Saline Courthouse restoration receives award
The historic Saline Courthouse near Rose, Okla., is the last remaining district courthouse built by the Cherokee Nation in the 1800s. ARCHIVE PHOTO
The Saline Courthouse preservation project recently received an award. Accepting the award from Emily Scott Stidham, president of the Oklahoma Historical Society, left, and Director of the State Historic Preservation Office Dr. Bob Blackburn, right, are Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Joe Grayson, Herb Fritz for Fritz-Bailey Architects and Saline Preservation Association President Lisa Melchior. COURTESY PHOTO
The restored Saline Courthouse springhouse is part the Cherokee Nation’s Saline National Park in Mayes County. ARCHIVE PHOTO
ROSE, Okla. – The Oklahoma Historical Society’s State Historic Preservation Office presented an award to the Saline Courthouse preservation project in June.
Deputy Chief Joe Grayson, Saline Preservation Association President Lisa Melchior and Herb Fritz of Fritz-Bailey Architects accepted the award, which also recognized the effort to restore the springhouse located on the Saline property. The award was given June 9 during Oklahoma’s 23rd annual Statewide Preservation Conference in Guymon.
“The recipients are individuals or organizations that have contributed to the preservation of Oklahoma’s significant archeological and historic properties through research, public programming, restoration/rehabilitation and other activities,” Melchior said. “This award was given in recognition of work done on these projects.”
Melchior said the Saline Courthouse property was designated as the Cherokee Nation’s first national park in 2005. The 14-acre Saline National Park near Rose in Mayes County consists of a courthouse built in 1884, a restored stone springhouse, an open courtyard and streams that flow around the property.
The Saline District Courthouse is one of nine CN courthouses built by the tribe in the 1800s and is the only district courthouse still standing. Restoration of the courthouse and park grounds is continuing in phases with restoration of the courthouse being the focus.
Future plans for the park include trails, outdoor classrooms, restrooms and recreational areas at the park. Melchior said funding for these projects is being sought. Plans also contain improving the park’s main road, creating a parking area, creating signage, placing picnic tables and benches on the site and adding a natural playground and a restored cabin.
“The park is open to the public. The spring is running all of the time, and if you come on weekends you’ll find families out here picnicking and enjoying the water and the grounds,” Melchior said.
Six work phases are planned for the historic site. The SPA has been working with the CN since 2003 to preserve the property. In 2010, the SPA received a $4,000 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which was used to work on a plan for a memorial trail for the property. The plan was completed in May.
“It (plan) will help us show where the trail will be, and it will also show where outdoor classrooms and picnic areas will be. From that we will work on getting grants to actually build the trail,” Melchior said. firstname.lastname@example.org • 918-207-3961