Cherokee Nation Restores its Supreme Court

Cherokee
The 1844 Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Building burned down but was rebuilt in 1875 with its original walls.

Credit: Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Photo

The Cherokee Nation wants tourists to visit Tahlequah, Okla., the city its people established at the end of the Trail of Tears in northeastern Oklahoma.

To that end, the Cherokee Nation's tourism department is restoring four sites, starting with the state's oldest municipal building, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, built in 1844 and vacant since 1994.

"It was uninhabitable," says Heather Williams, senior project manager for the nation's Cultural and Tourism Department. "We had to do some immediate stabilization and go straight into the restoration process," adds Steve Rush, marketing operations manager.

Exterior restoration work, expected to cost $350,000, began last November and will be completed in June. Once the interior has been renovated, the building will reopen as a museum. The collection will include an original printing press from the Cherokee Advocate, the state's oldest newspaper, which was published in the building.

The nation also plans to restore three more important sites: the Cherokee National Capitol Building, the Cherokee National Jail, and Ross Cemetery, where workers have already started to repair fences.

“The Supreme Court building is extremely important in Cherokee history, so it made sense to start with that,” says Molly Jarvis, vice president of marketing for the Cherokee Nation. “This [restoration] is part of a very long-term plan for the Cherokee Nation to preserve our history. We're starting with downtown Tahlequah.”

 

For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.

Subscribe to the Today's News RSS feed

Comments

Submitted by Clay at: May 12, 2009
Great news. I will definitely visit when it is completed.

Submitted by Brian at: April 29, 2009
Another success story. Too bad its so expensive.