Places and Place Names
Many of the place names of old Platt National Park had achieved their names before the establishment of the federal reservation.
Several of them had names changed after the establishment of the park and others had several local names. Some even had the same name for different locations.
In some cases, the location of an attraction was completely changed.
Administration Building (Leeper House): Erected in 1894 by Graves Leeper who came to Sulphur from Oklahoma City for his health. In 1911, Supt. French remarks in a report to the Secretary "I beg to advise that the building at present occupied as an office for the Park was originally cheaply constructed of rock and a lime and sand cement, the intention of the two old Germans who built it being that it was to serve merely as a summer camping house." The CCC remodeled and enlarged the house in the 1930's.
Bromide Camp: This area had permitted camping in the very early days of the Reservation. It was originally known as Webster Park and was the area around the old museum and ranger station.
Bromide Road: The road running between Black Sulphur Springs and the Bromide Pavilion along Rock Creek.
Buckhorn Road: Known early on as Highway 18, the road cut southeast from the Pavilion Springs through South Side and followed the path of the road known today as Buckstitch Road.
Buffalo Suck: Pre-1890 name for the area around the seven springs of the Pavilion group. Later called the Seven Sisters springs.
Cat's Eye: A spot on Rock Creek near the north end of Rock Creek Campground.
Central Campground: Originally know as East Central Park, it was the first group camping ground in the national park system used by many groups including the Baptist Assembly before Falls Creek Campground was built in 1917.
Chigger Hill: The hill at the far south end of Rock Creek Campground.
Cliffside Trail: The trail that ran from the Bromide Springs along Bromide Cliff to the Black Sulphur Springs located at the south end of what would be the buffalo pasture. It was abandoned early on because of Rock Creek's frequent flooding.
Seven Sisters: The collective name for the seven springs that supplied the water for the Pavilion Springs.
Beauty Springs: This one is a name used for two different places. In official records there is mention of the name used for Hillside Springs and in other places the name is used to refer to "Little Tom" spring, one of the seven Pavilion Springs. There was never any spring in Platt National Park officially known as "Beauty Spring".
Merry Widow Spring: This name was never an official name for any spring in Platt National Park, but was known locally for the third largest spring of the Pavilion group. This third spring was officially known as "Townsley Spring" and was housed in a smaller and separate pavilion north of the current Pavilion Spring building. The CCC piped several of the springs together in the 1930's when the current Pavilion Springs building was constructed and water issued from a single point.
Wild Cat Bend: The area at Travertine Island where Travertine Creek flows north around the island and meets Limestone Creek. Known by this name locally before 1902.
Nigger Run: Creeks and small streams were referred to as "runs" back East. On the very early maps of Sulphur Springs (1902 & 1904). The creek that runs east of the Deaf School was called Nigger Run because there were a group of black families that lived in that area. In 1910, the new deaf school buildings were getting started. The Superintendent was afraid that the sewage from the school would drain into Nigger Run and then into Travertine Creek (at Travertine Island) above the intake of the City's water supply. This is exactly what eventually happened. In November of 1910, the Superintendent writes a letter to the Secretary informing him that there is indeed a contamination problem with Nigger Run. The Superintendent, however, refers to it now as "Negro Run", hardly an improvement. In 1937, the name is officially changed to Limestone Creek.
Cold Springs Camp: When the drought of 1911-13 occurred, Buffalo and Antelope Springs dried up. There were several cold springs that bubbled to the surface in the bed of Travertine Creek forming small pools of cool water. These springs had been missed in previous spring counts since they were under water. The campground was named for these unnamed springs discovered at that time.
Flower Park: Originally known as East Central Park. This was the most popular area of the park for a leisurely stroll because of its proximity to the East Side business district. The name was attached when ladies from the town of Sulphur kept many flowerbeds in the area and around Lincoln Bridge.
Webster Park: This was the flat area along the north bank of Rock Creek east of the Bromide Pavilion.
Suspension Footbridge: This was a wire bridge built by Superintendent Greene in 1908 to provide access to the Bromide Pavilion, which was, then on the south bank of Rock Creek. A catastrophic flood destroyed it in 1916 along with the caretaker's house and the Bromide Pavilion building itself.
Iron Bridge: This bridge replaced the destroyed Suspension Bridge. It was taken down in 1941. Some believe the removal was for the scrap iron drive for the WWII war effort. In reality, it was decided that the bridge would be removed five years before the war, as the iron structure did not fit into the Park Service theme of rustic boulder and beam architecture. Another reason for its demise was that the CCC built a new Bromide Pavilion on the north side of Rock Creek negating the need for visits to cross the creek to obtain their water.
Veteran's Lake: This WPA project lake was built in 1933-36 as a memorial to WWI veterans. The purpose was for recreation and as a supply of water for the town of Sulphur. The lake is built on Wilson Creek a tributary of Rock Creek.
Rock Creek Campground: This was the third acquisition of land by Platt National Park. The area of Webster Park was becoming vastly overcrowded by the late 1930's. In earlier days, as many as 600 campers occupied the area around the Bromide Pavilion on holidays. In 1941, the Park Service condemned 67 acres on the west end of the park, along the south bank of Rock Creek, and created the campground. The government paid about $2,500 for the land.
Brookside Trail: This was the footpath built in 1908 as an access from the Pavilion Springs to the Antelope/Buffalo Springs area.
Black Sulphur Springs: The first area known by this name was at the far southern end of what is today's buffalo pasture. The name for that spring was changed and the area of the three Beach Springs had its name changed to Black Sulphur Springs. This was the site of the Sulphur Bottling Works in 1902. The current pavilion building was built in 1929.
Little Niagara: A falls currently near the Nature Center on Travertine Creek. This is not the original Little Niagara Falls. That falls was located several hundred yards down stream from the current falls which was built by the CCC in the 1930's.
Wilson Spring: As one exits the Park's south boundry on U. S. 177, the road crosses a small ravine that is hardly noticeable. This is the north branch of Wilson Creek and is the location of Wilson Spring. Named after Virgil R. Wilson, it is one of the reasons for the second land acquisition for the Reservation in 1904. Now dry, it was once a primary point of interest in the Park.
Ten-Acre Lot: The area around Wilson Spring at the south-east boundary of the Park.
Squatter's Camp: During the Depression, homeless people lived in cardboard shacks in the area now known as Rock Creek Campground. There were as many as 40 to 60 people who lived there.
Roberts Trail: There were three trails that led through Flower Park in the very early days. Two of these are the ones that still exist. The third trail ran from West 2nd Street to the Pavilion Springs. When the CCC built the new comfort station and improved Flower Park in the 1930's the trail was obliterated. It was named for Ms. Una Roberts who was the first secretary in the Park.
© by Dennis Muncrief - 2006