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TURNER FALLS

Reportedly the largest waterfall in the state, Turner Falls is located in the oldest park within Oklahoma. This beautiful and very popular recreational area has a seventy-seven-foot waterfall that drops into a natural swimming pool below. There are numerous springs within the Arbuckle Mountains; one of them is Honey Creek, which creates the cascade. Turner Falls, named for Mazeppa Thomas Turner, sits six miles south of Davis, Oklahoma.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Turner, born to Scottish parents living in Virginia, married Laura J. Johnson, a Chickasaw, and became a farmer in Murray County. In 1878 Turner and his wife moved to a cabin on the edge of Honey Creek. There he discovered the waterfall that became known as Turner Falls. This fifteen-hundred-acre water resort offers swimming, cave exploration, miles of walking trails, numerous picnic areas, and overnight camping for a small fee. Some have claimed that along with the Grand Canyon and the Black Hills of South Dakota, Turner Falls is one of the three great geological views of the nation's past. Davis has owned the recreation area since 1919 and operated the park from 1919 to 1950. After leasing it to outside interests, the city resumed control of the resort in 1978.

SEE ALSO: ARBUCKLE MOUNTAINS, CAMPING, ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURAL ECOLOGY, RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT, RIVERS AND CREEKS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 15 May 1983. Francis Fugate and Roberta Fugate, Roadside History of Oklahoma (Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1991). George Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974). "Turner Falls," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Joe Sanchez

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