Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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BOSTON MOUNTAINS

With an area of 5,770 square miles, the Boston Mountains form the southern border of the Ozark National Forest and intrude from northwestern Arkansas into the east-central Oklahoma counties of Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, and Muskogee. Gently sloping mountaintops with narrow, steep-sided valleys characterize the range. Among the youngest geologic features of the Ozark region, these mountains are composed largely of sandstone and shale of the dissected Boston Mountain Plateau. Elevations range from about 650 feet above sea level on valley floors to about 2,400 feet on the highest ridge crests. The steep mountaintops are abundant with forests, and the valley floors are ideal for pasture and forage production. Large reservoirs located along the major streams provide municipal water and recreational activities for adventure seekers. The moderately high precipitation (forty-five to fifty-two inches) and average annual temperatures (57° F to 62°) are adequate for crops as well as for locally important fruit orchards.

The Boston Mountain range has always sheltered human activity. A significant Civil War battle, Pea Ridge, took place in northwestern Arkansas near Boston Mountain, in the northern portion of the range, effectively ending the Confederate presence in Indian Territory. At the south end of the range, in eastern Oklahoma, lies the timbered Cookson Hills, once an important hunting area for American Indians, a subsistence level farming region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and later home to Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd.

SEE ALSO: COOKSON HILLS, ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURAL ECOLOGY, FARMING, OZARK PLATEAU.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kenneth S. Johnson, "Mountains, Streams, and Lakes of Oklahoma," Oklahoma Geological Survey Informational Series No. 1 (Norman: Oklahoma Geological Survey, 1998). Kenneth S. Johnson, et al., Geology and Earth Resources of Oklahoma: An Atlas of Maps and Cross Sections (Norman: Oklahoma Geological Survey, 1972).John W. Morris, Oklahoma Geography (Oklahoma City-Chattanooga: Harlow Publishing Corporation, 1954). John W. Morris, Charles R. Goins, and Edwin C. McReynolds, Historical Atlas of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986).

Gregory A. Gromadzki and Richard A. Marston

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