Oklahoma Territorial Plaza
750 N. Main Street
Perkins, OK 74059
The buildings of the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza are open Memorial Day through Labor Day on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Group tours are available year round by calling David Sasser at (405) 547-2411.
The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza is a six acre park located at 750 N. Main Street, just south of the intersection of Highway 33/US 177. It is a joint project of the City of Perkins, the Perkins Community Foundation, and the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza Trust. The Plaza incorporates many methods to interpret and exhibit the history, culture, and art of our community and the evolution of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory into the State of Oklahoma.
As our nation grew, the Indian tribes were removed from their ancestral homes to Indian Territory to make room for settlers - the opening of Oklahoma to settlement marked the end of westward expansion in the United States and the assimilation of Native American peoples and culture with that of the rest of society.
Perkins Main Street, 1894
The site of the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza was once part of the Burk & Martin Ranch, a large cattle operation in the unassigned lands of Oklahoma Territory in the 1870’s, and the Burk & Martin Trail cut across the front of the Plaza. Troops of the 9th U. S. Cavalry, the Buffalo Solders, patrolled this area in the 1880’s evicting the Boomers and other squatters who desired homes in the area. Eventually, the U. S. government bowed to pressure to open the unassigned lands to settlement in 1889.
Perkins was established shortly after the land run and was the “gateway” to the Ioway and Sac and Fox reservations opened by land run in 1891. On September 1, 1891, three weeks before the run, the first wagon bridge across the Cimarron river in Oklahoma was completed at Perkins, and it was symbolic of the joining of the lands of the white man on the north bank of the river with the lands of the Indian on the south bank. Later railroads came to the area and as more families owned automobiles, roads and highways were developed.
Today the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, headquartered at Perkins, is a leader in employment and services to the community, and is an example of what cooperation and diversity between all citizens can accomplish. The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza spotlights this heritage and cooperation.
The focal point of the Plaza is two twelve-foot statues by Oklahoma artist Wayne Cooper. One statue is of Perkins resident, Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton - cowboy, scout, deputy U. S. Marshal, author, and living model for the OSU Cowboy. The other statue is of Chief Nacheninga or “No Heart” of the Ioway Tribe.
An outdoor museum includes the restored home of Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton, a 1901 log cabin, a turn of the century barn built in 1907, as well as a one room schoolhouse. The Forman Antique Agriculture Exhibit will feature a steam engine, thrashing machine, and other antique farm implements.
Another important feature is the Centennial Trails - an arboretum and lighted walking trail featuring native trees and plants.
Chief No Heart
Cattle along the Cimarron river on Townsend & Pickett's I-O-A Ranch, 1890
Oklahoma Territorial Plaza Trustees
W. David Sasser, Chairman
Perkins Historical Society
Tiffani DeArmond, Secretary
City of Perkins
Perkins Chamber of Commerce
Perkins City Manager
Mayor of the City of Perkins
Perkins Park & Recreation Director
Perkins Park & Recreation
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Perkins-Tryon School District
Jack K. Vassar
Perkins Community Foundation
The buildings of the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza are staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers - Thank You!
Richard & Lesa Bane
Bob & Norma Constien
Randy & Teresa Lowe
David & Nancy Orr
We are always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering at the Plaza, contact Judy Bartram at (405) 547-2787
The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza was made possible in part by:
2005 U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Special Grant
2007 Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant
2007 Recreational Trails Program Grant
2007 ODOT Highway Tree Grant
2007 Oklahoma Centennial Commemoration Commission Grant
2008 Oklahoma Historical Society Grant
2012 Payne County Economic Development Grant
2014 Payne County Economic Development Grant
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