Year anniversary of Fort Washita fire

By: Kristen Shanahan Email
By: Kristen Shanahan Email

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the loss of a historic Texoma landmark.

Locals were devastated to hear what had happened to the building out at Fort Washita that once served as a Civil War enlisted men's barracks. Exactly one-year ago a fire engulfed the notable sight, and now all that remains of the original building are its rock walls.

Managers at Fort Washita say seeing the damage caused by an arson fire last year was traumatic.

"It was very devastating. I won't say I cried, but I got real close," Larry Marcy, Fort Washita's Historic Property Manager, said.

Nineteen-year-olds Skylar Forster, Travis Taylor, and Brandon Perkinson said they were "ghost hunting" at the fort in the midst of the night when Taylor set a roll of toilet paper on fire. That fire started a monstrous blaze that caused nearly $2 million dollars in damages, and destroyed a piece of history.

Marcy says it deeply upset him to find the building was lost this way.

"I always worried about it being hit by lightening, or an ember going up the chimney when we had somebody there, and catching the roof on fire. I never dreamed about something of this sort that happened," Mercy said.

Marcy says Fort Washita was built back in the mid-1800s, and its original intent was to protect the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians from the Plains Indians out in the Western Indian Territory. He says it was the lost Barracks building that served as the center piece of the entire fort.

"This is the big, the Titanic of the fleet. If you want to call it that," Marcy said.

Since the incident there have been several fundraisers to fix the fort, but Marcy says what they have collected is hardly a "dent in the bucket" as they still have hundreds of thousands more to go. However, he says they are going to keep on finding ways to raise money.

"We'd love to have it rebuilt sometime in the next, in the at least couple of years because our program is really suffering out here," Marcy said.

Marcy says the next big fundraiser will not be until April for their "Annual Fur Trade Rondevu", and says he hopes they will raise quite a bit of money then. Marcy also says they are always collecting donations, and if anyone who wants to contribute to contact them at the fort .

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