‘How would you like some free land?’ asked the stranger; there’s only one catch

Great State

SKEDEE, Okla. (KFOR) – Amy Hedges runs a tag agency in Pawnee.

Her office sits inside a beautifully restored historic building on a busy corner there.

“It’s the old bank building,” she says.

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The old bank building.

One day, not long ago, an older gentleman from Tulsa, a stranger, walked in with a unique offer, free land on a town plot, if she would promise to somehow honor its history.

“That was a weird day,” she recalls. “It was kind of crazy.”

“He didn’t want the history of that area lost, is what he told me.”

She has the deed described at Lot One, Block 15 in Skedee, Okla., a few miles north of Pawnee.

There’s a famous monument there of Osage Chief Bacon Rind shaking hands with auctioneer Colonel Ellsworth Walters.

The plaque and statue were dedicated in 1926 when the town was a busier place.

Hedges says, “I think the population of the town was only 250 at its peak. It’s a very quiet town.”

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Amy Hedges

She took a trip out to see her gifted property last week.

It’s a former grocery store and post office, but only the walls are left.

The roof has long since collapsed.

“I can do anything with it,” she says hopefully.

Amy has some experience with old buildings like hers back in Pawnee, and she does run a popular Facebook group called Forgotten Oklahoma with nearly 100,000 members to date.

But a gift like this, if you can call it a gift, is going to take some thinking.

“I don’t know,” she says as she looks around. “We’ll see. It’s going to take a lot of work.”

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Welcome to Skedee

For now, Amy wants to make certain the walls won’t fall down.

She’d like to clear the vines and continue to take suggestions, which have been coming in by the hundreds already.

“A lot of people have suggested that I let the building ‘speak’ to me,” she states.

Colonel Walters and Chief Baconrind overlook a few other vacant properties in Skedee, an old gas station and another old store across the street.

There is a blank state here on which to draw.

Hedges sees it as a gift from one ‘forgotten Oklahoma’ to another Forgotten Oklahoma.

The new owner’s ideas might still be up in the air, but they’re grounded in a love of history.

“Something is going to happen there,” she promises, “And it’s going to be really cool.”

For more information about the Forgotten Oklahoma Facebook site, go to www.facebook.com/groups/forgottenoklahoma/.

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