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Pawnee County, OK

Pawnee CountyThe Pawnee County communities of Cleveland, Pawnee, Ralston, Westport, Terlton, Blackburn, Skedee, Hallett, Maramec, Jennings and Quay invite you to visit this area of Oklahoma.

Pawnee County offers many activities and attractions for your leisure time. The city of Pawnee presents the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show re-enactments and guided tours of his ranch, the Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show, the World's Largest Free Pow Wow, and the Bootthrow Championships of Oklahoma. Hallett is home to the Hallett Motor Racing circuit, which features 33 weekends of racing each year. Cleveland's annual fireworks show is a must with a patriotic musical salute. Throughout the year Pawnee County schedules Indian powwows, rodeos, bicycle tours, golfing, and many other activities.

About Our History ...

Pawnee County is at the crossroads of the American West, marking the division between the lush, hilly, heavily forested East and the arid, flatter grasslands of the West. It is bounded on the north and south by the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers with plentiful game, wood, water, and shelter that attracted primitive man and, later, bands of Native Indians.

The region became a crossroads as Prairie and Plains Indians followed the migrating herds of buffalo. The Wichita and, later, the Osage and Cherokee claimed the area as tribal hunting domain, and bloody clashes took place as these nations fought over the area.

In 1874, the Paw-nee, along with the Otoe-Missouria tribes, were moved into the Oklahoma Indian Territory when they were expelled from the Kansas and Nebraska plains. They occupied the western two-thirds of Pawnee County while the remainder, part of the Cherokee Outlet, was a mecca for cattlemen attracted by lush grass and plentiful water. Also, the area became a haven for bandits and bootleggers from both the Oklahoma and Indian territories.

This mixture of Western cowboys, the Wild West, and Native Americans gave the region a remarkable blending of cultures which was portrayed by the county's most famous personality, Gordon W. "Pawnee Bill" Lillie, and his Wild West Show.

According to most linguists, the Pawnee derived their name from the Pawnee work Pariki, which early French traders corrupted into Pani, Pana, Panana, Panamaha, Panimaha, or Pawnee. Pariki, which meant horn, referred to the scalp lock, which the Pawnee dressed with red ochre and buffalo fat until it resembled a horn protruding from their head and curved backward. This identifying "head dressing" was the origin of the Choctaw reference word, Pana, meaning a braid or a twist of hair, and the Siouan word Pani or Panyi, which refers to red bird feathers.

Explore Pawnee County

Pawnee County Veteran's Memorial/ Walk of Honor

Located on the west lawn of the Courthouse Square, a 6'6" bronze American soldier standing on a stone base 10' x 10' is dedicated to the men killed in World War I in 1922. In 1992

Pawnee, OK Memorials

Pawnee Agency Tribal Headquarters

The town of Pawnee, Oklahoma, was first a trading post on Bear Creek, and then the agency for the Pawnee tribe after their removal from Nebraska. The 646

Pawnee, OK Ethnic Heritage

Pawnee Monument

A monument located at the Pawnee Indian Agency honors the Pawnee Nation's original tribal leaders, and a marker tells tales of the tribe's early hardships.

Pawnee, OK Monuments

Triangle Heritage Oil & Historical Museum

The Triangle Oil & Historical Museum features a wide selection of Cleveland and Pawnee County memorabilia as well as exhibits on early oil field work in the area. The history of the Triangle Region includes the area bordered by the old Pawnee reservation and the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers.

Cleveland, OK Museums

Pawnee County Historical Museum

The Pawnee County Historical Society Museum presents artifacts in several period room displays and is also the Dick Tracy Collection Headquarters for the midwest.

Pawnee, OK Museums

Dick Tracy Mural

Pawnee, Oklahoma was the birthplace of Dick Tracy creator, Chester Gould, and a mural painted on the side of a building is the world's largest Dick Tracy cartoon. - Artist, Ed Melberg, Tulsa, OK, 1990.

6th and Harrison

Chester Gould

Pawnee, OK Arts

Pawnee City Lake and E.E.C.

The Pawnee City Lake provides boat docks, a skeet range, rod and gun club area, municipal airport, rifle and pistol range, archery range, boat ramps, black bass fishing and public shelters, over 200 camping hookups, picnic areas, and restrooms and showers in the historic WPA native stone bathhouse.

Pawnee, OK Recreation

The Pawnee Bill Story ...

Looking across the Oklahoma prairie, one can imagine scenes once visible to the people of the frontier: No Man's Land, Indian Territory, cowboys, buffalo, and the great rolling plains. No other Oklahoman exemplified "The Wild West"

Pawnee, OK Famous People

Hallett Motor Racing Circuit

Hallett Motor Racing Circuit is a 1.8 mile, 10-turn road racing course in the rolling Osage Hills of North Eastern Oklahoma. It is located 10 miles south of Cleveland on Highway 99, and 35 miles west of Tulsa.

Hallett has over 80

Cleveland, OK Car Races

WPA Historic Bathhouse

Once again, one can almost hear the summertime laughter echoing through the various levels and verandas of this uniquely designed bathhouse carved from native stone in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt's WPA public works program. Closed in the 1950's in favor of a "modern"

Pawnee, OK Historic Buildings


Cleveland Swimming Pool

Located within Dr. Hanson park & playground, the Cleveland Swimming Pool is one of very few oval shaped pools left in operation - the deepest part is in the middle! Future plans for Dr. Hanson park include a Skate Park!

Cleveland, OK Swimming

Explore Pawnee County