Medicine Park Oklahoma - call 580-695-0331

medicine_park_ok Photos Links Contact

Medicine Park Oklahoma

Medicine Park is a town in Comanche County, Oklahoma, United States, situated in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance to the 60,000 acre Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Medicine Park has a long history as a vintage cobblestone resort town. Medicine Park is also located near the city of Lawton and Fort Sill. It is part of the Lawton Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many of the original structures are constructed out of naturally formed cobblestones—these red granite cobblestones are unique to the Wichita Mountains. The population was 373 at the 2000 census.

The community has a rich and colorful history. Originally founded on the 4th of July 1908 by Elmer Thomas, a young lawyer who had just become the first Senator of Oklahoma, Medicine Park was Oklahoma’s first planned tourism resort.

In the spring of 1906, just five years after the establishment of the Wichita Mountains National Forest, Elmer Thomas envisioned the need not only for a recreational area but also the need for a permanent water source for the budding and newly founded City of Lawton. Over a period of a few years, he and a partner, Hal Lloyd from Altus, quietly purchased approximately 900 acres of what is now the cobblestone community of Medicine Park.

When the resort first opened, it consisted merely of a large surplus Army tent with a wooden floor where hot meals were served. Two dams were constructed on Medicine Creek to form Bath Lake Swimming Hole and a limited number of campsites were built. Over a period of approximately 4 years, numerous improvements were added, and the area began to take on the look and feel of a bona fide resort.

About this same time period, numerous such resorts were opening near the entries of other newly founded National Parks and National Forests all across the country. The American public held a remarkable fascination with nature. The coming of the automobile gave unprecedented access to our country’s natural wonders. Resorts began springing up nationwide to provide these new found "tourists" with food, lodging and entertainment.

Tourists flocked to the area from around the state and North Texas to enjoy the mountains, wildlife, swimming, good food and lodging. Soon, there were two inns—the Outside Inn and the Apache Inn (which was formerly the Press Association Clubhouse) -- Baird’s Health Sanitarium (which featured clay tennis courts and a spa) -- a Dance Hall, The Medicine Park Lodge (atop Mount Dunbar), a Canteen, Petting Zoo, Bath House, General Store, School, Bait Shop, Hydro Electric Power Plant and the infamous Dam Café. Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys (the kings of western swing) became regulars at the Dance Hall from 1929 through the late 1930s. Numerous other famous bands of the day made their way through Medicine Park in route to big city venues in Oklahoma City, Dallas and Fort Worth.

The entire Bath Lake Park was landscaped with beautiful gardens, large trees, foot bridges and grassy areas for visitors to lounge around, sunbathe and enjoy the natural beauty. The area flourished during the late teens to the 1940s as the “Jewel of the Southwest.”

The nearby Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Lake Lawtonka attracted thousands of people each weekend and throughout the seasons. Medicine Park became the “playground” for the State’s rich, famous and notorious. Folks would come to town for the weekend and leave their “work-a-day” world, troubles and reputations behind them. Outlaws and horse thieves mixed with noted politicians and businessmen, soldiers and officers from Fort Sill, families and socialites in this new cobblestone community. The pages of the Town’s colorful history are filled with the likes of Will Rogers, Wiley Post, Frank Phillips, Bob Wills, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, Lil Hardin, Colonel Jack Abernathy, Les Brown, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and countless others. [3]

Future of Medicine Park Oklahoma

Bob Moore - Phone 580-695-0331 - Fax toll-free 866-383-4120 - Email

People of interest in the history of Medicine Park

Elmer Thomas, the founder of Medicine Park, became a powerful politician in the State of Oklahoma. He went on to serve in the State Senate from 1907-1920, was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1923-1927 and a United States Senator from 1927-1951.

In the early 1960s Rex and Ruby “Grandma” Leath purchased from the Texas Land Company the building that was originally constructed as The Outside Inn in 1910 and later called The Grand Hotel. They named it The Old Plantation Restaurant. It was listed on the National Historic Register in the 1970s. The restaurant was known for its burgers, catfish, huge sirloin steaks that "hung off the platter," and famous rolls. Rex could always be found behind the bar or in the kitchen, Grandma at someone's table telling her tall tales, promoting Medicine Park or giving out her recipe for hot rolls. She was a “one woman Chamber of Commerce.”

In the late 1960s, the need for improving and expanding the utilities infrastructure was becoming apparent to the Park’s residents. The town was officially incorporated as “The Town of Medicine Park” in 1969. Edward A. Hilliary, Jr. was elected as Chairman (mayor) and served as such for 12 years. Early members of the Town Council included: Jack Laughter, RC “Chuck” Gardener and Roy Brown, followed by Rex Leath, “Doc” Dodson and AP Tuck, who served as Police Commissioner. Hilliary installed the first water and sewer systems in Medicine Park. He also owned many businesses in Medicine Park, including Park Propane and Medicine Park Telephone Company, he also partnered with Edna Hennessee to develop Big Rock Mountain Estates.

David and Candace McCoy helped jump start the rebirth of Medicine Park through construction and renovation of businesses and residential houses as well as donations of land and time. In 1995, The Riverside Café, closed for many years, was purchased by the McCoys. The couple worked diligently to restore the café. After they opened for business in August 1996, a new breed of visitor began showing up in town. They loved the steaks, burgers, catfish, friendly atmosphere and the unique community.

Restoration of structures in town began in the late 1990s when a few historic cobblestone cabins were restored by McCoy Development Company, Charley Wright, the Hennessee Family and a few others. Cobblestone Court (a commercial grouping of shops) and the restoration and new construction of numerous cabins and homes on both sides of Medicine Creek, were accomplished through the efforts of McCoy Development Company.

The Park Tavern was opened in 1997 by Bill Patty and his brother in law Tom Zynda. The Tavern was a success and soon became a favorite watering hole for local residents and an icon in Medicine Park’s new found revitalization. Today, it plays hosts to numerous popular annual events.

In 1997, the Old Skating Rink was purchased by David Lott. The facility had originally been constructed as a dance hall in 1920 but had been re-invented as a Skating Rink in the late 1930s and operated seasonally as Medicine Park Skating Rink on an irregular basis through the late 1970s into the early 1980. The Hall hosted numerous concerts 1999-2001 to include Michael Martin Murphey, Rare Earth, Canned Heat, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Lovin' Spoonful, Iron Butterfly, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, The Byrds, Leon Russell, Head East, Hank Thompson, Byron Berline, Big Brother and the Holding Company, 1964-Beatles Tribute, Amazing Rhythm Aces, and more. In early 2002, with the business growing rapidly, short-term debt financing that couldn’t be refinanced in time caused the business to close. However, the public interest the Hall had generated provided a catalyst, bringing numerous new businesses and other economic successes soon following. This set the Town on its current pattern of growth as it heads into the new century.

Throughout the mid-to-late 1990s residents of Medicine Park implemented numerous improvements and established several subsidiary arms of Town government. These included formation of Medicine Park Economic Development Trust Authority (MPEDA), Medicine Park Planning & Preservation Committee, a new Police Department and an outstanding Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department now has a new Fire Station, more than 20 dedicated and trained volunteers, several state-of-the-art fire trucks and fully equipped emergency response vehicles. In addition, business owners and residents established the Medicine Park Merchants Association and the Wichita Mountains Art Council.

Bob Moore and Doug Hilliary

Bob Moore and Doug Hilliary and the Hilliary Family have been working to further development Medicine Park, Oklahoma.  There are three families (all friends) that own most of the land in Medicine Park, Oklahoma.

We are opening roads and putting in water and sewer lines to open up new housing additions.  We have land - mountains - that overlook Lake Lawtonka and the town of Medicine Park, Oklahoma.

We are located at the entrance of the U. S. Federal Government Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuse and also on the north side of Fort Sill which is increasing its size by 10,000 soldiers.

We would like larger investors to build new condos and apartments in Medicine Park, Oklahoma.

Bob Moore - Cash Financial Services - Bob Moore Financing - Phone 580-695-0331 - Fax toll-free 866-383-4120 - Email