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Lake Tenkiller Communities

Lake Tenkiller Communities

Listed below are brief summeries of the surrounding towns around Lake Tenkiller


In the 1890’s, the Ballew family settled on the gentle, crystal clear Illinois River. The location of the homestead was under a bluff that span over 200 feet high. In the early 1890’s the Ballew family operated the Ballew Brother’s Store that supplied the local families with everything from guns, general household goods, wagons to even custom built caskets. In 1947, the Corps of Engineers started to build a dam across the Illinois River, creating Lake Tenkiller. All of the affected structures that could be moved were relocated to higher ground. Many of the structures that were moved are still being used today. What you may know as the Cookson County Store is the original store that was located on the river and operated by the George Sratton family. The structures that could not be moved are now covered by beautiful Lake Tenkiller.

Today, Cookson is a hub of activitiy. Located on the east side of the lake, Cookson has the only airport available on the lakeshore. There is a 2,600 foot runway with an attendant always on duty to serve flying visitors to the lake area. Cookson is also home to many businesses to serve visitors. From restaurants to convenience stores, dive shops to hardware and propane sales, Cookson is here to meet your needs.

Vian is a town in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,362 at the 2000 census.

Vian is the hometown of two athletes for the National Football League, Kenyatta Wright and Richard Jordan. Vian has also made contributions to the music industry with Heath Wright and Greg Cook (two parts of country band Ricochet)and also the rock band the small town mafia members Anthony Cato & Joe Camperson.It is also the birthplace of Hall of Fame Jockey, Bobby Ussery. Franklin Gritts, the Cherokee artist, was born and reared in Vian.

Vian’s history began as a trading post in the mid-1800’s and was established as a town in 1902. It is uncertain where the name Vian came from, but one popular version is that the town was named after an early settler, George Vi. The second syllable, “an” was added making it Vian, which in the Cherokee language means “garfish.”

Vian is located 9 miles south of Tenkiller Lake on Highway 82, just off Interstate 40 and is a quiet, friendly, family community with emphasis on its youth. High School sports is at the forefront, as the town rallies around their “Wolverines.”

Just south of Vian on Highway 82, you will find the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge. The American bald eagle, along with thousands of Canada and snow geese, take up residence at the refuge each year. Whitetail deer, wild turkey and several species of duck are abundant as well as mink, otter and beaver. If you are a bird watcher you will enjoy the many species of non-game and native song birds that frequent the wildlife refuge daily.


Gore is a town in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 850 at the 2000 census. The town was originally known as “Campbell,” but later changed its name on October 22, 1909 in honor of Oklahoma Senator Thomas Gore, a distant relative of Albert Gore, Sr., the Tennessee Senator and father of U.S. Vice President Al Gore, but this has never been proven. Gore is the birthplace of 1969 Heisman Trophy Winner, Steve Owens, who was raised in Miami, Oklahoma. There is a sports complex in Gore named after him.

Gore is the trout capital of Oklahoma, with great fishing in Lake Tenkiller, the Illinois River, and the Arkansas River.

Established in 1829, and known as Deep Branch, Gore was originally a Cherokee Indian community and was a connection between the Indian’s way of life and that of the white man. Cherokee tribal court was held at Deep Branch until 1839. The town has had several names throughout its history, the second coming in 1846, when it was changed to Foreman’s Landing. It was later changed to Campbell, after Dr. W.W. Campbell, a local doctor and businessman. The town was renamed Gore in 1909 after the Honorable Thomas P. Gore, the first U.S. Senator of Oklahoma. Today, Gore is knows as the “Trout Capitol of Oklahoma,” as it offers year-round trout fishing on the nearby lower Illinois River. The new Steve Owens Sports Complex is on Hwy. 64, east of downtown, and includes a walking trail and facilities for baseball, softball, soccer and football. Antique enthusiasts will enjoy the variety of shops found along Main Street. For further information write or call the Gore Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 970, Gore, OK 74435 (918) 489-2534. Visit their website at http://www.goreok.net.
Webber Falls

Webbers Falls is a town in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 726 at the 2000 census. The name comes from a 7 foot falls in the Arkansas River, itself named in honor of Walter Webber, a Cherokee leader who lived there in the early 19th Century.

Legend has it, the name Tahlequah was chosen for the new homeland of the Cherokee Tribe upon their arrival from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears.” Three chiefs were to meet and select its name, but when only two chiefs showed up for the meeting, they said “Tahlequah” which in the Cherokee language means “Two is enough.” Tahlequah has often been referred to as one of the most historically significant cities west of the Mississippi, and is located just 12 miles north of Tenkiller Lake on Highway 82. Rich in Native American history, Tahlequah has been the home of the Cherokee Nation since 1841. There are several historic homes in the area. Three miles south of town is “Hunter’s Home” or the George M. Murrell homesite. The Murrell home is the only remaining antebellum home in Oklahoma. Information on this home and a self-guided tour package is available from the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce. The Cherokee Heritage Center, located just outside of Tahlequah is another interesting tourist stop. It offers visitors a unique look back into the history of the Cherokee Nation. Tahlequah has been voted the 55th Best Small Town in America. From the many beautiful historic homes, to the popular Illinois River Balloon Fest, and the rambling campus of Northeastern State University, to scenic float trips on the beautiful Illinois River, Tahlequah has something for everyone. For more information contact the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-456-4860 or visit their website: http://www.tahlequahchamber.com. for inquiries concerning the Cherokee Nation, please call (918) 456-0617 or visit their website: http://www.cherokee.org. *For a tour of Tahlequah attractions and accommodations visit **www.tourtahlequahok.com**

Tahlequah is a city in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The population was 14,458 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Cherokee County[4]. The main campus of Northeastern State University is located in the city. It is also the capital of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation. Tahlequah is also known for being featured in the book Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.
Park Hill

Park Hill is a census-designated place (CDP) in southwestern Cherokee County, Oklahoma in the United States. The population was 3,936 at the 2000 census. It lies near Tahlequah, east of the junction of U.S. Route 62 and State Highway 82.

Keys is located just south of Tahlequah, on Highway 82. Travelers will notice how quickly this little town is becoming the hub of restaurants, convenience stores, boat repair, and the home of Jimmy Houston’s Outdoor Store. There are two banks, hair salons, a donut shop, a hotel, a new high school, and several real estate agencies to help those with relocation in mind.

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