SULPHUR, OK -- Hundreds out in Sulphur, Oklahoma are working together to bring a historic 1907 hotel that burned down in 1962 back to life. The Chickasaw Nation has been leading this project, and say they can't wait until it's complete for more reasons than one.
Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby says the new Artesian will be at the same scale and grander as the original, but maybe even a little more exquisite and modern for it's time. He says the hotel was very important to the area, and it's loss was very upsetting to the community.
"I think it, personally, it's very gratifying to know that we're going to recreate something of such great importance to the area," Governor Anoatubby said.
Executive Director of Sulphur's Chamber of Commerce Shelly Sawatzky says the town's excited about the recreation of the Artesian, not only locals, but people from all over. She says she expects the hotel to give a boost to their economy, and bring in an even larger variety of tourists than what the community sees now. Sawatzky says she's heard from many how it devastated the area when they saw The Artesian taken by fire, and says it's return and past memories is something old visitors are thrilled to share with others close to them.
"A lot of the folks that have lived here, or lived here at that time said that their families actually came down and actually watched as the Artesian burned, and they would cry because it just held such fond memories for them," Sawatzky said.
At about 140,000 square feet, Governor Anoatubby says the hotel will have a total of 81 comfortable rooms, spas for both adults and children, an indoor and outdoor pool, rent-able rooms, and much more. He says this has been a long project in the making, but the support of the community has been motivating.
"We appreciate all that the community support that we had for the project. There's a real excitement in the air in Murray county, and we appreciate that and the partnerships that have developed out of it," Governor Anoatubby said.
Governor Anoatubby says the hotel's doors will open by Spring of 2013. He says the original hotel brought in notables like Roy Rogers and John Wayne, and though the grand opening is a ways off the anticipation is building as people are already starting to call to try and make reservations.