About Cherokee Trading Post

About Cherokee

THE STORY OF “THE CHEROKEE” IS A STORY ABOUT A FAMILY BUSINESS THAT STARTED IN THE 1940’S AS “RUTH’S GIFT SHOP”. THE OWNERS WERE MY GRANDPARENTS RUTH AND JAMES WILSON. THEY LIVED IN AN AREA OF NORTH CAROLINA THAT WAS KNOWN FOR HAND HOOKED RUGS AND CHENILLE BEDSPREADS. RUTH AND JAMES, ALONG WITH SEVERAL OF RUTH’S 10 BROTHERS AND SISTERS, WENT UP NORTH AND SET UP LITTLE ROAD-SIDE STANDS TO SELL THEIR HANDCRAFTS IN THE SUMMER. OUT OF NECESSITY, MY GRANDPARENTS WENT “WEST” IN SEARCH FOR YET ANOTHER ROAD-SIDE RUG STAND. THESE LOCATIONS WERE BECOMING HARDER AND HARDER TO FIND BECAUSE OF THE NATION WIDE NTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM BEING BUILT. THEIR SEACH ENDED AT CHELSEA, OKLAHOMA ON OLD HISTORIC ROUTE 66. I GUESS IT WAS FATE BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THEIR SON J.P. MET MY MOTHER JO ELLA GARLAND. THEY GOT MARRIED THE YEAR J.P. GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL. AFTER CONCLUDING HIS FOUR YEAR TOUR WITH THE U.S. NAVY HE AND JO ELLA MOVED TO FLORIDA WHERE THEIR FIRST CHILD RANDY MICHAEL WAS BORN. IT WAS DURING THIS TIME THEY DECIDED THEY WERE WORKING VERY LONG HOURS AND NEEDED TO GO INTO BUSINESS FOR THEMSELVES, SO THAT THEY COULD SHORTEN THEIR WORK DAYS. THEY REALIZED THE FOLLISHNESS OF THOSE WORDS MORE THAN ONCE IN THE YEARS AHEAD. “GO WEST YOUNG MAN” WAS THEIR GAME PLAN TO LOCATE THEIR OWN RUG STAND. THEIR SEARCH ENDED 15 MILES WEST OF EL RENO, OKLAHOMA ON OLD HISTORIC ROUTE 66. THEY DECIDED TO CALL THEIR LITTLE SIP “THE CHEROKEE” BECAUE BY THIS TIME THE FAMILY HAD ADDED SOUVENIRS AND MOCCASINS THAT WERE MADE BY THE CHEROKEES IN NORTH CAROLINA ON THE QUALLA RESERVATION. JO ELLA’S ANCESTORS WERE ALSO CHEROKEE. THE LIVING QUARTERS, LIKE MOST OF THE RUG STANDS, WERE VERY PRIMITIVE. THEY ONLY HAD RUNNING WATER WHEN IT RAINED. WATER CAME IN THE WEST DOOR, RAN THROUGH THE HOUSE, AND WENT OUT THE EAST DOOR. THEY SURVIVED CARRYING ALL OF THEIR WATER BY BUCKET, THE SNAKE IN THE KITCHEN, AND ONE INCH DUST IN THE WINDOW SILLS. THEY PRESERVED AND SAVED THEIR MONEY OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. IN 1962 THEIR SECOND CHILD SHERI LYNN WAS BORN. THAT WAS A MEMORABLE YEAR BECAUSE THAT IS ALSO THE YEAR THAT INTERSTAE 40 BY-PASSED THEIR LITTLE STORE. THEY WERE FORTUNATE TO PURCHASE THE PROPERTY THAT IS NOW THE PRESENT CHEROKEE COMPLEX, OR AS SOME SAY “THE WATERING HOLE OF WESTERN OKLAHOMA”. THEY OPENED THE DOORS OF TWO BUSINESSES IN MAY OF 1963, A STANDARD GAS STATION AND A TRADING POST. THE FIRST PHASE OF “THE CHEROKEE” WAS COMPLETED. IT WAS SOON EVIDENT THAT WHEN PEOPLE STOPPED TO SHOP AND REFUEL, THEY ALSO WANTED A PLACE TO EAT. SO J.P. ONCE AGAIN GOT OUT THE NAPKIN, WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS AROUND, DREW ONE MORE BLUEPRINT. THE CHEROKEE RESTAURANT WAS BUILT IN 1965. THAT BUILDING BURNED TO THE GROUND IN THE FALL OF 1977. THE PRESENT BUILDING WAS BUILT AND THE RESTAURANT REOPENED IIN THE SPRING OF 1978. IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS THERE WAS A KOA KAMPGROUND AND A 40 UNIT BEST WESTERN MOTEL TO COMPLETE THE PRESENT DAY CHEROKEE COMPLEX. A SUBWAY FRANCHISE WAS ADDED IN 1998. WITHOUT THE VISION OF J.P. “THE CHEROKEE” WOULD NOT EXIST. HE TRULY WAS A VISIONARY. MY MOTHER, FATHER, AND BROTHER HAVE ALL PASSED AWAY, BUT I AM STILL HERE WITH THE HELP OF MY CHILDREN AND NEPHEW. HOPING TO CARRY ON MY PARENTS VISION ON GIVING YOU THE BEST EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE WHEN YOU STOP. JO ELLA HAD A MOTTO WE STILL LIVE BY; Psalm 127 1:1 “EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE, THEY LABOR IN VAIN THAT BUILT IT”. SHE ALWAYS REMINDED US THAT THERE IS AN UNSEEN PARTNER WHO SPEAKS DISTINCTLY AND IS OUR GUIDE THROUGH THE YEARS. WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATRONAGE! WHEN TRAVELING THIS WAY AGAIN PLEASE STOP IN AND SEE US. IF YOU LIKED YOUR SERVICE PLEASE TELL SOMEONE. IF NOT TELL US!!