By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Stories of the Chisholm Trail will be featured in a new, two-disc DVD set produced by Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau and KJ Productions.
The DVD also features Bob Klemme, Enid Chisholm Trail historian.
In “Guardian of the Chisholm Trail,” Klemme will reveal his passion and knowledge of the Chisholm Trail, which passed through Enid. The discs feature historical re-enactments of pieces of history along the Chisholm Trail and include stories about the Marrying Tree, Pat Hennessey, Cowboy Monument and Skeleton Creek Ranch. The second disc is an audio travel guide with cowboy poetry, legends, paths to historic sites and more.
The set is available for $15 from the Enid Welcome Center or the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center.
Klemme has spent much of his life preserving the heritage of the region. His boyhood fascination with the trail led him to personally mark the exact path it took across Oklahoma. He spent many hours constructing and setting up more than 400 concrete markers that weighed about 200 pounds each, with the goal of creating interest in the Chisholm Trail and his hope that someday it will become a National Historic Trail.
When making the DVD, KJ Productions started by Hennessey and traveled north past all the markers. At each one, Klemme told a story about that site.
The Chisholm Trail has interested Klemme since he was a ninth-grade student taking Oklahoma history in school. He obtained a survey map done in 1872 or 1873, which showed the exact route of the trail, plus survey notes showing where the section lines are located. Using that map, he found the trail, and began marking it through Oklahoma.
“It got out of hand and just kept growing,” Klemme said. “First it was just across the Cherokee Outlet, then as far south as I could go.”
Klemme believes Oklahoma has some of the most interesting history of any state. He considers the American Indian tribes and the three main cattle trails, which all went through Oklahoma, as a major part of the nation’s history. The Shawnee Trail passed through the state on the east, the Chisholm Trail in the middle of the state and the Great Western Trail on the western side of Oklahoma.
“Those were the interstate highways of the day,” Klemme said. “They carried freight and people, besides the cattle. If it hadn’t been for those three trails, Texas may still be trying to dig out of the Civil War. They were broke.”
Klemme has been working for 15 years trying to have the Great Western Trail and the Chisholm Trail placed on the National Register of Historic Trails. When President Obama signed the land bill, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole filed a bill to have the trails designated historic trails. When the bill was signed, that section was pulled out and given to the National Park Study, which recently has completed a three-year feasibility study to see if the trails qualify, Klemme said. He expects to know by summer what will be done.
Marcy Jarrett, executive director of the Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she was eager to sponsor the DVD.
“Bob Klemme has done so much to preserve Enid’s and Oklahoma’s history,” Jarrett said. “This DVD is our small contribution to helping Bob achieve his goal of keeping the Chisholm Trail alive for future generations.”