Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Osage Hills State Park
Little House on the Prairie. However, rather than waste the picnic lunch packed by the wife, we decided to visit Osage Hills State Park. Osage Hills is one of the lesser known state parks in Oklahoma. It isn't attached to a large reservoir, like Keystone, or have some odd natural feature like Alabaster Caverns or Little Sahara. It is just several hundred acres of scrub oak and juniper forest with a medium sized creek running through it that has been left alone for decades. There are the usual campsites. The tent campers are segregated away from the RVs, which is nice for the tent campers. They have some nice cabins and a swimming pool that is open in the summer and a nice picnic area. There are a couple of miles of trails over relative rough terrain. A nice place to spend an afternoon or weekend and look at a few birds and maybe see some deer. What they also have is a quite good collection of structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are is a very nice picnic shelter (pictured here), a scenic over-look tower, a nice single arch bridge, a no-longer in use restroom, plus a collection of picnic table, culverts, roads and trails and the like. There is also a dam for small lake that I believe was built by the CCC. I think the cabins were also built by the CCC. The other thing is that the remains of the camp where the CCC boys lived are still there. mostly just some foundations, but also a still standing stone chimney. Way off in the woods stands a stone shack where the explosives were kept. There is also building that looks as if it might have been a jail or something. For someone interested in CCC architecture or the social history of the state, it is an important site. Given that just about any armory built by the WPA still standing qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places, I would think that the whole park would qualify.