the fort. On May 20, 1898, the Articles of Incorporation for the town of Fort Gibson were established under the Arkansas Statutes, placing all of the occupied areas under one jurisdiction.

Poorly located and beset by fires, mosquitoes, and other afflictions, the town moved to higher ground around 1900. The first buildings, including "Black Town" (an African American section), faced west toward the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks. In 1904 the town was turned around and situated one block east when J. C. Pierce built the first brick building. In 1906 John C. Berd constructed a brick-and-stone building for his drugstore, and the commercial district grew around these two permanent features. In 1904 the town of Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, was surveyed and platted. Its 1907 population comprised 1,063 residents.

One of the oldest non-Indian settlements in Oklahoma, Fort Gibson had other firsts, such as the first telephone, first drama theater, first steamboat landing, first school for the blind, first highway to Fort Smith, the first interurban, which connected Fort Gibson to Muskogee, and one of the first post offices. In 1896 J. S. Holden began publishing a weekly newspaper, the Post. At least six other newspapers followed in the early twentieth century; the Fort Gibson Ti

The fort was permanently abandoned in 1890 as the Indian Territory was opening for settlement by non-Indians.

Fort Gibson Historical Area in 2001

The old fort was located in present Muskogee County, Oklahoma, adjacent to the town of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Some/all buildings were rebuilt by the Works Project Administration in the 1930's.

A number of buildings still remain and the fort is a National Historic Landmark. The larger area includes both the Fort Gibson National Cemetery, and what is now termed the Fort Gibson Historic Site.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[2][3]

It is located at Lee and Ash Streets in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.[3]

The Oklahoma Historical Society operates the site, which includes a reconstruction of the early log fort, original buildings from the 1840s through 1870s, and the Commissary Visitor Center with museum exhibits about the history of the fort. The site hosts special living history events and programs.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.  
  2. ^ a b "Fort Gibson". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-20.  
  3. ^ a b Joseph Scott Mendingham (1975 (assumed by date of photos)), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fort GibsonPDF (433 KiB), National Park Service   and Accompanying 14 photos, exterior and interior, from 1975 and undated.PDF (1.89 MiB)
  • Foreman, Grant. "The Centennial of Fort Gibson", Chronicles of Oklahoma 2:2 (June 1924) 119-128 (accessed December 15, 2006).
  • Wright, Murial H.; George H. Shirk; Kenny A. Franks. Mark of Heritage. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1976.

External links



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