The following was copied from a pamphlet published by the museum.

The Lincoln County Historical Society
Museum of Pioneer History

(Click to enlarge)

Museum History

The Museum of Pioneer History began in 1954 as part of the Chandler Historical Society. In 1959 the Society changed its name to The Lincoln County Historical Society, Museum of Pioneer History.

Members joined from all parts of the county and beyond. They gathered artifacts for housing in a central place available to the public and began to document the history of the area. The society sprang from roots first planted 1938 at the county fair, with delegates representing all communities. During World War II the organization was discontinued.

The Museum of Pioneer History's aim is to preserve records of mans first uses of the land and his life to the present in the broadest interpretation of a general historical museum.

After years of moving about town into vacant buildings for museum housing, historical society members purchased the vintage 'Mascho-Murphy' building at 719 Manvel in 1968 for $10,000. Some renovations was accomplished with gifts and fund-raising.

The building was without adequate heat or cooling and the roof often leaked, but the museum and its collection continued to be a popular attraction. A newspaper microfilm library was established and genealogical records assembled.

Expansion Project Launched

In 1982, the adjacent 'twin' building became for sale. With private contributions of more than the $27,500 purchase price, the museum space was increased to 8,000 square feet for the crowded, growing collection. A four-year fund-raising drive was accomplished to complete re-roofing and restoration of the two-story native stone buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are the oldest existing commercial buildings still in use in Lincoln County. The six remarkable Romanesque arches framing the facade are fifteen feet high.

In 1987, contracts were let to Robison-Beck Architects and Diepenbrock Construction Company for the $180,000 restoration project.

Generous contributions, ranging from $25 to $35,000 have come from individuals and organizations (including $100 from a third grade class). With the addition of a $50,000 grant from the Oklahoma Historical Society, the collection can now be housed in a modern-day, climate-controlled museum with proper lighting and ultraviolet light protection.

The building's restoration has been carried out mindful of U.S. Department of Interior guidelines for historic buildings.

Museum Tour

Visitors to the museum are first greeted by the old-fashioned traditional 'general store', replica of the traditional small town information and supply center. The town post office and telephone switchboard is included.

Items displayed are typical of those found in general stores throughout Lincoln County at the turn of the century, shortly after settlement and nearing statehood era, 1907. Although there were specialty shops from meat markets to harness shops, the general store could have everything one needed from salve to surreys.

This room is restored authentically including the wood floor and fifteen foot high wooden beaded ceiling. This building was build in 1897 by grocer A. E. Mascho who was nearly killed here in the devastating cyclone of March 30, 1897 which demolished his first structure. Mascho set about rebuilding immediately.

This space was used most often as a general store. In 1912 for a time it became Jed Page's variety 'racket' store.

A primitive cellar has been discovered in the northwest corner. Presently it is not open for viewing. Accessible through a trap-door, it is a simple 14 x 17 foot excavation. It is presumed builder-Mascho intended to have adequate protection should another cyclone strike. After the 1897 storm, Chandler buildings were constructed of extra-thick walls in hopes of avoiding repeated destruction.

During restoration work, a large, connecting arched doorway was discovered which is now returned to an ample-sized attractive opening, between the two buildings. It had been sealed and forgotten.

The arch is similar to those constructed across the building facade. Called 'working arches', the hand- cut sandstones are placed so they support each other and the weight above. Air circulated through the interior storerooms through transom windows in the arches which swung open inward with the pull of a chain.

At the far rear of this room, an office, workroom and fireproof cement storage vault have been constructed.

North Gallery, Front

This area was also used for commercial ventures, built in 1898 by Macho as almost a twin to his first. It was long known as 'Murphy's Meat Market' in the early part of this century. J. F. Murphy was well- known for his genial nature and horseshoe pitching skill. Note the 'No Loafing' sign he left beside the stairway wall. The stairwell area originally featured an early elevator.

This gallery features rotating exhibits and provides space for traveling or visiting exhibits. Two west corners of the room feature permanent exhibits.

Historical Paintings

On the north wall hang five acrylic mural-like paintings by Fred Olds, Guthrie artist and sculptor. They are gifts of Col. and Mrs. John Embry. They depict area history in the following sequence:

1. Arrival Indians;
2. Cattle trails, first settlements;
3. Religion;
4. The Run;
5. Early settlement scenes.

Tilghman, Kent Exhibit

Famed Deputy U.S. Marshal, Bill Tilghman was a county homesteader, sheriff, state senator, Chandler town marshal and known for his long career of Oklahoma law enforcement He traveled the country with a movie he made in partnership with Benny Kent, 'The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaw'.

Benny Kent is known for his contributions to early photography, both in stills, stereoptican views and movies. He has provided documentation for many county scenes as well across Oklahoma and the 101 Ranch. He was an English Jeweler who settled in Chandler before 1900.

Printing, Publishing Exhibit

Lincoln County was without connection to the outside world by railroads, or telephone during its first years of settlement Communication was by word of mouth, mall delivered by stagecoach, and newspapers.

The first to be published was the 'The Chandler News' at the county seat. The printing and publishing exhibit feature a Linotype type-setting machine although first type was set by hand. Also featured is a hand operated press which printed 'Boomer' leaflets promoting opening of Oklahoma. County newspapers have numbered some 49 different newspapers or titles and mergers.

North Gallery, Rear
Library, Marionette Theater

In the west section of the North building is the Hoffman Library and Armstrong Marionette Theater.

The stage in the northwest corner has been constructed to present marionette plays, reviving the legacy left by Chandler teacher, Fay Armstrong. She was well-known for using her handmade marionettes in teaching. Through gifts made by her sister, Ola Armstrong, this revival of entertainment and education for young and old is made possible.

Generosity of Jeanne Hoffman Smith, and Mrs. Roy Hoffman, Jr., has made possible the expansion of the museum and its library in memory of their family.

Kitchen and restrooms are located in the rear of this building. At the outside rear is Oklahoma's only remaining brick outdoor restroom, more often called a 'privy' or 'out-house'. It was build about 1910 and featured a primitive, but then, very advanced mechanical commode. It has been restored, but not to its original public use.


The genealogy department In the museum is now equipped with micro-film and micro-fiche readers. Research records include Lincoln County cemeteries, marriages, census and early day county newspapers. Tract records and voting registration books are also available.

All of the above are available to the public.

Second Floor, North Gallery

In what was once upstairs offices and/or apartments, you will find replicas of early physician and dental offices, a one-room school, farm Implements, cobbler, milliner and seamstress shops and the Embry Military Exhibit. The military exhibit is an outstanding collection of county servicemen and women, courtesy of Col. John Embry.

Governors, Congressman

Lincoln County notables whose biographies are included in the museum include former Governors Roy Turner and J. B. A. Robertson and U. S. Congressman J. S. Pringey.

Second Floor, South Gallery

This area features a replica of living quarters used by residents who owned or operated the store below. Several apartment room walls have been altered to give visitors a better view of the interiors. This area was occupied In 1912 by a young couple just married, Jed and Laura Page from Carney. They operated the variety 'racket' store below.

Their front parlor entrance hall was the narrow, steep, typical stairwell which also served the adjoining building. Please use the handrail when descending.

Route 66 Exhibit

The Museum of Pioneer History is located on America's Main Street, Route 66. The Lincoln County Historical Society compiled a Route 66 Exhibit entitled "26 Skidoo! The Early Years of Route 66, an anniversary exhibit". It contains photos and artifacts that tell the history of the highway, including construction, controversies, customs and changing landscapes.

Antique car shows and car cruises are scheduled at intervals during the year.

The History Book

A 1,572 page, hard bound volume, the LINCOLN COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, HISTORY came off the press in 1988. This book, available at the museum for research or purchase, contains the history of all communities in the county, including schools, churches, businesses, cemeteries and military and family histories. Never-before-seen photographs were used in this first published history of Lincoln County.

Museum Annex

The Oleson-Crane Building built in 1901, listed on the Historic Register, was purchased in 1989 by Museum Patrons. (Please take note of the bronze plaque denoting Historic Register listing on the front of the building). It is undergoing current extensive renovations of the first floor. This is to be a children's center and library, a multi-purpose space for Miss Fay's Marionette Theater, other events, offices and storage.

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We hope you have enjoyed your visit and invite your membership In the Lincoln County Historical Society. Join us in this continuing celebration and presentation of Lincoln County and Oklahoma heritage.

The society is a member of the Oklahoma Museums Association, and provides members with quarterly newsletters. Membership dues allow for operations of the museum and funds for a part-time curator.

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2001 Officers and Staff

Jerry Lathrop, President
Bonnie Walkingstick, Vice-President
Frankie Burchette, Secretary
Helen Brown, Treasurer
Bill Ford, Accountant
Jeanette Haley, Curator

Board of Directors

Virginia Frazier, Chairman
Ethel Wilson
Helen Brown
Frankie Burchette
Vivian Sage
Deborah Briscoe
Norma Cooper
Jerry Lathrop
Bonnie Walkingstick
Steve Mathis
Larry Freeman
Don Ferrell

Museum hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Closed Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. For tours or special weekend needs, call the museum office.

Quarterly meetings and programs are held at the Museum on Sunday afternoons.

Lincoln County Historical Society Museum
of Pioneer History and Children's Resource Center
717-721 Manvel Avenue
Chandler, Oklahoma 74834

(405) 258-2425
FAX: 405-258-1809

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mailbox iconRebecca Maloney

This page was last updated on Friday, 09-Jun-2023 17:20:25 EDT.