Welcome to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the home of the Capitol of the Cherokee Nation, Northeastern State University, and Tenkiller Lake. Tahlequah is a college town and a tourist destination. Imbedded in the Ozark Mountains, this small town is surrounded by nature’s beauty and warm, friendly people.
Tahlequah was established as the Capitol of the Cherokee Nation in 1839, at the end of the Trail of Tears. By 1842, there was a total of four stores (this was a bustling city) and the following year a survey was conducted listing the town acreage at 160. Though it was small it was not unimportant. In 1843 An Intertribal Council was held at Tahlequah which hosted 10,000 people, including 21 different tribes.
In 1844 the Cherokee Supreme Court and National Hotel was built. As Tahlequah continued to grow it was essential for education and communication, so in 1845 the 1st school was built followed by the first post office. In 1851 Cherokee Nation built two seminaries for their people; one for the women and one for the men.
By 1902, Tahlequah had grown large enough for the Ozark and Cherokee Central Railway to come through.
Tenkiller Lake is the go to outside vacation destination in the area. This manmade lake was constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1947-1952. Though it displaced a number of buildings and communities, the reservoir was built for more than recreation, but also as a water source for the outlying areas.
NORTHEASTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
Tahlequah is home to Northeastern State University. This local college started out with one building. The newly built female seminary, replacing it in 1889 for the one that burnt, was given to the state in 1909 and became known as the Northeastern State Normal School. After 10 years with that name it was changed to Northeastern State Teacher’s College.
In 1939, the college name was changed once more, this time to Northeastern State College. In 1978, it became officially known as Northeastern State University and continues with that name today, and is 4th largest 4 year institution for education in Oklahoma.
From floating the Illinois River to scuba diving in Lake Tenkiller, or taking in a show at the Tahlequah Playhouse or shopping in the historic downtown district, there is something for everyone in Tahlequah. When planning your next vacation give Tahlequah a try. I know it will not disappoint.