Saturday, August 23, 2014
The antique town on a buffalo trail.
Caddo, Oklahoma- The Antique Town on the Buffalo Trail
What impresses visitors about Caddo, Oklahoma is the downtown block of brick buildings. Many visitors say it reminds them of a movie set. With the exception of a few vacant spaces, the downtown appears much as it did in 1905. This is a testament to the early residents since 21 original wood frame buildings were lost in the great fire of 1900.
The name "Caddo" is derived from KADOHADACHO (ka do hada’ cho) meaning Real Chief. The word comes from the Caddo Indian tribe that once inhabited the area. According to tradition, in 1840 the Caddo tribe and the Choctaws met in a fierce battle about two miles SE of Caddo, where the Caddoans came often to hunt and camp. The Choctaws were reportedly victorious.
The land site of Caddo was obtained in 1872 by a patent issued by the government since Oklahoma was not a state at that time. It is still in effect and serves the same purpose as a deed. It originally came from the Choctaws.
In 1872, settlers lived in tents until homes could be built. Cowboy Pink Williams, former Oklahoma State Treasurer, whose father was in the hardware business said that many times when the tents were brought in on trains and loaded on his wagons, they were never unloaded in the stores because of the immediate demand for them. Early businesses were operated from small wooden structures. Side walks were of wood. Roads were not graveled. Sometimes mud would be knee deep on Main Street.
The M.K.T. reached Caddo in the latter part of 1872 and on Christmas day of that year crossed the Texas border into Denison, Texas. By 1873 about 400 people had clustered around its 600-foot long frame railroad depot. Caddo was a major trading and freighting station until the Ft. Worth and Denver RR was constructed reaching Henrietta, TX in 1885. After that the Caddo station began to dwindle in importance.
Much of Caddo’s early history can still be found in old newspapers, available on microfilm at local libraries. Newspapers were published in Indian Territory soon after the removal of the Choctaws to Oklahoma. Caddo’s first known paper began January 14, 1874 and was the first in the state to use the word Oklahoma in its title. The editor was W.J Hemby. He employed Granville McPherson who later became owner of the paper and one of Caddo's leading citizens.
By August of 1910 Caddo boasted "thirty-eight brick businesses and many handsome residences". It had a population of eighteen hundred and was a major trade and agricultural center.
Caddo still celebrates its rich history each year on the first Saturday in October with its Heritage Day festival. The celebration includes lots of fellowship, food, entertainment and excitement.
What is unique about Caddo is that it still exists! With all the economic ups and downs of the area over the years, Caddo still exists because of its strong people. There is a bond here- to history, to family origins, to a sense of “home”.
Caddo has a good location, good weather, good water, good people. And now, with the growth and development in Durant, it is beginning to see a boom in housing construction and renovation.
It’s a place where anything is possible and people are willing to believe in you. Follow your dream to Caddo, Oklahoma!