The City of Enid Public Works Department, in conjunction with Visit Enid and Chisholm Trail historian Bob Klemme, has begun painting hoof prints on city streets in Enid to mark where the historic Chisholm Trail crossed through what is now the city of Enid.
The year 2017 is the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, the major route out of Texas to get longhorns to the Kansas railheads. From 1867 to 1877, more than three million head of cattle passed through Oklahoma to Kansas. Cities and towns in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas where the trail crossed have celebrations scheduled throughout 2017.
The idea to paint hoof prints on Enid city streets came last fall out of a request by the Enid Running Club, who wanted to host a 5K run directly on the Chisholm Trail.
“We get asked in our office all the time where exactly did the Chisholm Trail run through Enid,” said Visit Enid director Marcy Jarrett. “With the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail coming up, we wanted to come up with a cost-effective way to mark the trail to answer that question.”
Jarrett met with Klemme, the longtime Enid resident who made it his personal mission to keep the memory of the trail alive by making and placing over 400 concrete markers in Oklahoma wherever the Chisholm Trail crossed a section line. They drove the route through Enid and used Klemme’s Chisholm Trail maps to ensure accuracy, then approached Enid city manager Jerald Gilbert in November with the idea to paint the hoof prints. Using Public Works director Billy McBride’s firsthand knowledge of raising longhorns, public works staff created a stencil of longhorn hoof prints and began the stenciling process on March 27 near S Quincy St. and W Moore Ave.
With houses and businesses sitting directly on the path of the Chisholm Trail, some downtown business owners have become creative with their idea of hoof prints. Parks and Recreation Department supervisor Kevin Boehm came up with an idea to run hoof prints right up to a building, then continue the prints from the opposite wall. Both Simpson’s Old Time Museum at 228 E Randolph and Creative HQ at 222 E Maple, owned by Klemme’s son Mike Klemme, sits directly on the trail, and the plan is to have hoof prints go right to both front doors.
And the request from the Enid Running Club? They will be holding the Chisholm Trail 5K run June 10.
“People have been crossing the Chisholm Trail in Enid for years without ever knowing it,” Jarrett said. “Once this project is complete, everyone will realize when they are directly on a unique portion of American history.”
Rob Houston, TMP, Communications Coordinator at Visit Enid