Mustang Historical Society celebrates 150th anniversary of Chisholm Trail

The Mustang Historical Society is honoring the 150th year of the Chisholm Trail with a new display room at the Mustang Historical Museum, 470 W. State Highway 152.
The display room is dedicated solely to the Chisholm Trail and how it fits into the history of Mustang. It contains informative displays showing where the trail started in Texas and into Kansas where the Pacific Railroad was, pictures done by Stephen Webber, a wooden chuck wagon wheel, bull whips, a kettle, cast-iron skillets, coffee pot, guns, books and more.
The society is hoping to keep expanding on the display room, President Jim Nowlin said, so they’re asking the community for donated items related to the Chisholm Trail.
The display, along with the rest of the museum, will be open for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
“I hope [visitors] get an appreciation of the history of this area and what struggles people went through to accomplish a business venture,” Nowlin said.
The Mustang Historical Museum has storage area upstairs that they put some of their items in to make room for the Chisholm Trail display. Nowlin said they’re going to start doing a better job of using their storage to rotate items for different displays.
The idea for the display came up because any of the historical societies that were a stop on the Chisholm Trail were invited to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan for the 150th year, and the Mustang Historical Society decided it was a good way to honor the 150th year, Nowlin said.
“We thought, ‘well, we’re right here by the trail, on the trail, so why not have a display that reflects what happened 150 years ago?’ That’s what we’re here for, to display part of the history of Mustang,” Nowlin said.
Former Gov. George Nigh, a historian that’s fond of the history of the Chisholm Trail, is the one who kicked off the celebration of the 150th year and wanted as many markers on the Chisholm Trail as possible to celebrate it, Carole Hanna said.
The 800-mile-long Chisholm Trail began in 1867 after the Civil War. Texans would bring herds of long horned cattle from the ranges of Texas to the railroads in Kansas, passing through several Oklahoma towns and Indian Territory.
The Chisholm Trail was essentially what is now Highway 81, and was more than just one trail. There was several different paths on the one trail because the cattle needed grass and water.
The cattle drives usually took about two to three months.
The trail moved more than 5 million cattle, 1 million horses and about 35,000 cowboys between 1867 and 1884.
“The Chisholm Trail is what brought Texas and the rest of the nation out of the depressing times after the Civil War. We hope people will bring their children and they can kind of get a sense of what the history is all about because they don’t teach this in school anymore,” Hanna said. “One of our goals is to educate people.”
Glen Muse added to the goal of educating people by saying the Mustang Historical Society wants to “preserve the past for the future.”

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