There are many places to visit in the state that played an important role in Oklahoma’s history. With a total of 22 National Historic Landmarks and several other historical sites, you definitely have your options of places to see that will give you a better glimpse into Oklahoma’s past. Here are 15 historical sites everyone should visit in the Sooner State:
1. Sequoyah's Cabin, Sallisaw
Sequoyah's Cabin was the home during 1829-1844 of the Cherokee Indian, Sequoyah (also known as George Gist), who created a written language for the Cherokee Nation. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The house is maintained by the Oklahoma Historical Society as a historic house museum, and is furnished to appear as it might have when Sequoyah lived there. There are relics and documents associated with his life. The one-room frontier cabin is made of carved logs with a stone chimney and fireplace. At the museum today, Cherokee history and basics of his syllabary's use are taught, and exhibits and artifacts of early Cherokee life are on display.
2. Chisholm Trail Museum, Kingfisher
Stop by the Chisholm Trail Museum for a historical glimpse of the greatest cattle trail in the world. Early pioneer settlers homesteaded here in Kingfisher County after the Land Run of 1889.
3. A.J. Seay Mansion, Kingfisher
In addition to the Chisholm Trail Museum in Kingfisher is the Governor Seay Mansion built in 1892 - home of the 2nd Territorial Governor. Finally, your experience in Kingfisher would not be complete without visiting the pioneer village, which consists of two log cabins, a one room school house, a church, and the first bank building.
4. Heavener Runestone Park, Heavener
Here you’ll find one of the most unusual attractions in Oklahoma. Over 1,000 years ago, it’s believed that Vikings came and left this sign that they were here on a huge boulder. That boulder is now known as Heavener Runestone and it’s at the center of a park in Heavener, OK. It’s not the only reason to go there though - the park has many trails as well as a walkway that goes go a protected picnic area where you can also find wet weather waterfalls.
5. Fort Washita Historic Site, Durant
Fort Washita is the former United States military post and National Historic Landmark located in Durant. During the Civil War, the fort was abandoned by Union forces and occupied by Confederate troops from Texas. The Chickasaw Nation eventually gained the property back, and the prominent Colbert family owned it until the Oklahoma Historical Society acquired it in 1962. Today, Fort Washita is on the National Register of Historic Places and operates as a free museum open to the public.
6. Honey Springs Battlefield State Park, Checotah
A multi-million dollar plan to preserve the site of the Battle of Honey Springs has given visitors a chance to learn about the largest military battle in Oklahoma history… at its very location. It took place on July 17th, 1863 and, 150 years later, the site is very well taken care of and has 6 walking trails and 55 interpretive signs. Well worth a visit, especially for Civil War history buffs.
7. George M. Murrell Home, Park Hill
The Murrell Home is a historic home and museum in Park Hill near Tahlequah, Oklahoma in the Cherokee Nation. It was built in 1845 and was most likely constructed by African-American slaves brought west by the owners. It is an emblem of the elite among the Cherokee in the mid-nineteenth century. The building is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society as a historic house museum and has been furnished reflecting the period 1830s-1860s. The Daniel Cabin is a log cabin on the property; it is used for living history demonstrations of Cherokee life in the 1850s. The property also features a 45-acre park with trails.
8. USS Batfish, Muskogee
The USS Batfish sank 15 Japanese vessels during World War II, including 3 in just a little over 3 days. This has never been accomplished again, making it the most successful killing submarine ever. In 1972, the Batfish was moved from Texas to Oklahoma and is now available for tours. Stepping inside this submarine, fully knowing the history it holds, is almost surreal.
9. Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, Spiro
Seven miles outside the eastern Oklahoma
town of Spiro can be found the remarkable
Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center. The
park preserves the remains of an advanced
prehistoric Native American civilization. Regarded by many archaeologists as one of the four most important prehistoric Indian
sites east of the Rocky Mountains, Spiro was
a center of culture during the Mississippian
era (A.D. 900 - A.D. 1540). This era marked
the spread of a common, organized religion
across much of the Southeast and Midwest. Several of the
12 known mounds at Spiro form a sort of giant calendar for tracking the seasons. The mounds were constructed to create unique alignments when the sun rose and set on
solstice and equinox days marking the key seasons.
10. Price Tower, Bartlesville
The Price Tower is a nineteen-story, 221-foot-high tower in Bartlesville that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the only realized skyscraper by Wright, and is one of only two vertically oriented Wright structures extant. The tower was built in 1956 and was designated a National Historic Landmark On March 29, 2007. The Price Tower is an architectural jewel that attracts visitors from around the world, not only for the architecture, but also for its world-class exhibitions.
11. Cherokee Heritage Center, Park Hill
The Cherokee Heritage Center is a non-profit historical society and museum campus that seeks to preserve the historical and cultural artifacts, language and traditional crafts of the Cherokee. The center is home to the 1710 Cherokee Village, Adams Corner Rural Village, the Trail of Tears exhibit, the Cherokee National Museum and the Cherokee Family Research Center. Walk through 14 stations that detail the historic landscape in 1710 and demonstrate a range of cultural practices such as: stick ball, basket making, flintknapping and blow gun making.
12. Sod House Museum, Aline
Oklahoma’s only sod house is preserved as the main feature at this museum, giving insight into the lifestyles of the pioneers. Artifacts, photographs, and other exhibits will take you back to the late 1800s and early 1900s as you walk through the “soddy.”
13. Pawnee Bill Ranch, Pawnee
The Pawnee Bill Ranch, also known as the Blue Hawk Peak Ranch, was the home of Wild West Show entertainer, Gordon W. "Pawnee Bill" Lillie. Located in Pawnee, it is owned and operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The Pawnee Bill Ranch consists of 500 of the original 2000 acres, original outbuildings, a fully furnished historic home, a modern museum and a herd of bison, Longhorn cattle, and horses. The site was included on the National Register of Historic Places under the original title of Blue Hawk Peak Ranch in 1975. The Pawnee Bill Ranch also proudly recreates Pawnee Bill's Original Wild West Show in June every year.
14. Fort Gibson Historic Site, Fort Gibson
Established in 1824, Fort Gibson served as a
vital military post on the western frontier for
nearly 70 years. Over its history it was rebuilt
several times. Visitors to the site can see a reconstruction of the early log fort as well as original buildings from the 1840s through 1870s. Exhibits detailing the history of the fort are located in the Commissary Visitor Center on Garrison Hill. The site also hosts a number of special living history events and programs throughout the year. Fort Gibson is a National Historic Landmark.
15. Guthrie Historic District
Guthrie Historic District is a historic district in Guthrie that represents the commercial core of the city. The city of Guthrie was founded in 1889 and promptly became the capital of Oklahoma Territory. When Oklahoma became a state on November 16, 1907, Guthrie became the first state capital, until 1910, when the seat of government moved to Oklahoma City. A portion of the downtown Capitol Townsite Historic District, is designated as a National Historic Landmark, signifying the national importance of the downtown architecture. The listing in the National Register of Historic Places extends benefits and protection to 1,400 acres of the city.