Emerald Vista offers a spectacular view of Talimena Scenic Drive, the Poteau River Valley, Cedar Lake, and Lake Wister, a corps of Engineers impoundment of the Poteau and Fourche Maline rivers. The town of Heavener can be seen in the distance.
Geographic names such as “Poteau,” “Fourche Maline” and “Kiamichi” indicate the influence of early French explorers, fur trappers and traders. In the French language, Fourche Maline means “treacherous fork” and Poteau comes from the French word meaning “post” where traders tied their canoes. The name Kiamichi originates from the French word for “water bird.” In fact, “Ouachita” ios the French spelling for the Indian word “Washita,” which means “good hunting grounds.”
In 1884, the town of Heavener was known as Choctaw city. Its population of 200 included Choctaws and a few white settlers. The Choctaws called the surrounding area “Prairie of Tall grass.” The town centered around an artesian well which attracted travelers who camped on the road. The principal source of livelihood was lumber.
In 1896, when the Kansas City Railroad came through, the town was renamed in honor of Joseph Heavener who lived in a log cabin on a hill above the well. He was the owner of the land on which the town was established. As an intermarried citizen, he was an Indian arbiter and peacemaker.