About

Nowata County Historical Society Museum

Established in 1969 through the efforts of the Nowata County Extension Club Cultural Arts Program, the Nowata County Historical Society Museum is located in the original Clinic Hospital.  As you browse through the large number of rooms dedicated to specific topics related to the county, you will see life reflected in different aspects from Indian Territory Days, early pioneer days on to the present. Since its beginnings, the museum has grown into one of the largest in the region. Signs of the original hospital are still visible in various places throughout the building. In addition to exhibits inside, there is a display of early oil field equipment and one of the original jail cells on the grounds south of the museum. The large bell standing in the frame by the entrance is the original fire bell that used to hang in the second story tower of the fire station next door.

Staffed entirely by volunteers, the Historical Society is governed by a Board of Directors. There are no paid employees. Open from 10 am-4 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Open until 6 pm on the first Thursday of the month. Admission is free but donations are appreciated and help to cover the cost of operations.

The Society depends on membership dues to help with day to day operations and to cover production costs of our quarterly newsletter. Become a member or renew now: Membership Form

10 thoughts on “About”

  1. Carroll said:

    Good job Frank, well presented and I look forward to more postings about Nowata County.

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  2. Jamie Lighty said:

    Do you have any exhibits on Pretty Boy Floyd in your museum? My dad Bill Smalley Grew up on a farm in Nowata. He said when he was around 10yrs old Pretty Boy Floyd was on the run from the US Marshalls and came across My Grandpas farm and asked him for some food because he hadn’t eaten in days and was starving. My grandma told him” You can come in and eat with me and my family but then you have to leave. So My dad got to eat dinner with him and talk with him. He said he was really handsome and well dressed and he had really good manners. I read his autobiography of him and have been fascinated with him eversince.

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  3. Ken Cooper said:

    Does anyone know why the tributary of the Verdigris River east of Nowata city is called Lightning Creek? I had ancestors who lived on its banks in the late 1800s and I’m curious about the name. Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.

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    • nowatamuseum said:

      Old Alluwe was originally positioned 8 miles southeast of present Nowata, near the Verdigris River. The town was called Lightning Creek, settled in 1869 by members of the Eastern Delaware tribe after an 1867 treaty with the Cherokee. Lightning Creek acquired its post office in 1872. During the 1870s the population increased and stores were built. Preferring the Delaware name, residents changed the town’s designation from Lightning Creek to Alluwe in 1883.
      Not sure if it’s right, but it’s said that Lightning Creek was named for the Lightning Bugs!

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      • Ken Cooper said:

        Thanks for that. There was another settlement of Cherokee Freedmen named Lightning Creek, where my ancestors lived, and that was the reason the Delaware changed their name to Alluwe. The Lightning Creek settlement I’m talking about was where the Hayden Post Office was located. Thanks for the part about lightning bugs–how interesting.

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      • nowatamuseum said:

        The Post Office was named for Henry C. Hayden, first post master
        October 29, 1890 – October 15, 1936.
        More Information here:

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  4. Ken Cooper said:

    Does the museum have for sale any copies of ” A Look at the History of Nowata Oklahoma and Vicinity”? I’m interested in the section about Lightning Creek.

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