Poteau, Oklahoma is a city of almost 8,300 people. You’ll find several very good restaurants including Warehouse Willy’s and La Huerta, and Poteau is home to more than 300 motel rooms.
Poteau, a French word for “post”, is located on the banks of the river bearing its name. It became a town in 1898, is situated in eastern Oklahoma and is almost completely surrounded by mountains. You can see Sugar Loaf Mountain to the east, Winding Stair Mountain to the south, Cavanal Hill to the west and the foothills of the Kiamichi’s where Talimena Scenic Byway is located. Various races of men have known the region throughout the centuries. Mound Builders, between 500 and 1300 A.D., built their temples and burial places in what is now the Spiro area, just north of Poteau. Mayan Indians pressing up from Mexico and Central and South American, clashed with the Mound Builders hundreds of years ago.
Poteau was a city loved by the late Robert S. Kerr. He was Oklahoma’s first native-born governor from 1943-1947 and a U.S. Senator from 1948 until his death is 1963. Kerr was responsible for development of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which provided the direct shipment of Oklahoma goods by water to any point in the world. Visitors are welcome to tour his 11,000 square foot home, which was built in 1960 and constructed of materials that are native to the area such as stone, oak, pine and cedar. The home is now known as the Kerr Country Mansion and Conference Center. It’s a secluded bed and breakfast inn and meeting facility for business or pleasure travelers. A museum at the home contains displays tracing the development of eastern Oklahoma from pre-history through the Spiro Mounds Builders era; the reputed visit of Viking explorers, native Choctaw Indian inhabitants, pioneers and World War II memorabilia.
Set against a scenic backdrop of dogwood, northern spruce and ponderosa pines, Wister State Park is 7 miles west of Poteau. The park offers some of the finest fishing and hunting in Oklahoma, with more than 33,000 park acres and a 2,000-acre waterfowl refuge. There are cabins to rent, five camping areas, family activity center, playgrounds, picnic tables, rowboats, year-round miniature golf, hiking trails, bicycle rentals and a small grocery/gift shop.
Wister State Park is built around Lake Wister, which has more than 7,000 acres and 155 miles of shoreline. Boating and skiing are popular activities here, and a swimming beach and pool give visitors more choices for water recreation.
Additional Services in Poteau:
Marilyn’s Bail Service. Marilyn Pledger, 315 College Avenue, Poteau, OK. 918-647-2261.