Andi Holland, Director
For Immediate Release
Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center to Open April 1
All is in order, now is the time and the date is set! The public is invited to celebrate the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center's grand opening April 1 at 11 a.m., 507 S. 4th Street in Enid, Oklahoma. The Enid community working in partnership with the Oklahoma Historical Society created the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center to tell the extraordinary stories of settling the Cherokee Strip and share the inspiring lessons of leadership with future generations.
"Enid has a history that reflects the courage and tenacity of American pioneers," said Lew Ward, board chairman of the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. "The center's collection shares these stories and the history of the area through engaging exhibits and a Smithsonian-quality experience."
At the center, visitors learn about the 1893 Land Run – the largest land run in American history opening 6 million acres to settlement. Visitor's also explore how the Cherokee Strip was formed, life on the prairie, the Dust Bowl, area railroads, agricultural development, the discovery and development of the oil industry and Phillip's University, the first private university in the state.
On Sept. 16, 1893, Enid's only permanent structure was the newly constructed U.S. Land Office. By sundown, an estimated 10,000 people inhabited the new town. The center's living history area, Humphrey Heritage Village features the U.S. Land Office as well as other authentic historical buildings including a 1902 Church, an 1895 one-room school, Turkey Creek School, and the 1905 Victorian home and family belongings of J.W. and Alice Glidewell. Visitors touring the Village get a comprehensive look at what it was like to live in the Cherokee Strip in the early 1900s.
A property of the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Heritage Center itself is a magnificent 24,000 sq. ft. facility featuring five exhibit galleries, 2,000 sq. ft. of rotating exhibit space, a theater, a research center, a visitor center and a regionally-inspired gift shop featuring local artisans' products to Hollywood films about the pioneer experience.
"Several years ago, we recognized the need to create a much larger, more comprehensive museum in Enid," said Dr. Bob L. Blackburn, executive director of Oklahoma Historical Society. "From that need, we created the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. We hope someday to be able to create similar regional heritage centers throughout the state using this as the model. We appreciate the local support of the Enid community, which made the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center possible."
In 2005, community leaders began an $8 million capital campaign to create a regional attraction to equal the amazing story to be told. To date, the campaign has raised over $10 million through strong community support for the project.
"Individuals, companies and organizations throughout the state contributed to the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center campaign," said April Danahy, chairman of community relations committee. "This has been a collaborative effort from the start, and we are thrilled to celebrate the heritage center's opening with the public."
Admission costs to the center are $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 12 to 6, and free for ages 5 and younger.
About Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center
The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center is an institutional leader which presents the region's rich heritage through discovery, learning and inspiring leadership; celebrates and commemorates the spirit of the Cherokee Strip Pioneers and relates that spirit to the present and the future; serves other heritage organizations with the common goal of better understanding the history and culture of the Cherokee Strip; and collects, preserves and presents the history of Northwest Oklahoma with emphasis on explaining why history matters. For more information, go to www.csrhc.org or call (580) 237-1907.
About Oklahoma Historical Society
For more than 100 years, the Oklahoma Historical Society has strived to protect, chronicle and share the history of our great state. The Oklahoma Historical Society maintains more than 20 museums and historic sites and five affiliates located throughout Oklahoma. Intriguing destinations, including historic homes, military sites, and museums, offer a unique glimpse into Oklahoma's past. For more information, go to www.okhistory.org or call 405-521-2491.