Historic Front

Pickney Reid Eskridge

at age 24 in 1890


In 1874 a small settlement existed in Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma) where the stage coach line crossed the Washita River; this settlement was known as Cherokee Crossing, or Cherokee Town. When the railroad planned to come through about 4 miles south, a merchant there, John Walner, moved his family and store by ox team to a location on the railroad.

In 1886, this new community was named "Walner", but in 1887, it was renamed "Wynnewood" by the railroad men, after their hometown in Pennsylvania.

In 1907, the year that Oklahoma attained statehood, a traveling cotton salesman, or "drummer", named Pinckney Reid Eskridge, finished construction and opened the Eskridge Hotel. It was considered the finest hotel between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Dallas, Texas, and became famous for it's food - especially the chicken dinners.

Mr. Eskridge had traveled up & down the Santa Fe Railroad from Texas to Kansas. He and other drummers complained about the uncomfortable beds in most hotels. Having done well in his cotton business, he decided to build a hotel with all the comforts of home in Wynnewood, which was the most thriving town on his route. He furnished every part of the hotel with good, serviceable furniture. In each sleeping room he put a thick, pure cotton Ostermoor mattress, and some rooms had extra-length beds. He wanted every guest to be comfortable. Although Mr. Eskridge never operated the hotel himself, he took a interest in marking it a top-quality hotel with a fine family dining room. The food became legendary, with an advertised menu that read "Chicken Every Day and Sunday Too". It was a local custom for families to dine at the Eskridge after church on Sunday, and socialize in the lobby.