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National Registry Sites in Pawnee

The Pawnee Agency and Boarding School District lies east of the city of Pawnee in Pawnee County, Oklahoma. Other names are: Pawnee Indian Agency, Pawnee Indian School and Pawnee Indian Boarding School. The District occupies approximately 29 acres of the Pawnee Tribal Reserve, a 726 acres tract that is owned by the Pawnee tribe. Black Bear Creek divides the District from the town. The Pawnee Agency was established as a post office on May 4, 1876.

The Pawnee Agency Office and Superintendent's House are two of several buildings located on the grounds.  Both were awarded National Historic Place status in 1973.  The surrounding district was awarded National Historic Place status in 2000.

The Superintendent's House is the oldest structure in the Historic District, built in 1876. It was the original office and residence of the Indian Agent.  At the turn of the century this individual became the superintendent of the school in the Historic District.


Original Pawnee Indian Agency Building


1913 Schoolhouse. Now a dining hall and kitchen used to serve meals to senior citizens


Boys' Dormitory (built 1909) Unoccupied for many years


Superintendent's Building (now vacant), Built 1876.

The Pawnee Bill Ranch, also known as the Blue Hawk Peak Ranch, was the home of Wild West show entertainer, Gordon W. "Pawnee Bill" Lillie. Located in Pawnee, Oklahoma, it is owned and operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society.  The Pawnee Bill Ranch consists of 500 of the original 2000 acres, original outbuildings, a fully furnished historic home, a modern museum, and a herd of bison, Longhorn cattle, and horses.

History of Blue Hawk Peak - 

Pawnee Bill believed strongly in the importance of the bison to the history of the American West and to the Plains Indian culture. He desired to perpetuate and develop the bison and lobbied congress to pass legislation to protect the animal. This was the beginning of the ranch's time as a bison preservation. The ranch is an active member of the Oklahoma Bison Association today.

In December 1910, Lillie and his wife May's dream of a home on top of a hill overlooking a bend in the Black Bear River was realized. The building of their Tudor-style Arts and Crafts home was completed after nearly a year of construction. James Hamilton, an architect from Chester, Pennsylvania, designed the home with input from Lillie and his wife. The home was a beautiful crafted residence, both comfortable and modern. Area laborers worked to construct the nearly 5,300 square feet (490 m2) home from native stone quarried from the Ranch grounds.

Between the years of 1910 and 1926, many other buildings were added to the ranch site. Between 1910 and 1913 the carriage house, log cabin, blacksmith shop, and observation tower were added to the site by the Lillies to accommodate their growing businesses.  In 1926, to meet the need for larger livestock accommodations, the Lillies built an impressive three story barn. The barn housed Pawnee Bill's herd of Scottish Shorthorn cattle.  Its basement level sheltered the ranch horses while the second floor provided housing for the cattle. The top was used as storage for alfalfa and other feed crops harvested from the ranch property.

On October 10, 1975, the site was included on the National Register of Historic Places under the original title of Blue Hawk Peak Ranch.

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The Pawnee County Courthouse is a three-story art deco brick building that is still functioning as a courthouse. Four bas-relief panels on either side of the entrance on the south side depict scenes of Native Americans and pioneers, while the lintel depicts an eagle, a cow's skull, an owl, an open book and two rattlesnakes (numbers 3 and 4 below). The west end has a lintel like the one on the south side. The north side of the courthouse as another four panels, two of Native Americans and two of pioneers. Across the top of the building are heads of Native Americans.

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The Arkansas Valley National Bank, constructed in 1902, is a two-story, 30 feet x 90 feet sandstone structure located in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Constructed in a Late Victorian architectural style, it was Pawnee's original bank. When the building opened, the bank occupied the first floor, while a doctor, photographer, and local telephone office occupied the second floor. The bank closed around 1918, and the building has served as various storefronts since.

Originally the bank was to be called the Pawnee County Bank, and this name is engraved on the east wall; however it was chartered as the Arkansas Valley National Bank. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The building's facade was heavily damaged in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on September 3, 2016.

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