Konawa

"KONAWA, 157.7 m., (962 alt., 2,205 pop.), is an active trading center and shipping point for a fertile and productive farming area." - "Tour 14," Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State, 1941: 391.

Konawa has decreased in size since 1941. According to the US Census, Konawa had 1,298 residents in 2010.

Konawa Armory

Front of Konawa Armory

Konawa Armory

WPA Plaque on the Armory

Konawa Armory

Our first stop in Konawa, Oklahoma landed us straight in front of a big beautiful red brick building.  This was the Konawa Armory. This building is not mentioned in the Guide.

Immediately apparent when approaching the front door are two giant swastikas set in concrete.  While shocking at first sight, the backwards swastika is actually a Native American symbol called the “thunderbird.”  This structure was completed in 1936 in preparation for the National Guard’s future involvement in WWII.  The Armory was built by a host of recently unemployed oil workers in an attempt to stimulate the local economy. 

It is a giant red brick, single story building that encompasses somewhere along the lines of 15000 sq ft.  After further inspection it became apparent that the building is not in current use.  Based on the amount of junk left in the large room to the rear of the structure and construction materials laying around it is possible that the building is under some sort of renovation.  The original architect and builder remain unknown.

Konawa Cemetery

WPA style wall surrounding the Konawa Cemetery

Konawa Cemetery

Headstone dating back nearly 100 years

City Cemetery

On the west side of Highway 39 south of Konawa stands the city cemetery.  Surrounding the property is a wall that is suspicious of 1930’s WPA architecture.  The cemetery seems to be well maintained and provides an excellent view of the countryside where we saw sheepdogs herding for farmers and ranchers.

Many of the tombstones final resting dates are from the early 1900’s.  They are beautiful and made of aged stone giving this place a particularly eerie feeling, even by cemetery standards.  Standing on the southeast side of the cemetery is a gravestone shrouded in mystery.  Many people travel for miles to come visit the burial site of Katherine Ann Cross, a girl rumored to have been eaten by wolves.  On her tombstone it is written “Murdered by Human Wolves,” possibly referring to the botched abortion that ultimately led to her death.  There are many ghost stories and legends surrounding her death that make her grave a unique addition to the updated Seminole to Ada WPA tour.

Although the cemetery existed in 1941, it was not included in the guide. 

Scared Heart Mission and St. Mary's Academy

"Right from Konawa on a gravel road, 4 m.; R. on an improved dirt road is ST. MARY'S ACADEMY, 6 m., a convent school for Indian girls. Founded in 1884 by four Sisters of Mercy from Illinois, who came at the invitatoin of Benedictine Fathers to teach white and Indian girls in day and boarding school, it has received strudents from practically all of the Five Tribes and from many of the Plains tribes. Enrollment (1941) is 110.

Established in 1876 by Father Isidore Robot, of the Benedictine Order, SACRED HEART MISSION, which sponsored St. Mary's Acadmy, occupied a tract of 640 acres in this locality given by Potawatomi and Shawnee tribes (see Tour 5). The Abbey, a two-story building surmouted by a cross, is still in  use, as are the stables, a bakery, and other utlity structures now (1941) under the care of St. Gregory's College at Shawnee."

-"Tour 14," Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State, 1941: 392.

Konawa