When the Philomathic Club began in 1899, in the Indian Territory, there were twelve members. Many of them had left family behind and were lonely for the company of other women. The name they chose for their group, “Philomathic” means “love of learning” and their motto was “No footsteps backwards”. They originally met on Saturdays, arriving on horseback or in buggies, and were primarily a literary club. By 1904 their membership had grown to 40 members. With new interest, and one dollar from each member, they purchased “Stoddard’s Lectures”.. This valuable set of books, containing descriptions of many countries of the world and other exciting facts, was carefully studied and preserved. With that set of books, a few magazines, pamphlets and other donated books, these early-day club women had the beginnings of Anadarko’s first public library. Those Stoddard’s lectures were placed in a beautiful antique bookcase and placed in the Anadarko Heritage Museum when it was moved to the refurbished depot in 1976. They are still there, a testament to the Philomathic women and their “love of learning”, and we continue to honor their motto, “no footsteps backwards” by wanting to preserve Anadarko’s history in a building, the depot, that played an important role in that history.
In 1936 the Club recognized the importance of preserving the city’s rich history. They opened the museum that year and began collecting, protecting, and displaying the historical artifacts that document the history and culture of Anadarko, Oklahoma. The museum now calls the old Rock Island Railroad Depot home and what a perfect fit since it too played such a significant role in the every day life of the city.