History Along the Byway
Heavener Runestone Park
One of the most unusual historic sites in the South can be found on a mountainside in Oklahoma. It is believed that Vikings came here more than 1,000 years ago and left a sign of their passing carved on the face of a massive boulder. The Heavener Runestone Park offers a park office, gift shop, interpretative center, picnic area, amphitheater, playground, hiking and educational programs.
The Kerr Conference Center and Museum
The former country estate of the late Senator Robert S. Kerr is now open as a conference center, bed and breakfast, and museum. With spectacular views overlooking the Poteau River Valley and great amenities, a stay here is relaxing whether for business of pleasure. The museum hosts memorabilia from pre-history through World War II along with a recreation of Senator Kerr’s office.
Peter Conser Home
The Peter Conser home is the restored 19th century home of Peter Conser, a former Lighthorseman and legislator of the Choctaw Nation. On the National Register of Historical Places, the interior of the home has been restored to reflect Conser family’s wealth and social position during the Indian Territory period.
Located near Millerton, Oklahoma, Wheelock was the first Choctaw National Academy. The academy served as the model for the school system established by the Five Civilized Tribes. The Academy was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the US Department of Interior in 1966.
McAlester Scottish Rite Masonic Temple
The largest Masonic Temple in the state and second largest Masonic Temple stage in the country, the McAlester Scottish Rite Masonic Temple attracts Masons and curious visitors from all around for its museum and architecture. The Temple is highlighted by the Egyptian Auditorium House known for its scenic drops and costume collection; including three from the Biblical epic The Ten Commandments. Acoustically, the auditorium houses a custom-built Kimball Organ with a 51-bank console and over 3,100 pipes it was installed in 1930.
Choctaw Nation Council House Museum
Located in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma, the Council House, also known as the Capitol building of the Choctaw Nation is now a museum of Choctaw history. In 1975 the Capitol building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The first floor houses the old Tribal Court. The second floor displays Choctaw pottery, an art gallery, tribal documents, and vintage clothing.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Located on Rich Mountain the park provides breathtaking views and a little local history. Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a great stop off on your way down the Talimena Scenic Byway. The lodge is an ideal place to stay the night or just to stop and have lunch.