The old wild west returned to Fort Sill’s Old Post Quadrangle Friday and Saturday, for the 14th Annual Frontier Army Days.
Around 1,100 schoolchildren were welcomed on Friday to travel back in time and learn hands-on about the old frontier days on post. Roving through different stations, the kids glimpsed into various aspects of frontier life, such as a traditional laundry station, a schoolhouse of the era and vintage games. They also conversed with a deputy U.S. Marshal at the guardhouse about law enforcement in Native American territory and listened to the stories of a Buffalo Soldier at the cavalry barracks.
“The significance is just to kind of promote the history of Fort Sill to really kind of give the kids that hands-on feel for what the history is,” Scott A. Neel, Ph.D., director of Fort Sill museums, said. “People go to museums; they see the objects and they don’t really understand what the people were like and what life was like during that period. So, when they come here, they kind of get that hands-on experience and see firsthand people portraying that time period and dressed in the period clothing.”
On Saturday, Fort Sill celebrated its traditions by hosting a historic base ball game, abiding by the 1880s rules when soldiers played base ball at Fort Sill against Native Americans who had formed their own teams. Players, clad in period attire, rang a bell and chanted “tally one sir” upon scoring, adhering to the spirit of historical authenticity.
“It’s based on the 1800s, we have soldiers vs. Native Americans,” Noelle Scarfone, one of the main organizers of the game, said. “They play by the old rules; it’s a gentleman’s game. So if they spit on the field, or if there’s any cursing, there’s a fine. There’s no sliding, there’s no stealing, if they catch the ball on the first bounce, it’s still an out.”