Woodward, Okla. —
PUTNAM - The board members for this South Dewey County town have scheduled a free Thanksgiving meal Saturday.
Board member J.C. Winters said another member wanted to host a Thanksgiving meal, and he wanted to put on a history program.
"So we just put them together," Winters said.
The dinner will start at 6 p.m. at the old schoolhouse gym, which is just west of the town's main intersection with U.S. Highway 183.
"You can see it from the (highway)," Winters said. "There's a statue of a rearing horse in front."
Art Peters, curator of the Hinton Historical Museum, is scheduled to conduct a presentation on the California Wagon Road during the gathering. This route traversed Oklahoma between Arkansas and the California gold fields from 1849 through the Civil War period.
Peters said he will cover the many challenges the immigrants endured and the various flora and fauna discoveries they made along the trail, as well as discussing the lingering evidence of their presence.
The Oklahoma Historical Society reported that 20,000 persons traveled the road during its existence.
"This is the first one of these gatherings ever planned," Winters said. "We hope it's the start of an annual event."
He said Peters started coming to the area a couple of years ago to note its various historical assets, such as wagon tracks of the trail, and Winters got interested in exhibiting the various artifacts.
"I've always been into the history of things," Winters said.
Winters said there has been strong interest in the event and organizers are starting to wonder if they should have requested advance registrations.
"It's too late to RSVP now," Winters said. "We've reserved 100 meals, and can go 10 percent over that with the caterer."
The gym does not have central heating so a coat will probably be needed.
"Come out and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast and learn more about our local history," Winters said.
To find out more about the Putnam board and its activities, contact Winters at (580) 445-1952.