Fort Gibson907 North Garrison Avenue
Fort Gibson, OK 74434
Director: David Fowler
Staff: Omar Reed, Rory Montgomery, Rick Cragg
|Tuesday–Saturday||10 am to 5 pm|
Use of drones over Oklahoma Historical Society property is not permitted without written approval of the facility director.
Fort Gibson Historic Site
Established in 1824, Fort Gibson served as a starting point for several military expeditions that explored the west and sought peace between the tribes in the region. It was occupied through most of the Indian Removal period then abandoned in 1857. The post was reactivated during the Civil War. The army stayed through the Reconstruction and Indian Wars periods, combating the problem of outlaws and squatters. In 1890, the army abandoned Fort Gibson for the last time.
Visitors to the site can see a reconstruction of the early log fort as well as original buildings from the 1840s through 1870s. Exhibits detailing the history of the fort are located in the Commissary Visitor Center on Garrison Hill. The site also hosts a number of special living history events and programs throughout the year. Fort Gibson is a National Historic Landmark.
Visit the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture to find out more about Fort Gibson.
Fort Gibson Stockade Reopens to the Public
After three years of restoration, the Oklahoma Historical Society is pleased to announce the reopening of the stockade at Fort Gibson on April 22, 2016. The log stockade closed to the public in 2013 for extensive restoration. Restoration work ultimately took three years and totaled more than $1.5 million. This work was critical to save this National Historic Landmark for future generations.
Fort Gibson served a pivotal role in the political, social and economic upheaval that marked the westward expansion of the United States. Fort Gibson was established in 1824 to keep the peace between the Osages and Cherokees. It figured prominently in the Indian removals, and was home to many of our nation's leaders during the 1840s and 1850s. During the Civil War it was renamed Fort Blunt and was the Union headquarters in Indian Territory. Abandoned in 1890, the fort later served as the headquarters for the Dawes Commission for their work enrolling members of the Five Civilized Tribes. At Fort Gibson the Commission members focused their attention on Cherokee Freedmen.
The stockade was reconstructed under the Works Progress Administration beginning in 1937, and since that time has been operated by the state of Oklahoma under several different agencies. In 1983 the Oklahoma Historical Society assumed operation of the stockade in addition to the properties it owned on Garrison Hill. The stockade was in poor condition when the Oklahoma Historical Society assumed management, a situation that only grew worse as the agency endured 11 budgets cuts during its 33 years of management. Vital repair and maintenance funds were sacrificed during these cuts, worsening the downward spiral of the structures.
A grant through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's TEA-21 program provided the biggest single source of funding. Fort Gibson was eligible for the funds due to its importance in regional transportation. The fort served as a crossroads. Built at the critical crossroads of the Three Forks where the Arkansas, Verdigris and Grand Rivers converge south of the Ozark Plateau, Fort Gibson was key to river navigation. It also served as an outpost on the Texas Road connecting settled Missouri with the new country of Mexico after independence from Spain in 1820. Other federal project funds included a Save America's Treasures grant from NPS. The grants, with matching state funds, made it possible to complete what was ultimately $1.5 million in restoration work.
Work continues on restoration at the fort. The first and second phases of restoration work on the 1872 hospital building will begin shortly. This project is made possible by funding through the Long Range Capital Planning Commission under the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
Operating support is generously provided by the Cherokee Nation.