Long before the famous Trail of Tears there were Cherokee already living in Indian Territory. The “Old Settlers” had started settling in Indian Territory in 1817. These Old Settlers set up their own capital, council and court system. The court system was made up of several district courts.
When the Eastern Cherokee arrived in Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears in 1838-1839, they worked with the Western Cherokee (Old Settlers) to establish a new constitution and organize a government and institutions which addressed the needs of both groups. The district court system remained, and was expanded to nine districts. Saline was one of these districts.
The seats of each district moved several times throughout the years until the 1880s when the Cherokee Nation constructed a set of nine uniform district courthouses. The Saline Courthouse was built in 1884 and is the only one of the nine courthouses still standing.
Throughout the years the building fell into disrepair. However, with the efforts of the Saline Preservation Association and the Cherokee Nation, this piece of Cherokee history will not be lost. It is being fully restored and the land it sits on has been designated as a National Park of the Cherokee Nation (the first of its kind). These photos were taken during during the restoration, as the project nears completion, I’ll be adding more.
Photos Copyright Christina Berry, All Things Cherokee
Saline Courthouse Travel Details
Visitors are welcome during daylight hours.
Directions: The Saline Courthouse is located just east of Locust Grove, Oklahoma along the Cherokee Turnpike (Highway 412). For specific directions, click the “Directions” link in the location bubble of the map above and enter your starting location on the left.
GPS & Map: 36.209654138250585,-95.01148223876953