Coalgate GEAR UP Students Tour Atoka County Museum and Civil War Cemetery

Seventy-two Coalgate ninth and 10th grade GEAR UP students recently toured the Atoka Museum and Civil War Cemetery. Students were greeted by Museum Director Cindy Wallis who guided students through the museum. Students viewed exhibits honoring Atoka county notorieties, such as singer Reba McEntire and bull rider Lane Frost. Wallis also shared information concerning early Oklahoma history, which included lifestyles, culture and customs of the early settlers. Students observed exhibits from the mid-1900s, and learned about rotary phones, switchboards, and other early appliances. Wallis discussed several local natural disasters and how those affected the area’s commerce and reconstruction.   After touring the museum, students took a walking tour of the museum property, which includes a Civil War Cemetery and several historical buildings. As students walked a portion of the Butterfield Stage route, Wallis explained that the stagecoach carried passengers and mail from St. Louis to San Francisco, and that Atoka was one of the relay stations in Indian Territory. Students walked through the cemetery where they observed the markers for soldiers who died during the Civil War. The tour ended with a question and answer session followed by lunch at the Museum’s outdoor pavilion.   The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017, and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

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