Campaign Raises Money To Restore Mule Barn At Fort Reno

Monday, August 15th 2016, 10:55 pm
By: News 9

A piece of Oklahoma history will soon be a thing of the past. The last of three mule barns at Fort Reno is falling apart, so the U.S. Cavalry is rolling into town to restore history.

Jimmy Johnston looks like a picture right out of a history book of a member of the U.S. Cavalry.

"This is a colt 45, this is the gun that won the west," he said, showing News 9 the historical gun and his uniform. "The uniform is 100 percent wool."

Each year, he and dozens of other cavalry reenactors meet for a little friendly competition to preserve a legacy of horsemanship through the annual Bivouac at Fort Reno

"It's important for people to see what goes on," said Johnston.

"Fort Reno has not only a history for Oklahoma but a world history," said Wendy Ogden, Director of the U.S. Cavalry Association.

The association is now headquartered inside a restored 1874 building on the grounds, where officers and their families once lived.

"When you step foot through our building, you step into a time realm of 1876," Ogden said.

Wearing her dress straight out of Gettysburg, she gives tours of the museum inside, where rare uniforms, pictures and other artifacts are housed. Downstairs is a research library.

"It's a treasure that anybody that travels through, they're going to leave learning something new," she said.

Down the road, the last of three mule barns are still standing, but barely, after it was hit hard by a tornado in 2013.

"It went barn one to the south, two in the center and three to the far north," Ogden explained.

With 35 stalls inside, Cavalry members used the barn to stable their horses. Now, the association is raising money to restore it in its campaign, Operation Restoration.

"That's a piece of history, it's gone it's gone, we can't put it back," said Johnston. "Right now, it's at a point where we can save."

"Twenty percent of our visitors that come through here are international travelers and so to have that barn up and operational so people can see a piece of world history, it's something we want to see and share with the world," said Ogden.

The association needs $80,000 to restore the mule barn. They have two thirds of it saved all through donations.

Click here if you would like to help