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Fort Towson Historic Site

Fort Towson Historic Site
896 N 4375 Road
Fort Towson, OK 74735
Director: Calista Stephens
Historical Interpreter: David Reed

Tuesday through Saturday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Seniors (62+)$5
(up to 6 people)
Group Rate (10+)$5/person
OHS Members,
Children (under 6),
Veterans and Active Military (with ID)

Use of drones over Oklahoma Historical Society property is not permitted without written approval of the facility director.

National Register of Historic Places

Fort Towson Commemorates 200 Years

The Fort Towson Historic Site has a full slate of exciting events lined up for 2024 to mark the 200th anniversary of the fort’s establishment. The fort was vital to the westward expansion of the United States from 1824 until it was closed in 1854.

March events included the annual Education Day and the 1840s encampment, and in April visitors viewed the total eclipse at the fort. The 200th commemoration was held on Saturday, May 18, recognizing contributions of the soldiers who manned Fort Towson when it was active while celebrating the tremendous contributions of the Choctaw and Chickasaw people.

“A common theme in the life of the fort was building roads to improve communication and transportation,” said Fort Towson Historic Site Director Calista Stephens. “The fort was really a transportation hub. The network of roads that comes together here is a physical reminder that Fort Towson was a destination. This year’s events will emphasize the importance of the fort in westward expansion as well as the enduring relationships with the Choctaw and Chickasaw people that continue to this day.”

Other events include History Day Camp in May, teacher’s institute in July, the annual Cinnamon Roll Social, and the Doaksville Candlelight Tour in the fall.

Visit Fort Towson Historic Site

The Fort Towson Historic Site visitor center offers engaging exhibits that delve into the fort’s rich history from its construction in 1824 and its role in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, to the steamboats that ferried people and supplies through the region. Visitors will hear the story of nearby Doaksville, first established as a trading post that later became a thriving commercial center and capital of the Choctaw Nation.

The site brings history to life through the 1840s Encampment and Education Day each spring, Candlelight Tours in the fall and winter, and events and demonstrations throughout the year.

On-Site Events

History of the Fort

Fort Towson was established in 1824 to quell conflicts between lawless elements, American Indian peoples, and settlers claiming the area as part of Arkansas Territory. The fort also served as an outpost on the border between the United States and Texas, which at that time was part of Mexico. Connected to the East by road, Fort Towson served as a gateway for settlers bound for Texas during the 1830s. Those passing through the area included Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and Stephen F. Austin. When the Choctaw and Chickasaw were displaced from their lands in the southeastern United States, the fort served as a point of dispersal upon their arrival in the West. The fort was also an important staging area for US forces during the Mexican War of 1846.

Fort Towson

Fort Towson was abandoned in 1854 when the frontier moved West. During the Civil War, however, it served for a time as headquarters for Confederate forces operating in Indian Territory. In 1865 General Stand Watie surrendered his command near the fort and became the last Confederate general to lay down arms.

When the Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the site in the 1960s, little remained to portray its former importance. Today, a visitor center, reconstructed sutler store, teamster’s cabin, and a walking trail of historic ruins chronicle the story of the fort.

Visit The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture to find out more about Fort Towson.