Pottawatomie Genealogy Club was located in the Ladies Waiting Room for several years until space became a problem for both organizations and they moved to another building.
June 1986: The Mobil Company took on the Santa Fe Depot Museum as their company project to repaint and clean up the Museum, building planting in front of the museum with donTheations of funds and plants from the Shawnee Garden Club Council.
November 1986 to February 1987: A grant secured through the State of Oklahoma funded a new roof. Trough lighting was added along with a door added between the Express Room and the Freight Room. The West Entrance, which had been boarded up, was reopened and a ramp was added, making the museum accessible for the handicapped.
In the 1980s the Historical Society compiled a book containing histories of local groups and of submitted family histories. The book, “Pottawatomie County. Oklahoma History”, was edited by Sara Epley, Laquita Hackett, and Edna Sadler.
September 22, 1991: In celebration on the 1891 Land Run, the park in front of the Depot was named Centennial Park. A time capsule in a monument was placed near Main Street in the park. The Washington Irving Trail Monument was also placed in the park. Originally located at the corner of Highland and Bryant streets in Shawnee, the monument was removed when streets were widened. It was stored several years at the Highway Department Building in Ada before being placed in the park.
September 1993: The first Heritage Achievement Awards were made to individuals who made a significant impact on Heritage Preservation.
About this time Mrs. Maxine Dougherty, widow of Bill Dougherty, former Historical Society president, died and left a significant sum (approximately $175,000) to the society. These funds have been used over the years to supplement operating expenses.
In 1996: The Historical Society began sponsoring annual shows at the Santa Fe Depot Museum including the Quilt Show, Doll Show and Christmas Ornament Show. The Woodcarver's Show was added as an annual event in 2002.
In 1999: The Marble Horse Trough and the Beard Cabin were moved adjacent to the Depot from Woodland Park. The Beard Cabin was the first cabin built in Shawnee after the land was open for settlement September 22, 1891. It was first located at Highland and Kickapoo, later moved to Woodland Park. The Horse Trough was first located on Bell Street, just south of the Hornbeck Theatre, then to 7th Street, then to Woodland Park.
The Museum celebrated the centennial of the opening of the Santa Fe Depot in May 2004. Prior to that time the Shawnee Council of Garden Clubs obtained a matching grant from the Principal Financial Group through the National Council of Garden Clubs to provide new landscaping for the museum’s west side. The city parks department provided a new sidewalk for the museum.
To celebrate the State of Oklahoma Centennial, the Centennial Park, originated in 1991, was expanded to include wrought iron fencing and monuments listing organizations that were at least 100 years old. Construction work was done by students of Gordon Cooper Technology Center. The Wunagisa chapert of DAR, working with the state Historical Society, erected a monument honoring Louise Funk Fluke, the designer of the Oklahoma State Flag and daughter of Shawnee Librarian.
In 2007 the Board of Directors voted to change the name to Pottawatomie County Historical Society.
In 2008 at the urging of new board member Paul Milburn, the board of directors voted to begin a fund raising program to provide an additional building to be located on land north of the depot. The land was owned by Buford White and was purchased for the Historical Society by Mr. Milburn. John Patterson, local architect, was engaged to draw preliminary plans for the new facility. Bill Holley was engaged by the board to help organize a campaign to raise at least $1,500,000 to construct the building. Additional endowment will be needed to support operating expenses.
As of December 2011 approximately $500,000 in gifts and pledges has been raised. Nancy Bodard pledged $250,000. Most of the remaining $250,000 has been pledged by board members. This includes approximately $100,000 from Citizen Potawatomi Nation to provide an in-kind gift to drill the wells for the ground source heating/air conditioning system
Formerly Santa Fe Depot Museum