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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Lake Murray construction, 1933
(214.86.A.33, Ray Sheehan Collection, OHS).

Water skiing at Lake Murray, 1950s
(23327.6, Jeff D. Griffin, Sr., Collection, OHS).

Tucker Tower at Lake Murray State Park
(23389.397.185, Jim Argo Collection, OHS).


Named after Oklahoma Gov. William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray, Lake Murray State Park is located south of Ardmore and straddles the Love and Carter county line. The state park comprises a 12,496-acre recreational area and a 5,728-acre, man-made lake created by the damming of the Fourche Maline and Anadarche creeks. On April 10, 1933, the state legislature appropriated ninety thousand dollars to purchase the property that comprised the park.

Constructed during the era of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Lake Murray State Park was created by the National Park Service and built by several New Deal agencies, including the Works Progress Administration. The solons envisioned the park as a relatively cheap recreational environment for the citizens of Oklahoma. Two main group camps were created, along with a "Negro" camp. Lake Murray State Park became the only state park built by the National Park Service to provide permanent camping facilities for African American youth. The term "rustic" best describes the style of architecture and ideology used in the park's construction. Engineers designed the park's amenities specifically to incorporate the park into its natural environment, including hidden trash receptacles and water fountains that spout from rocks. The park has an extensive range of buildings dating back to the 1930s and provides examples of the period's architecture. A notable landmark in the park, Tucker Tower, designed to be a summer home for the governors of Oklahoma, serves as a museum. In 1997 Lake Murray State Park became the first Oklahoma state park to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 01001097).

Karen Whitecotton


"Lake Murray State Park," National Register File, State Historic Preservation Office, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Shawnee (Oklahoma) Star, 27 October 2001.

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Karen Whitecotton, “Lake Murray State Park,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=LA008.

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