Reopened Artesian hotel to boost economy, says Chickasaw Nation

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

SULPHUR, OK - Friday morning Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby cut the ribbon signifying a new chapter in the 107-year history of the Artesian Hotel. 95-year old Sulphurite Lenell Portman remembers the original hotel, which served as the summer home for Oklahoma's first governor.

"Someone asked me last week about how the two compared," said Portman. "And I said, 'Oh my goodness there is no comparison.'"

Built in 1906, the Artesian began as a landmark in Murray county.

"It was really just the hub of the social activities of the time," said Portman.

After going through a fire in 1962, the Chickasaw Nation bought the hotel as its first business ten years later. It was torn down in 2006, and four years later construction on the new Artesian began.

Now Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Bill Lance hopes travelers will stay, play, eat and
spend at the new attraction.

"The more amenities we have to draw people, to draw tourist activity into Murray county it strengthens our local economy," said Lance.

He said that the Artesian has already led to economic growth: 100 new jobs have been created per month for the past five months. Lance said those 500 jobs aren't just with the Chickasaw Nation.

"Those are employment opportunities for businesses across Murray County because they're benefiting from the additional tourism," said Lance.

Portman said she's happy jobs are coming to her hometown, all from the rebirth of her beloved Artesian.

"It was very dear to me because of so many, many memories that I have," she said.


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