Kiamichi was once thought to have been an Indian word, however it was introduced by early French explorers. They found this area was abundant in wild game and also a type of very large and noisy woodpecker. They named both the bird and the area Kiamichi - meaning 'raucous bird'.
The Kiamichi River runs south-southwest for some 165 miles from Pine Mountain in eastern Le Flore County (near the Arkansas border) to the Red River on the Texas border. Hugo Lake was formed off the river by means of a flood control dam.
The St Louis-San Francisco Railway travelled this route over the old railway bridge.
This park comprises 46-acres which includes a 390 acre lake. There are campsites, a swimming beach and a picnic area with 70 tables. There are also 2 boat ramps although the speed limit on the lake is only 5mph.
The park is 1.5 miles south of Fort Towson and south Hugo and U.S. Highway 70 on SR 209.
Dorothy Orton was the primary person for pushing for the restoration of old Fort Towson. She was able to bring awareness to the community and the State of the importance of the preservation as part of Oklahoma's historic heritage. She was born locally at Fort Towson (the town) in 1915 and was the first woman to enlist in the women's army corps for World War II. When she was discharged some 2 years later it was with the rank of Captain. She was recalled to active duty in the army in 1950 and saw service at Fort Lee, Virginia and at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. She was also a Staff Officer in the Oklahoma District Military office. After military service, Dorothy became postmaster at Fort Towson and was in this position until she died in an accident while on a fishing trip in 1968. This monument was erected as a memorial to her.
Fort Towson is Oklahoma's second oldest military outpost. It is an important site in the history of the US Arm's role in their aim to maintain peace on the frontier. The fort operated from 1824 to 1854. This was the site where the last Confederate General surrendered in 1865. Amongst the many important visitors to the Fort were Generals U.S. Grant and George B. McClelland.
Admission is Free
Directions: One half-mile east and one mile north of Fort Towson community and U.S. Hwy.70. 15 Miles east of Hugo.
The Hugo Lake dam is Hugo Lake and the Kiamichi (Ke-a-mee-chee) River which is 18 river miles upstream from its convergence with the Red River. Hugo Lake was formed from the Kiamichi River.
The lake covers 13,250 acres and was is a fishing paradise with species of largemouth, spotted bass, crappie, white bass, channel and flathead catfish, bluegill, buffalo, carp and drum. The lake lies about 5 miles west of Fort Towson and 7 miles east of Hugo.
Often goods were bought in exchange for hides or snake root. Goods for the store were brought up the Red River by steamer. This Sutler has many artefacts on display that have been found on the Fort site.
A Sutler is a term given to the general store on a Fort. They were usually run by civilians but a percentage of their profits went to the Fort. There were three Sutlers at Fort Towson during 1824 until the fort was finally abandoned. This building is a reconstruction of the original which was operating on this site.
In a dense part of forest you can find what is left of an old cemetery where many of the soldiers were buried at one time. They were moved to the national cemetery at Fort Gibson soon after the federal troops left.
The Fort was originally built as a border post between the US and Texas (which was part of Mexico at that time). It was rebuilt and renames Camp Phoenix for a short time before changing its name to Cantonment Towson, it was renamed again in 1832. When it was rebuilt again, the purpose was to protect the Choctaw Indians from the native tribes.
The fort has also been used as the Choctaw Indian Agency for a while and the Choctaw capital.
The fortifications were built of wood on heavy walls of limestone masonry. Over time, fire and climatic conditions have almost totally destroyed most of the fort. Large oak have grown up in the cellars of the old buildings. The Fort Towson site has been restored by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
This is a vantage point on US Hwy 70 for viewing the Hugo Dam. There is not much else to this Overlook other than the little shelter and the parking area but there is a map of the area.
The store sold sugar, coffee, molasses, golden syrup, dried fruit, pickles as well as oysters and lobsters in cans