Residents Hope Downtown Wagoner Will Bounce Back After Fire
WAGONER, Oklahoma - Scorched shells are all that remain of several century old buildings in downtown Wagoner.
Residents say the buildings help make the town's history so unique. Those buildings are in bad shape, the walls are missing, the tops are falling down and the smoke is still thick in the air.
While the buildings are destroyed, the town has faith they'll bounce back.
"Horrible night the worst Wagoner has seen in a long long time," said Liz McMahan with the Wagoner City Historical Museum.
The fire is out, but residents still feel something: that pain of losing those buildings that helped make Wagoner what it is.
"It was so many memories went up in smoke it was just horrible," said Liz McMahan.
Walking the streets of Wagoner before the fire, you had that old western feel. The brick buildings and artistically crafted parapets helped paint the picture. Now it all sits scorched behind these blackened walls.
"I doubt anyone will ever go through the expense of building them as they were," said Liz McMahan.
The community used the western design as a back drop for its annual Wagoner shootout reenactment. It plays out the 1895 shooting of two local outlaws. Terry Presley plays Sheriff Ed Reed.
"It's actually indescribable. It's phenomenal because all these buildings are dating from back in the day in that frame and it's so important especially for what we do," said Terry Presley.
That re-enactment is one of the major draws for the town. A large chunk of the backdrop is now lost forever.
"It just crushes it it really does. I'm sorry but this is our it's our town it's where we're from we live here we love it here," said Terry Presley
And it's that love they say will pull this community back together.
A local Wagoner historian told me that in the last 120 years this entire side of the street has burned down and just two years ago right across the street, the roofs were blown off in a storm.