The Mohawk Lodge Indian Store houses a treasure of Native American culture in Clinton

CLINTON, Okla.-- It's one of those places you walk through and don't know exactly where to look.

"They open that door and say, 'Oh goodness,'" relates Mohawk Lodge Indian Store owner Patricia Henry.

Even she isn't sure exactly what's here.

"Somebody said, 'Do you take inventory?'" says Pat. "I said, 'How would you do that?"

The store opened its doors in 1892. The Dutch Reform Church out of New York wanted to give displaced native plains tribes a way to make money.

Henry says, "Your best advertising is 'word to mouth'."

N.B. Moore took it over and moved the store to a spot on Route 66. Pat's mom, Nellie Stevens, bought it from him and passed it on to Pat and her husband.

"I love it," says Pat. "I love the people that come in."

The counters date back to the store's beginning. Many of the items on display go back further than that.

"These cases have stuff from the 1800's," she points.

There are photographs here for which there are no duplicates, a collection of rare cradleboards rivals most museums.

Pat points to another glass case in the back of the store.

"This is Cheyenne and it's made in 1892."

Drums, pottery, hand-made dolls, stuff her mom collected, it's all in here somewhere.

Henry declares, "There's trunks in here that I have never opened."

The Indian Store still sells Czech Beads and tanned hides.

Native American artists come in all the time to buy raw materials to make new art pieces.

"We sell thread, needles, hides..." she lists.

This store also remains the oldest outlet for Pendleton blankets.

"Since 1899," states Pat.

When Nellie left the store to her daughter, Pat put as much as she could on display.

It's now a sort of museum and memorial with a few things left to sell or trade.

"I'm the keeper," she says, "until it passes on to someone else."

Pat doesn't really know what will happen to this place when she goes, but, for now, it's still here.

Store, museum, tribute, culture, all on display on Route 66.

It's a traveler's highlight worth a stop for its window into Oklahoma's past.

The Mohawk Lodge Indian Store is located at 22702 Route 66 North in Clinton, OK.

The store is usually open Monday through Saturday.

For more information, call (580) 323-2360.

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