History of Fort Supply Lake

Fort Supply Dam and Lake was named after the frontier military outpost, Camp Supply, established November 18,1868, by Gen. Alfred Sully with five companies of the 3rd Infantry under guidance of Gen. Philip Sheridan. Its purpose was to serve as a base for Gen. Sheridan's campaign against the Plains Indians, especially the Cheyennes and Arapahos. The stockade post was thrown up on a spot where the Beaver River and Wolf Creek join to form the North Canadian River. Supplies and ammunition were brought by a supply train of 450 wagons sent down from Fort Dodge (Kansas). The name was changed to Fort Supply in 1889. An old Indian buffalo trail ran south from Camp Supply to a huge buffalo wallow northeast of the Antelope Hills in a bend of the South Canadian River. Many Indian hunting parties once filed along this trail, and Gen. George A. Custer and the Seventh Cavalry marched south on it from Fort Supply to the Washita River where they met the Cheyennes and allied tribes in the battle of the Washita on November 27,1868.

Freight trails between Fort Dodge and Fort Sill and between Fort Reno and the Texas Panhandle met here. Near here, too, ran the famed Western Cattle Trail, over which from 1874 to 1893, millions of cattle and horses were driven northward from Texas to railheads in Kansas. Between 1868 and 1894, Fort Supply was occupied continuously by approximately 300 soldiers. As the hostile Indian activity subsided, the traffic of the great cattle drives required maintenance of the Fort. Troops from Fort Supply also were called upon to control outlaws who took refuge in the Cherokee Strip. Following the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893, the need for a fort declined, and, in 1894, the United States gave the old military reservation to the Territory of Oklahoma. In 1903, the Territory authorized the establishment there of the Western State Hospital to be operated through the Department of Mental Health. It has been in continuous service since the first patients were received in 1908.

Project Development:  The project was approved for construction by the Flood Control Act approved June 1936. Project purposes are flood control and conservation storage. The Little Rock, Arkansas, District performed initial design and started construction in 1938. The lake was completed for full flood control operation in 1942 by the Tulsa District. Cost of the overall construction was approximately $7 million.