Construction is underway for a new trading post at the Great Plains Museum.

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - This trading post will be built from scratch. It will be made with the same or very similar materials and tools as the original trading post in the 1800s.

The previous replica of the trading post was built in the 1980s and the Museum’s staff said it needed a lot of maintenance, so the best thing to do was to build another one.

The Museum personally sought out William Bailey who is the historical contractor for this project.

“I do these tasks, with the materials, and the tools the closest I can of the time period. I will do it the very best that I can do it. And I consider that to be a peasant-grade job. And that in a historical setting like this turns out really well,” Bailey said.

Bailey said he is a historian before he is a builder.

“So all of my thinking and direction is history first. A lot of projects I’ve done required excessive research. About the original builders and regional aspects of building,” Bailey said.

Hollin Coffee was the young entrepreneur who built the first trading post in southwest Oklahoma in the 1800s. He traveled more than 230 miles from Fort Smith to trade here.

“He gets the idea that he can come out here and set up a trading post and make some money of course. And also go on this new adventure. So Mr. Coffee and we think about a dozen men come out to southwest Oklahoma after the dragoons get back to fort Gibson. And they end up building a trading post in what’s not Tillman county,” Ian Swart historian interpreter at the Museum of Great Plains said.

The type of items that were in the trading post included: tin cookware, trading blankets, beads, and steel butcher knives.

Those are the type of items that will be displayed in the trading post.

“What’s so cool about this post, is that it shows or were able to show through this post. What life was like here on the southwest Oklahoma frontier almost 200 years ago,” Swart said.

The trading post is expected to be finished in September of next year