Fort Reno – Officers’ Quarters, 16×20, acrylic on canvas ©2013 M.B. Hendry
A warm January afternoon sun in Oklahoma can fool this Canadian into believing Spring is just around the corner. Nearly 60F and clear skies made for a great day to visit an Oklahoma landmark – Historic Fort Reno.
Fort Reno was at the crossroads of the American West, the Indian Wars, cattle drives and the eventual settlement of Oklahoma – the Boomer/Sooners making the Land Run one of the most famous (or infamous) settlement schemes in U.S. history. Oklahoma was Indian Terrotry until it was formally made a state in 1907.
‘Oklahoma’ is Choctaw for “red people”(okla=people, humma=red). Eastern Oklahoma was the end of the Trail of Tears and the Fort was eventually used to protect the ‘five civilized tribes’ (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee (Creek), and Seminole) at the end of the Indian Wars. Currently, over 50 tribes live in this state.
Just outside of the town of El Reno, the town from which the Fort drew its name, most of the old buildings stand in various states of restoration. The commissary – one of the oldest buildings on the site and the officers’ quarters have been restored on the exterior. The Chapel built by German and Italian prisoners of war in the 1940′s is fully restored. The barracks/military hospital has been restored and is currently used by USDA.
I spent the better part of 3 hours wandering the large complex of buildings and the cemetery containing the remains of both civilians, military and P.O.W’s. The cemetery was marked by a lonely grove of cedar and juniper trees at the top of a tiny hill amidst empty fields cast gold in the late afternoon light. The far western edge of the cemetery was segregated by a low wall. A step bridge gave access to a small group of P.O.W. graves. The majority were German, a few were Italian with evidence that their families had come to repatriate their ancestors as recently as 9 years ago.
I took dozens of photos and set aside a few for references. A life on the move has been keeping me so busy it has taken until Spring to get the painting finished. It is a painting of the living quarters for officers at historic Fort Reno, viewed looking in from the porch.
Below are a few more photos from the Fort and the Officers’ Quarters in particular and a link to their website.
For my blog subscribers:
It think I have the problem corrected this time and if you got a duplicate mailing – not to worry! This was the last one and the new format with the full post should be the only one you receive from this point forward. My technical skills are rusty… Hmmmmm… Thanks for your patience!