I have a natural affinity for Durant because I graduated high school there. On second thought, we used to call it "Dead Rat" on nights when
we bored out of our minds. But Durant has been really blooming as of late. The Main Street has become a showcase of antiques,
restaurants, western wear, and speciality stores. History is astoundingly well preserved and respected. I'm beginning to pine for Durant
Durant sits in Bryan County, which was incorporated in 1907 and named after William Jennings Bryan, leader of the Populists - this
demonstrates Durant's ties to the farmer-lead Progressive movement, which got its start along the Red River Valley.
Durant, however, is much older than the county it lies in. In 1832, a Choctaw-French family named DuRant founded the settlement, and by
1879 it had its first post office. Durant Station, as it was known at first, served as a small stop on the Butterfield-Overland State and Mail
Route. Lying between Fort Washita and Fort Towson, Durant grew and grew. When the KATY railroad arrived in the 1870s, Durant's status
as a farming center was secured. The main crops were cotton and peanuts. Eventually, several other railroads converged in Durant.
Today, Durant is the seat of the Choctaw Nation, having supplanted Doaksville and Tuskahoma. The city is also home to Southeastern
Oklahoma State University and the World's Largest Peanut, a monument commemorating area peanut farmers. Large peanuts standing on
granite bases are surprisingly impressive, and Durant has a big one!
|This old building on Main Street looks like a wild west saloon. Next to it is the Bryan Hotel, which are now very nice apartments.
|Things to See and Do:
Don't forget to visit the large peanut, located on the northeast corner of the city hall.
The Three Valley Museum is dedicated to Durant's and Bryan County history. The name comes from Durant's location between
the Red, Blue, and Washita Rivers. Open M-F 1-5pm, it's located at 401 W. Main Street. Call 580-920-1907 for more information.
Lake Texoma is close by on Hwy 70!
Southeastern Oklahoma State University sits on a beautiful magnolia- ed (is that a word?) campus. Alumni include Reba McIntire,
Dennis Rodman, and Brett Butler, among others.
Fort Washita is 14 short miles away.
Fair Child's Gallery is full of First Nation artworks and artifacts. It can be viewed after making arrangements by calling
|Downtown Durant is full of older buildings that are proudly kept. The Plaza theater is next to a functional barber shop, which is next to a
realtor's office that has kept the old pharmacy signs - even the Coca Cola advertisements on the windows.
|Durant: My Oklahoma Home Town
|Truss bridge on the Lee Highway, aka US 70, over the Blue River.
|Cotton became Durant's staple crop. (Oklahoma Historical Society).
|The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad secured Durant's future as a major city inside Indian Territory.
|In 1900, famed historian Grant Foreman worked for the Dawes Commission, documenting economic activity in Indian Territory. This photograph
shows the interior yard of one of Durant's cotton gins. (Oklahoma Historical Society).
|Defunct cotton seed and peanut oil mill southeast of downtown Durant.
|Downtown Durant, with a street car line and unpaved Main Street, around 1895. Oklahoma Historical Society.
|Train shed next to the tracks a block south off Main Street. Like Denison, Texas, Durant also had a number of railroads converging into town.
This may have been part of the Union Depot complex.
|The Union Depot in downtown Durant (Oklahoma Historical Society).
|This may be the Missouri Oklahoma and Gulf Railway station in Durant. The building front looks the same, at any rate.
|A mystery building in Durant that has now been torn down. I believe this was a ticket agent office, but am unsure from which railroad line.
|Durant sits along US 75 and US 69 about 20 minutes north of the Red River - and is home to the
Choctaw World Resort Casino (I remember when it was a mere bingo hall). It's a pretty place with lots
of history, but much of its traffic has been diverted to the west instead of downtown. When will city
planners learn NOT to build highways AROUND their cities???