Washunga, Oklahoma History


"This information was gathered from various sites throughout the Internet. The numbers behind the sentences correspond to the web page I got the information from during my research. It is a conglomeration of information that has it's resources on the corresponding webpages. Please visit those web pages as the people there have done hard work in making history more available to all of us.

Paul Reeves

At the bottom of the page are 'Places of Interest' where I have captured some of the history of the local area.

washunga 002

Washunga was established in 1903 and named for the third chief of the Kaw tribe. The Kaw Indian lands had taken allotments in 1902 and town lots went on sale June 25, 1903. “Washunga is now a full-fledged city.” reported the Kaw City Star, on November 13, 1903. City officers were J.C. Columbia, mayor; H.D. Early, Clerk and William Hardy, treasurer. The city was composed of six wards. Aldermen were Dr. Compton, D.Early, C.J. Hill, General Hardy, M.L. Leopard and D.W. Bush.[1]

A post office had existed at the Kaw Agency since June 28, 1880. The original Kaw Agency office was named “Washungo”, then “Washunga” in 1906. Mr. Davenport was the first postmaster of Washunga and Forrest Choteau was appointed to the position on September 4, 1903 to replace Davenport, who had died. W.H. Hill replaced Choteau on May 6, 1904 when he resigned the position after serving only eight months. The post office closed November 15, 1918.[1]

washunga 001

An Indian boarding school was built and in operation in 1893 near the Kaw Agency. The school included a one-story building for classes and a huge four-story dormitory, both built of native stone. In later years the school building was used as the Kaw Council House and was moved to a location above Washunga Bay, being the only Kaw Agency building to survive the construction of the Kaw Dam. The large dormitory was destroyed by fire in 1910. A small white school was constructed for use as a public school and later the dormitory was rebuilt for use as a public school.

washunga 004

A memorable character of the Kaw tribe was Julie Pappan’s grandson, Charles Curtis. Julie convinced the orphaned Charles to stay in Topeka, Kansas with the Curtis family and receive a good education, instead of returning to live with her at the Council Grove reservation. He remained in Topeka and went on to serve Kansas in Congress for 34 years. He also became Vice-President of the United States under Herbert Hoover, from 1929-1933. Charles visited Washunga often, never forgetting his Indian heritage.[1]

washunga 003

If you remember the movie 'Twister' when the people in the truck were crossing a bridge and the lady said "Cow" and the other woman was in the back seat telling here friend on the phone that they were seeing 'cows', and it was the scene with the 'Sisters' tornadoes, this is the bridge they were crossing across Kaw Lake.  It is on the road to the Washunga Bay campground.


Places of Interest:

© Lord Gazmuth 2012