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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


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

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

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

Things to do near Alva, OK

Alabaster Caverns State Park

Alabaster Caverns State Park is the largest gypsum cave in the world open to the public. Huge boulders of alabaster, a fine-g...

American Horse Lake

Fishing, boat ramps, primitive camping, picnicking....

Mormon Battalion Memorial Plaque

A plaque was erected in 1983 at the north side of the courthouse in Boise City, observing the crossing of this area by the 50...

Scenic Drives To All Surrounding Towns

Highway 50, which runs through Freedom, provides the traveler with one of most scenic drives in the southern great plains....