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ENID, Okla. (KFOR) – From the Cherokee Strip Heritage Center to the year 1893 isn’t a long walk in historical terms, still only a few generations and a gentle right turn for Museum Director, Jake Krumweide.

“This is where it all started,” he says.

It may not look like much, but the crown jewel of their Humphrey Historic Village is a non-descript, meant to be temporary, structure labeled U.S. Land Office.

He explains, “Anyone claiming land in the Territory would walk right through this door.”

Back in 1893, as hundreds of thousands of settlers rolled into the Strip overnight, the Army chose Enid as one of 4 spots to place land offices.

If you staked a claim somewhere near here, you had to come in to register it.

“There was one in Perry, Alva, Enid, and Woodward.”

“Everyone that staked out a claim in that area had to go the nearest land office within that district.”

Of course it took years for short-handed clerks to sort out competing claims.

“It was a never ending line,” chuckles Krumweide

The land office occupied a spot on the future courthouse square for 20 years at least, until, suddenly, it didn’t.

“This would have been the very first building established here in Enid,” he says. “Then it just, kind of, went away. We didn’t know what happened to it.”

Generations of settlers’ descendants lived and died having forgotten what happened to this little building until residents remodeling an old house a few blocks west of downtown Enid uncovered enough to identify the structure.

US Land Office as house

By that time, says Krumweide, it was, “the only surviving land office in the state of Oklahoma.”

That was nearly 30 years ago.

It took some shoring up.

The old land office had to survive another move to a spot near Government Springs.


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This old office, then an old house, is now a treasured landmark, the one place from that era Oklahomans can still register as a piece of history they can walk into.

Learn more on the Cherokee Strip Heritage Center and the original Land Office on their website.

For information on their scheduled Lantern Walks go to their Facebook page.