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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Discovering McAlester, Oklahoma



One of the great joys of travel is the unexpected. On our drive to south Texas, we spent a night in McAlester, Oklahoma. If I had my mind focused only on our destination, I would have missed a fun morning of discovery.

The first thing I noticed after we exited the highway - the street signs. Each was topped by metal art, featuring different aspects of Oklahoma history. I loved seeing so many designs. At the LaQuinta Inn & Suites, I picked up a brochure of historical sites. Although we only had time to visit a couple, I totally enjoyed them. Many old historic buildings grace the downtown streets, lending a unique personality to the town.

Buffalo once roamed the land, but today the thirty-six buffalo throughout town are made of bronze. This city of 18,000+ rightly prides itself in its heritage. The website and visitors guide list numerous places of interest.

McAlester is in the Choctaw nation. Its history includes a Civil War battle. In the early days of the 20th century, it was once a coal-mining town. In front of the old McAlester High School Historical Museum, stands the largest lump of coal (2 1/2 tons) from the Homer Mine.

German POW castle
During WWII, the town housed German prisoners of war. Today travelers can visit the castle replica they built to remind them of home. It stands across from the lump of coal in front of the museum, which is an impressive building.
Aldridge Hotel

The old Aldridge Hotel was built in the 1930s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out www.cityofmcalester.com for a complete list of places of interest. We only touched the surface and I plan to visit again.

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