CHEYENNE, Okla. (KFOR) – It was the Spring of 1892, just after the Cheyenne-Arapaho Land Run, that a settler named Charlie Guernsey dragged some cedar logs all the way from Taloga to build himself a cabin.
He’d been a freight hauler, the one of the first lawman in the area.
Jerry Swartwood and others on the board of the Cheyenne Museum complex, who are now charged with caring for this old place, figure he knew what he was doing.
“Kitchen, front room, bedroom,” remarks a first-time visitor as they walk through this two-room structure. “And of course outside would be the outhouse.”
“Yes,” chuckles Swartwood. “Considering how much it was used and how old it is, it’s stood up very well.”
Guernsey sold his cabin to John and Betty Kendall in 1902.
By the time preachers were baptizing their flock in the Washita River, the Kendalls had 8 kids living inside this two-room structure.
“That would have made things pretty crowded, Jerry states.
The family did eventually find a bigger house around 1910, the same time the Cheyenne Platonic Club held its first meeting.
The town of Strong City, also in 1910, moved itself right to where the old cabin sat.
“The town was build around it,” he continues.
For a time it was the city office. Locals called it the “Town Site House” while Strong City built a reputation for broom corn.
The cabin changed hands several times, from the Widow Nance, to George Lacy, who wanted to make it a service station. It survived a 1934 flood, a 1961 tornado, winds and weather that swept away every other rickety shack Roger Mills County had to offer.
Swartwood says, “Some of these houses were not sealed up very well, and in the winter snow would actually sift through the walls.”
After Agnes Musick moved out in 1962, Strong City took over maintenance of the building.
When nearby Cheyenne built a historic park in 1992, they moved it along with the Roll School, the train depot, and a church.
The city moved it once more in 1999 and here it sits today, a survivor of everything Western Oklahoma and changing times could throw at it.
“Amazing,” Jerry smiles.
Two rooms and a pile of red cedar logs still stand as witness to 130 years of history.
The Cheyenne Park and museum complex are open for tours daily. Admission is free.
For more information go to travelok.com.