By Vesta Baker
CADDO – Members of Caddo Community Association are taking a look back at history, as they plan the 2018 Heritage Day celebration.
This will be the 34th annual Heritage Day, dating back long before the CCA was formed as a not for profit corporation. The town leaders had made it a priority to produce top quality annual festivals, even in early 1900s when the Corn Festival, the predecessor of the county fair, drew participants from all parts of Oklahoma. In the CCA Bylaws, approved in June, 1994, the founders included in their purpose “To hold celebrations during the year for which the entire town is welcome to participate in or feel free to watch and enjoy.” That continues to be the motivation for volunteers in 2018.
Festival goers are encouraged to visit the Indian Territory Museum on Saturday, Oct. 20, to see artifacts and photos showing the many festivals and fairs dating back to early 1900s. Museum curator, Joyce Alexander, said the museum will be open from 9 am until the afternoon festivities end. The museum welcomes travelers from all states and many foreign countries each year, with a variety of displays about Caddo, the oldest town in Bryan County.
The historic “Rock Community Building,” built as a WPA project in 1939 on Buffalo Street, will be the site of the silent auction again this year. The renovated building will provide a comfortable place to rest and restrooms are open to the public. Donated items will be on display for bidding from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. – items of interest for men, women and children. Winners should claim and pay for their items by 2 p.m. All proceeds go to fund the charitable projects of CCA throughout the year.
The Heritage Day theme “Let the Good Times Roll!” is an appropriate reference to the importance of many modes of transportation that have come through Caddo. According to folk history, the locals used the natural buffalo run as a roadway and, when the community became a town, they eventually named the east/west road Buffalo Street. The town was established in 1872, as a primary stop of the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railroad, reaching northward from Denison Texas.
The Choctaw Nation originally used the site as a court town, in what was then Blue County, Indian Territory, which drew folks from miles around by horseback and buggy, to settle their legal disputes. The town of Caddo was well known as a stopping place on the trail between Fort Smith and Fort Worth, and was an important trading post for soldiers and settlers across Indian Territory.
Transportation of all kinds, horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles or automobiles, was difficult for locals and travelers, during rainy seasons, due to the black clay dirt in many regions around Caddo. In the early 1900s, concerned citizens joined efforts to build a good road, to make travel for commerce, schools and personal business possible at all times of the year. They looked to the future, with high hopes for the future generation’s prosperity.
In The Caddo Herald, June 8, 1923, it was announced, “There are thirty-five pupils in the Southeastern Normal who live in and near Caddo who make the trip each day in cars. It requires eleven cars to transport these pupils. They leave Caddo each morning at 7 and arrive home around 2 in the afternoon. The good road to Durant makes the Normal as near to Caddo as it is to many parts of Durant. It requires but a half hour of ordinary driving to get there. The young folks are taking advantage of this opportunity to increase their learning and earning capacity.”
CCA hopes that children and adults will take the opportunity to see the interesting exhibits at Caddo Indian Territory Museum, during 2018 Heritage Day, and that many will learn about the contribution of Caddo citizens in the transcontinental Jefferson Highway. If each citizen will catch the spirit of hope and commitment passed down from our forefathers, we will better our lives together.
The free celebration will start at 8 a.m. in downtown Caddo, and will have all day entertainment, contests and games till 4 p.m. The public is invited to bring a car, truck or tractor for the car show or parade, kids bring a turtle for the turtle race, and men with beards come ready to show them off for the beard contest. Come prepared to support CCA and mingle with neighbors and friends. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text Jennifer at (580) 634-1456.