National Preservation: Edward’s Store

By Carla Charter

Oklahoma Preservation

RED OAKS, OK. – In Red Oaks, sits a former store which was once a stagecoach stop and provides a 200 -year link to the time before Oklahoma was a state. Efforts are now underway to preserve this portal to the past.

The Edwards Store belonged to my fifth great uncle who built the store. The first building was built in 1850. It was a general store selling such items as cotton and corn, according to Chrissy Dickmeyer, President of The Edward’s Store, a Preservation Group.

“It was a stagecoach stop from 1858-1861.  Travelers on the stagecoach could get meals for 25 cents, which my fifth great aunt cooked. There was also mail delivery by stage and in 1869 it became a Post office for Red Oak,” Dickmeyer said.

“It is one of the few remaining stops on the Butterfield Overland Mail Route which ran from St. Louis to San Francisco,” said Cayla Lewis, Executive Director of Preservation, Oklahoma. “The building was built before the founding of the state there are very few buildings which still exist founded before statehood in Oklahoma. It’s Dogtrot design architecture is significant as well,” said Lewis.

Dickmeyer said she became interested in preserving the building after her father passed away.  “He was trying to preserve the store, it was a lifelong dream of his.  The latest estimate to preserve the building is $350,000.

As for the building’s future, Dickmeyer said, “I would love to see it used for educational purposes.  My father was an educator his whole life. It has great historical value. I would like to see busses of children on field trips. “

The building has been listed on the Preservation Oklahoma’s most endangered places list in both 2018 and 2019.