Wister Lake Office - Historical Display - 160529
If you ever get a chance to visit Wister, OK, be sure to stop by our Lake Office, near the dam, to see this unique display of Native American artifacts.
Located on the Poteau River, about 2 miles south of Wister in LeFlore County, visitors here will find an impressive archeological collection of arrowheads, stone knives, spear heads, hammer stones and beads.
Donated to the Tulsa District Corps of Engineers by J. Lynn Garner Sr. and dedicated to the people of this area on November, 7, 1974, the archeological collection is available for viewing during normal hours of operation.
HISTORY: The area around Wister Lake has been inhabited for hundreds of thousands of years. Numerous house mounds of prehistoric Indians still exist in the area. An archeological display concerning these mounds is located in the project office. Two major runestone discoveries, one near Heavener and the other near Poteau, establish that the Norse Vikings were in Oklahoma in the 11th century. The discovery of the Heavener Runestone was made by Choctaw Indians in the 1830s when Oklahoma was Indian Territory. For many years, the inscription was thought to be Indian writing. It was not until 1959 that the Heavener Runestone inscription was officially recognized as being composed of rune characters. The Poteau Runestone, on a hill near Poteau, was not discovered until 1967. The date inscribed on the Poteau Runestone has been interpreted as November 11, 1017, exactly five years later than the date of the Heavener Runestone.
The home of Peter Conser, leader of the famed Choctaw Lighthorse police or soldiers, is another interesting historic landmark near Lake Wister. The historic home is located three miles west of Hodgens on a rise of land beside the scenic road from Hodgens to Summerfield. Conser operated a blacksmith shop, gristmill, general store, and post office. Excellent horses were always kept in the rail corral around the barn for the Choctaw Lighthorsemen. They were famous for their effective law enforcement during the rugged and otherwise lawless period in the last quarter of the 19th century. The home of the late U.S. Senator and Mrs. Robert S. Kerr is located about five miles southwest of Poteau. The magnificent mansion, containing many of the late Senator's office furnishings and personal items, is now the Kerr Museum which is open to the public. It is a striking memorial to the famous Oklahoman.
U.S. Army photos by Edward N. Johnson