Some of the most interesting places are located just a short drive off the main road. Sequoyah’s one-room log cabin in the beautiful forests and hills of eastern Oklahoma is just such a place.
Sequoyah is known as the inventor of the Cherokee’s nation’s written language. He built this cabin in 1829 shortly after his moving to what is present day Oklahoma.
Sequoyah was born about 1770 in Tennessee to a Cherokee mother and non-Indian father. Sequoyah was “intrigued with the fact that white men could convey messages by the use of writing or ‘talking leaves’…. Sequoyah came to realize that the Cherokee language is composed of a set number of reoccurring sounds. With this insight it was possible for him to identify and create a symbol for each sound, thus producing a syllabary rather than an alphabet.” After 12 years of work, in 1821 he completed the Cherokee syllabary.
The drive to the cabin takes visitors along some beautiful country roads. The first thing you notice when you enter the grounds is the air – it is clean, moist and just makes you feel good. The next things you notice are the well-maintained grounds followed by how solid the buildings are constructed. It is obvious this is a well loved and appreciated landmark.
The cabin is actually preserved inside a modern building. After opening the door of the outside building you enter a single open room; at the center is a hand-hewn log cabin, along the walls are displays about Sequoyah’s life and his work. What is nice about this exhibit is that visitors can actually step inside his cabin for a close up view of the period furniture and items that would have been in his life. Unlike many places that hide stories from the past behind cold glass, this landmark is open, inviting and warm.
The people working at the landmark were all friendly.
Sequoyah’s cabin is located about 6 miles northeast of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, on State 101. The cabin and grounds are open Tuesday – Sunday. Check the website for hours. Admission is free.
The cabin is preserved as a National Historic Landmark.
A special ‘thank you’ to Arethia Stann for her introduction to this great place and a tour of the surrounding countryside.
For additional information visit:
Reference: “Sequoyah’s Cabin” brochure.
Just north of Tulsa is a great museum with art of the American West and artifacts from the Americas.
This is the Gilcrease Museum. It is a pleasant day trip for families curious about western U.S. history and the artistic traditions of Native Americans.
During my visit several favorite exhibits included: amazing paintings of ‘the West’, displays of Native American headdresses and clothing, and portraits of the men and women who helped shape the frontier. What really impressed everyone was the ‘Kravis Discovery Center’ on the lower level. This small research area houses many smaller items from the museum’s collection. Here are beautiful crafted arrowheads of all shapes and sizes – including some gorgeous and rare Clovis points, ancient pottery and ceremonial items.
Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at ‘The Restaurant at Gilcrease.’ Request to sit by the large glass windows for views of the picturesque Osage Hills. The menu offerings are simple, yet varied and very tasty.
Parents will enjoy touring the various gardens that surround the museum. Kids can burn off some energy at nearby Stuart Park, just a quick walk away. Here you will find many carved woodland animals hidden along the trail. Visitors will also find a number of bronze statues on the museum’s grounds that are fun to visit. The image above, located at the entrance to the museum is the ‘Sacred Rain Arrow.’ The life sized ‘Pioneer Woman’ sculpture can be discovered while exploring the nearby trails.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Christmas Day. Admission is $8 for adults and kids under 18 are free.
Visit Gilcrease online:
People visiting Sequoia National Park often overlook the Hospital Rock area. To many visitors it is not a destination; rather it is an unusual name on the map that lies between the Foothills Visitor Center (at the south entrance of the park) and the popular Giant Forest with its massive sequoia trees.
If you have the time check out Hospital Rock – it is a curious place. One of the first things to notice is the location; it is in a transition zone between the drier foothills and the mountainous region above. The highway also reflects this transition; after following the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River valley the road turns sharply at Hospital Rock and begins a steep series of switchbacks and a climb of roughly 4,000 feet.
At the parking area is a large, smooth monolith that people might think is Hospital Rock – it is a good place for kids to play, to sit and enjoy a sandwich, maybe wave ‘hello’ to people driving by – but this is not Hospital Rock. Nearby are several picnic tables and an interpretive display. At the display you read about the Native people, the Patwishas, and get a glimpse into their lives within this area. The display introduces Hospital Rock and the petroglyphs; apparently the designs were made before the Patwishas settled here. Finally, it tells about this place’s unusual name, Hospital Rock, which was given when a trapper received medical care for a gunshot wound in the 1870s.
Just across the road is a small sign that reads, “Hospital Rock” and behind it is a house-sized boulder. It is odd how this massive stone was there all the time – but was not easily seen.
This great stone is oddly shaped – it appears to have been cleaved, part of it leaning over to one side from the main form. The cleaved area is flat and has been used as a large canvas for petroglyphs, ancient drawings and shapes that have been carved or etched into the rock. Several steps in the rock allow visitors to get a closer look. Many of the rock ‘drawings’ are somewhat faded and streaked by mineral runoff and time, but some a very visible.
At the backside of this rock are several overhangs and caves that provide great places to explore and play for families.
Nearby is a short paved trail leading down to the river. After a short walk of just a few minutes you arrive to see white and tan colored boulders strewn in the riverbed as blue, white and emerald colored water moves quickly downstream.
Exploring the area around Hospital Rock reveals something curious, even mysterious – whispers of an old story are here.