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Historic homes, sites bring understanding to Oklahoma's past

Since the passage of the National Preservation Act of 1966, the Oklahoma Historical Society has entered into federal, state and local partnerships to preserve historic sites across Oklahoma, including research projects to bring structures back to their original states and rehabilitation of structures for adaptive reuses.

The stockade at Fort Gibson, which was established in 1824 at the crossroads of the Three Forks where the Arkansas, Verdigris and Grand Rivers converge south of the Ozark Plateau, was reopened on April 22. The Overholser Mansion in Oklahoma City and the Frank Phillips Home in Bartlesville also display major restorations.

"Recreating and preserving these and other historic homes and sites have played major roles in the overall efforts to help Oklahomans and other visitors to see and understand the history and development of our state," said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the society. "A big part of this includes partners who have provided support for these efforts."

Fort Gibson's log stockade was closed to the public in 2013 for restoration work that took three years and cost more than $1.5 million. This work was "critical to save this National Historic Landmark for future generations," said Kathy Dickson, the society's director of museums and historic sites.

The stockade was reconstructed under the Works Progress Administration in 1937 and was operated by several state agencies. The Oklahoma Hisotrical Society assumed management in 1983, when the stockade was in poor condition, Dickson said.

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