A unique past, an intriguing present and an exciting future – that’s Tonkawa! Native Americans, hardy pioneers, visionary educators, legendary oilmen, German prisoners of war and creative citizens have all left their marks on this city on the Salt Fork River just east of I-35.
The picturesque Heart in the Park Labyrinth with its timeline of Tonkawa history and the Grand Heart Walk of art panels surrounded by personalized pavers are the latest additions to Centennial Park at Sixth Street and Grand Avenue, downtown Tonkawa.
A number of historical monuments and three museums – the McCarter Museum of Tonkawa History, the Tonkawa Tribal Museum and the A.D. Buck Museum of Science and History – give glimpses of the history of the town and surrounding areas. Tonkawa (the word translates as “They all stay together”) takes its name from the Tonkawa Tribe, which was removed in 1885 to the area then known as Oakland Reserve and home of Nez Perce Chief Joseph and his band from 1879-1885. The town itself was settled by pioneers making the Cherokee Outlet Land Run of 1893 and was incorporated in 1894. Because of abundant wheat production in the area, Tonkawa styles itself “Wheatheart of Oklahoma.”
The town entered the “Roaring Twenties” with the discovery of oil in the Tonkawa (Three Sands) Field in 1921. Briefly known as “The Billion Dollar Spot,” Tonkawa’s population swelled to 10,000 and several beautiful homes and churches built during this time still stand in the city. German prisoners of war were housed in a POW camp during World War II, and the site, now occupied by an industrial park, is identified by a stone marker engraved with a map of the original compound.
Northern Oklahoma College, established in 1901 as University Preparatory School, is the home of the Eleanor Hays Art Gallery, which hosts outstanding exhibits by Oklahoma artists throughout the academic year, and of the A.D. Buck Museum of Science and History. Its landscaped grounds, affiliated with the state botanical garden system, delight the eye with individual memorial gardens and sculptures. Numerous cultural events are open to the public.
Contact the Tonkawa Chamber of Commerce, 580-628-2220 or go to www.tonkawachamber.org for more information to make your visit to Tonkawa a memorable experience.
March 28, 2017
4:25 pm US/Central
Tue - Rain, High: 66
Wed - Thunderstorms, High: 67
Focus On Fishing
Hey Kids, the annual Focus on Fishing event will be held at Pioneer Park on Kaw Lake on May 13, 2017. Pioneer Park is located on the east side of Kaw City, Ok just off state Hwy 11. There will be food, fun and fishing all morning long so plan now to attend this fun event. More details will be posted on this web site as they come available or you can contact the Kaw Lake Assn at 580-762-9494.
Major camping areas at Kaw Lake are now open and overnight campsites are available. Beginning 1 April contract gate attendants and the National Recreation Reservation System will be available at Sarge Creek, Coon Creek, Osage Cove and Washunga Bay. The Kaw Lake Assn invites you to come and enjoy some fabulous spring camping at beautiful Kaw Lake. Spring crappie and sand bass fishing as well as spring turkey hunting is some of the best anywhere.