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Alva, Oklahoma

Alva, Oklahoma

Alva was one of the four designated land office towns at the opening of the Cherokee Outlet in 1893. Its name honors Alva B. Adams, pioneer attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad whose main line (now the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad) serves Alva. Adams later became governor of Colorado. Today, Alva is the county seat of Woods County and prosperous home to Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Alva is built around an interesting "courthouse rectangle." The Cherokee Strip Museum houses one of Oklahoma's best collections of pioneer exhibits. There's also a museum in Jesse Dunn Hall on the college campus. This museum features natural history exhibits, Indian relics, and one of the best taxidermic bird collections in the United States. The college itself is actually Oklahoma's second-oldest normal school. It's first building was built by the citizens of Alva. The "Castle on the Hill" was designed by Jeseph Foucart of Guthrie, but the building later burned in 1935. Of considerable interest is a book in the college library - it contains more than 600 listings for 300 ranches registered with the Cherokee Strip Livestock Association for the roundup of 1886!

Situated in the center of a "tourism triangle," Alva is approximately 30 miles from each of three outstanding attractions--the Great Salt Plains, Alabaster Caverns State Park, and Little Sahara State Park. Alva is known for its great hunting and fishing.

The Nescatunga Arts Festival, celebrated the first Saturday each June, features artists and craftsmen from a four-state region on the downtown square, entertaining visitors with exciting talent, exceptional art, imaginative crafts, and fantastic foods.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

World War II POW Camp

A World War II POW Camp was located just south of Alva in the 1940s. More than 5,000 prisoners were interned at a time when the population of Alva itself was only 3,500.

Alva, OK Military History

Cherokee Strip Museum

In 1975 the Cherokee Strip Museum Association acquired the former Alva City Hospital building with its 40 rooms to house one of Oklahoma's best collections of pioneer exhibits. Several of the rooms are set up to display specific period artifacts. * Gun Room * Hat Room * Drug Store *

Alva, OK Museums

Centennial Marker

The Alva Centennial Marker ( 1893 - 1993) is "dedicated to the Cherokee Outlet's pioneers whose sacrifices made the prairie bloom and provided the descendants with a proud heritage."

Alva, OK Historical Markers


Historic Churches

The Alva Friends Church was established in 1901 and located at this spot in 1919 as Alva's first Church. The Fire Bell was Fire Bellplaced in this church in Wichita, Kansas, in 1893, and was moved to Alva, Oklahoma, in 1895.

Alva, OK Historic Churches

Things to do near Alva, OK

Boiling Springs Hiking Trails

Boiling Springs State Park offers three trails for the enthusiast. The Burma Road Trail, approximately 11/2 miles long, is us...

Lake Etling Fishing

Jetties and berms along the 5 miles of shoreline provide excellent fishing opportunities at Lake Carl G. Etling. Brush shelte...

Chain Ranch Sportsmans Club

The opportunity to hunt and fish on over 100,000 acres of some of the best habitat in the country has now been made available...