Although Mohawk Lodge Indian Store in Clinton, Okla., didn’t start business on Route 66, its founding predates the historic road by several decades and even Oklahoma statehood.
Located at 22702 Route 66 North just east of Clinton, Mohawk Lodge has been there since about 1940. But the American Indian craft store’s origin dates to Colony, Okla., in 1892, when it was started by the Dutch Reform Church of New York to create a way for local Indians to sell their wares. In fact, a small house next door to the current business in Clinton is the original meeting house in Colony.
Mohawk Lodge moved to Watonga, Okla., in 1907, then later to Clinton.
The business was purchased by M.B. Moore, a Creek Indian, not long after it moved to Clinton. After that, it was owned by Nellie Stevens, who was part Comanche and part Cherokee, for another 30 years.
Nellie’s daughter, Patricia Henry, shown above with an earlier photo of Colony that shows the original Mohawk Lodge structure, has owned it for the past 14 years.
“We’re a museum and a store,” Henry said. That is obvious with all of the historic photos and intricate Indian apparel on display, including quite a bit of it under glass that isn’t for sale.
Henry says that all of her merchandise is truly Indian-made. “I don’t carry anything from Taiwan or China,” she said. It carries traditional beadwork, hand-woven blankets, tanned hides and pottery.
It’s one of the most impressive Indian crafts stores I’ve seen, and Patricia will be more than happy to tell you stories about the history and people who owned Mohawk Lodge.
(Mohawk Lodge’s phone number is 580-323-2360. It’s west of Exit 69 of Interstate 40.)