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A modern view of a buried relic

Made a follow-up visit to Wichita Hill near Rush Springs on January 8, 2023 to get a few photos I failed to capture during my last trip to the marker for the so-called Battle of Wichita Village. Looking at the ground rather than the horizon this time, my partner in crime [Joyce Moore] and I almost stumbled into an unprotected and open 18″ hole in the ground. As we crept to the edge and peered in, it immediately became apparent that the hole was more than surface deep with structures inside that could barely be seen in the murk. Suspecting we had found the cistern used by what we believe to be a long-abandoned 1930s-1940s homestead, we sent the trusty GoPro camera down the opening via a telescoping mount to see what lay beneath our feet. As shown in the 360° photo above [light denotes the top of the hole…use your mouse or finger to pan around the image to see the entire buried structure], the old cistern is faced around two feet down by modern fired [and quite well-preserved] brick laid atop a concrete base. We did not know at the time that the section of the cistern we were sitting over appears to have collapsed underground at some point. For some reason, a rotting wooden post stood in the cistern, which was bone dry at present, probably because the feeder pipes connect underground to a broken and silent windmill only a few yards away.

The magic of a forgotten cistern on an isolated hilltop miles from nowhere may not be immediately apparent to some. But the fickle Oklahoma weather smiled down on us as we examined the site with mid-winter warmth, no wind and a cloudless pale blue expanse of sky that seemed to stretch on forever. We were reminded that there is always some magic and adventure in examining a structure likely not viewed by human eyes since it was constructed and buried almost a hundred years ago. Particularly if that examination is aided by a high-tech 2023 camera!

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