Welcome back. Although Lawton, Oklahoma has come and gone for me way too quickly, I’m for sure coming back to see more of this town. From last week’s column you learned that Geronimo is buried here and I discovered that he is not the only Indian chief in the cemetery in Lawton. The Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, Kiowa Chief Santana and several others are also buried here, some under the Henry Post Army Airfield but that my friends is for another story.
If you’re not a regular reader you may wonder where I get my information and in Lawton I found that there are three museums which are a great resource for local history. The Museum of the Great Plains is all about the early days of the town and its settlements. The Fort Sill Museum is a must see as well and sits right where the original fort was. The old guardhouse and barracks along with many of the other old buildings are all listed as National Historic Landmarks. The Comanche National Museum is of course all about the Comanche tribe, past and present. In addition to their own collections, the museum frequently hosts traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Trust me, all three museums are well worth your time.
When I had a little time to tour the town I found that Lawton’s park system is quite a deal and from what I saw a real thing of beauty. They have eighty-yes eighty- parks and recreational areas within the city limits. There are also three big lakes close by all of which offer boating, swimming, fishing and camping. Over 94,000 people live in the Lawton area and they support three newspapers, a half dozen radio stations, three major TV stations and a monthly magazine.
Numerous prominent people have come from Lawton including a fellow I was lucky enough to meet a few years ago, the late Comanche code talker Charlie Chibity. The famous actress Joan Crawford and NBA basketball great Stacy King are also from here. Want to learn more about the Plains Indian wars or maybe see the graves of Geronimo and Quanah Parker or take a tour of old Fort Sill? It’s all in Lawton and if you can’t tell, I definitely recommend a visit.
AS for me, this week and next I’ll be deep in the Sangre de Christo Mountains where now that hunting season is mostly over I hope to get a chance to spot more wildlife. Bear, mountain lion, elk and deer all live here and so will I. Not to hunt but to write another true story which I hope you will find as interesting as my last book. With no TV or internet and just limited radio reception, this place in February isn’t for everyone but for my purposes its perfect and the people I do see love it here in the clean high altitude mountain air. Next week, more on my location, a weather report, local skiing conditions and wildlife sightings.
Till then, I’ll see ya down the road……