As a fascinating region in South Central USA, Oklahoma is known for its rich history and culture. The landmarks in Oklahoma each tell a part of the story of the state, some even dating as far back as prehistoric times.
From the Great Plains that immerse you in their natural beauty and distinct features to the apparent influence of Native Americans and their preserved heritage, Oklahoma gives visitors an enjoyable catalog of its history and endowments.
Visitors will find inspiration in Oklahoma’s historical sites, closure in the memorials, and experience peak excitement and enlightenment in the monuments and museums scattered across the state.
These are some of the most famous Oklahoma landmarks that summarize the region’s deep history.
Most Famous Landmark In Oklahoma
Cherokee National Capitol, Cherokee County
Now known as the Cherokee Nation Courthouse, the Cherokee National Capital served as the Cherokee Nation’s capitol building from 1869 to 1907. The building was constructed between 1867 to 1869, and it’s one of the most iconic 19th-century architectural landmarks in Oklahoma.
The building now serves as the supreme court and judicial branch of the Cherokee Nation. As a key historical site in Oklahoma, this destination is not just an architectural pleasure but also immensely meaningful.
In 1961, the building was even declared a National Historic Landmark. The Cherokee Nation has also made efforts to restore the original appearance of the building by repairing some of the building’s worn-out features.
Famous Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Landmarks
Oklahoma State Capitol Building
The Oklahoma State Capitol Building is one of the most significant historical landmarks in Oklahoma City. The building houses the government of the US state of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma legislature, and executive branch offices.
After the capital of Oklahoma was moved from Guthrie to Oklahoma City, construction of the capitol building began in 1914 and continued through 1917.
The state capitol building incorporates the capital complex, which prides itself as the only state capitol grounds in the US with active oil rigs.
The interior of the building is very artful, as it features a mural by Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen and several paintings by artists Wayne Cooper and Enoch Harvey.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Myriad Botanical Gardens is an urban park that spans 17 acres. The park is utterly astonishing, as it features several plant species from all over the world. The garden’s impressive set-up features a sunken lake as its centerpiece and is surrounded by art exhibits.
The park has splash fountains, hiking trails and jogging paths, an off-leash dog park, and several activities that adults and children will find interesting. The park’s warmth and impressive space make it one of the best natural Oklahoma landmarks for visiting families.
Lake Overholser Dam
Lake Overholser Dam sits on the Oklahoma City limit, towering up to 68 feet.
The dam, named after the 16th mayor of Oklahoma City, Ed Overholser, became a household name after the 1923 flood that affected the region.
Although the dam wasn’t responsible for the flood, its widespread association with the flood piqued the interest of visitors who wanted to see it themselves.
Ever since then, it has become one of the most famous landmarks in Oklahoma.
Monuments In Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the April 1995 tragic bombing. The solemn site was established on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building, which was flattened after the blast.
The memorial houses a museum that features exhibits from the event. They also provide interactive tours that display details of the events that happened on that fateful day.
This Oklahoma monument is a quiet and solemn destination where visitors can have a feel of what happened that day and also pay their respects.
Stanley Draper Statue
To commemorate his contributions to Oklahoma, the state built a 9-ft tall bronze statue of Stanley Draper. This is one of the most respected monuments in Oklahoma City.
The sculpture was created by Leonard McMurry and was unveiled in 1974.
Stanley Draper served as director of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce for a long time, during which most of the significant transformations in the states happened. For his part in the state’s development, Stanley was nicknamed ‘Mr. Oklahoma City’. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Oklahoma state.
Stanley Draper statue is a go-to for travelers looking to know more about influential figures of the State.
Famous Tulsa, Oklahoma Landmarks And Monuments
Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza Monument
Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza features one of many Oklahoma monuments in Tulsa, which is the statue built in honor of Cyrus Avery.
The businessman and highway commissioner created Route 66 in 1926, after which it became one of the most popular roads in the USA.
One of the monuments in The Plaza is a statue of Cyrus Avery on top of a horse-drawn carriage. The other statue is of Cyrus and his family in a family sedan.
This monument in Oklahoma aims to remind/tell visitors about the immense contributions of highways and automobiles in the 1920s and 1930s.
Philbrook Museum of Art
Philbrook Museum is an art museum located in a 1920s villa, home of oil pioneer Waite Phillips and his wife, Genevieve. The mansion, dubbed ‘Villa Philbrook,’ was designed by architect Edward Buehler Delk in 1926.
The Philbrook Museum of Art, formerly the Philbrook Art Center, was opened in 1939, displaying an art collection of works from the Tulsa Art Association and Villa Philbrook.
The art collection mainly consists of Native American art and artisan items. Visitors troop to the museum to have guided tours, though they are also welcome to enjoy a tour of the expansive garden housed in the villa.
Other Famous Historic Sites In Oklahoma
Fort Washita Historic Site, Durant
Fort Washita was a military post established to maintain peace among the Plain Indians Nations of Choctaw and Chickasaw.
The federal forces later abandoned your fort at the start of the American Civil War, after which confederate troops occupied it from Texas, who destroyed the place before vacating it.
The Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the place in 1962, restoring the site and establishing a museum. Since it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965, it has consistently attracted visitors from all over the nation, making it one of the most visited historical sites in Oklahoma.
Price Tower, Bartlesville
Standing at 221 feet, Price Tower is an unmissable Oklahoma landmark located in Bartlesville.
The tower, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was commissioned in 1956. It is the only skyscraper designed by Frank that was ever built.
The tower was originally built as a corporate headquarters for a company, but later, in 1985, an art complex was opened and was named the Price Tower Arts Centre.
Other features in the tower include a hotel, restaurant, and museum, which houses several art collections and hosts exhibitions with popular artists and art enthusiasts in attendance.
Honey Springs Battlefield State Park, Checotah
A list of historical sites in Oklahoma is not complete without a mention of the Honey Springs Battlefield State Park. This historic site was established to commemorate the most prominent military battle in the history of Oklahoma.
The Battle of Honey Springs, also known as the Affair at Elk Creek, happened on July 17, 1863. Back then, the Union forces recorded a victory in their bid to capture the Indian territory.
In 1997, the Oklahoma historical society acquired 957 of the 2,997 acres covered by the original Battlefield. And in 2013, the Honey Springs Battlefield was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Battlefield has half-a-dozen trails for hiking and exploration of wildlife.
Sequoyah’s Cabin, Sallisaw
Sequoyah Cabin is one of a few historic sites in Oklahoma. It is the home of Sequoyah between 1829-1844. Sequoyah, also known as George Gist, was an Indian Cherokee who created the Cherokee syllabary, a material that made reading and writing in Cherokee possible.
In 1936, the cabin was acquired by the Oklahoma Historical Society. It was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. This is just a year after it was declared a National Historic Landmark.
The cabin now serves as a museum and is considered an essential part of the history of the Cherokee Nation.
Chisholm Trail Museum, Kingfisher
Chisholm Trail Museum is a museum established in honor of the Chisholm trail.
The Chisholm trail was used to drive cattle from ranches in Texas to Kansas. The trail was founded by rancher Black Beaver and his merchant friend Jesse Chisholm, who the course was named after.
Chisholm Trail Museum features visuals and exhibits that narrate the trail’s history. In front of the resume is a statue of Jesse Chisholm.
LANDMARKS IN USA
Other Famous Natural Landmarks In Oklahoma
Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Murray County
The 9883-acre Chickasaw National Recreation Area is sprawled on the Arbuckle Mountains’ foothills. This is one of the most scenic natural Oklahoma landmarks, with evergreen trees and flowing crystal-clear water.
The area commemorates the Cherokee people who inhabited the place before they were relocated in the 1800s. The park also includes the lands of the former Platt National Park and Arbuckle Recreation Park.
The park offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, hiking, and picnicking. It is no wonder why Oklahoma’s national parks are popular destinations for both locals and travelers.
Great Salt Plains, Alfalfa County
Named the Grand Saline by the first white men who visited the area in 1811, the Salt Plains is a 38-kilometer square area covered with salt. The salt layer was deposited centuries ago by an inland ocean said to have covered the state during prehistoric times.
The salty lake offers fishing opportunities for catfish, sand bass, and hybrid striper. Although the Salt Plains cover much of the park, the remaining part features cabins, picnic spots, a swimming beach, a fishing dock, and other activities that will make the park fun for visitors.
Heavener Runestone Park, Heavener
If you are enthusiastic about the history of Scandinavian explorers, Heavener Park has something of great interest. This is one of the most meaningful Oklahoma historical sites.
This 55-acre Park was established around a runestone, which many believed was inscribed by Vikings to let people know that they were there.
Another slightly different account says that a Swedish immigrant made the inscription in the 19th century. The runestone is not the only attraction in the park. There are hiking trails, gift shops, a playground, and picnic areas that both adults and children can enjoy.
The park also hosts a well-attended Viking festival on two weekends of the year.
Turner Falls, Davis
Turner Falls is one of the most famous Oklahoma landmarks and arguably the most famous natural landmark in the state.
Located south of Davis, the waterfall drops majestically from Honey Creek, tucked in the Arbuckle mountains.
The waterfall is 77 ft high and is considered the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma. It is named after Mazeppa Thomas Turner, who discovered the falls in the 1800s.
Turner Falls supplies enough water to a surrounding lake where visitors can swim. However, it is strongly recommended that only expert swimmers should be allowed to swim there because it poses a risk.
Robbers Cave, Latimer County
Located in Latimer County is the impressive Robbers Cave State Park, which is home to the famous Robbers Cave. Robbers Cave is famed for being the hideout for outlaws Belle Starr and Jesse James.
Robbers Cave State Park offers plenty of attractions to visitors. There are hiking trails, lakes, and climbing spots.
The outdoor activities are what visitors will enjoy the most in the park. They get to take in the scenic spectacle of the San Bois Mountains.
Tiger Safari, Tuttle
Tiger Safari Zoological Park is home to different kinds of wildlife and predators that are brought up close for visitors to observe.
With tigers, leopards, turtles, and snakes, the zoo offers interactive tours to adults and children who learn about the behavior and uniqueness of these animals.
Visitors can go as far as interacting with some of the harmless animals. The zoo also features an African village where visitors can lodge if they decide to extend their visit.
A trip to Tiger Safari Zoo promises an exciting adventure that can’t be felt anywhere else in Oklahoma.
Visiting Landmarks And Historic Sites In Oklahoma
Oklahoma residents are loud and proud people, and it will be an even more exciting trip if you make acquaintance with a couple of residents.
Perhaps, while visiting the various Oklahoma monuments, you might get a more vivid picture of the state’s historical figures if a proud resident or indigene guides you.
Regardless of your company, the landmarks in Oklahoma are exciting fixtures on their own. They offer a deep dive into the culture and nature of the state. Similarly, the historical sites in Oklahoma are a window of opportunity into the past of the region and country.
Be sure to plan a trip down to experience the state yourself, and also indulge in all the delicious foods of Oklahoma!