Visit Shawnee is the City of Shawnee, OK's Department of Tourism. We love to welcome new & familiar visitors to our town year-round! In Summer 2021, we opened our new Welcome Center facility just north of OBU.
Whether you're deciding to visit from near or far (or even if you call Shawnee home), our website and Welcome Center have a wealth of information to make sure you find your next adventure in Shawnee, OK!
Shawnee is located at the geographical center of Interstate 40, just 30 minutes east of OKC. A unique multicultural gem, in Shawnee the old-west rural and modern urban mingle happily!
Home to four Native American tribes with a rich pre-statehood history, our city of just over 30,000 boasts of world-class museums, a bustling historic downtown district, recreational lakes, and more.
In the News
Captain Robert "Bob" Lloyd Ford
American Hero, Author, Philanthropist & Businessman
Did you know Captain Robert “Bob” Lloyd Ford flew over 1000 combat missions as a UH-1 Huey helicopter pilot from July 1967-July 1968 in the Vietnam War? For his service, he received the Bronze Star Medal and Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters, one with “V” device for Valor. Captain Ford was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2018 and was awarded the Maj. Gen. Dollar Distinguished Public Service Award for his dedication to community and fellow veterans in the decades since returning from Vietnam. He and his brother Bill were instrumental in the creation of the Shawnee Veterans Memorial.
“We all served with honor and dedication. We had no expectations but to serve our country where duty called us. We asked for no reward except a nation’s thanks.” - Bob Ford
Robert S. Kerr
Environmentalist & Statesman
Robert S. Kerr (1896 - 1963) was Oklahoma’s first native-born governor, a wealthy oilman, and eventually a powerful U.S. senator, elected three times. Senator Kerr believed strongly in the promise of Oklahoma, and that it was possible to heal her land and conserve her natural resources.
As Governor, Kerr along with US Rep Carl Albert, was instrumental in construction of reservoirs to store and tame Oklahoma's water ways. If you see surface water in Oklahoma, it is the result of the plans initiated by Kerr and his vision of water and natural resource management in Oklahoma. After he died suddenly in 1963, his wife and children established a private non-profit foundation in his name.
“It is in our power, under the watchful eyes of God, to determine the physical form of the world in which we live. We can make it a paradise… or by neglect, permit it to become a desert. The choice is ours.” - Robert S. Kerr
Most Influential Woman in Tech
Prerna Gupta has been named one of the Most Influential Woman in Tech by Fast Company, and her writing has been featured in New York Times, Vogue, Forbes and TechCrunch, among others. She is also an angel investor and Resident Mentor at 500 Startups. Prerna is Founder & CEO of Hooked, a company that is redefining fiction for the Snapchat generation. Hooked, whose mission is to make reading as engaging for teens as texting their friends, has reached over 25 million readers worldwide.
Prerna Gupta grew up in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She graduated from Stanford University in 2004 with a degree in economics. She lives in Los Altos Hills, California.
"My first paying job was in high school. I was a hostess at a local restaurant at the mall, called Garfield’s. I made minimum wage, which in Oklahoma at that time was around $5 an hour." - Prerna Gupta
Suffragette & Women's Rights Advocate
Aloysius Larch-Miller (1886-1920) moved with her family to the Shawnee area between 1900 and 1905. She was involved with the Red Cross during WWI. She called the first mass meeting of suffragettes in Oklahoma. In 1918, Oklahoma passed a suffrage bill allowing women to vote, but not hold office. In 1920, Larch-Miller was invited to attend a debate over the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Though battling life-threatening influenza, she defeated her rivals' arguments and secured agreement to adopt the amendment. Ms. Aloysius may well have died for her beliefs, dying of illness on Feb 2, 1920.
Oklahoma ratified the 19th Amendment on February 27, 1920.
In 1982, Larch-Miller was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame as one of their first class of inductees.
Shawnee's Larch-Miller Park is on the east side of the north 900 Block of Broadway, across from Redbud Park.
Dr. Brewster Higley, VI
Writer of One of the Greatest Songs of All Time
"Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam.." Do you know the next line? People all over the world do. It is considered the "Anthem of the West" and Top 100 Western Songs ever written. Dr. Brewster Higley VI (1823 - 1911) was an otoloaryngologist (...let's say dentist) who composed the poem in 1871 or 72 in his dugout in Kansas. The story goes, a friend, Trube Reese, brought in a gunshot victim to the nearest "doctor," Dr. Higley. Trube found the poem hidden in a book and convinced Higley to publish in the local paper. Another friend, Dan Kelley, wrote the music.
Originally published in 1872 or 73, the tune was hummed by settlers throughout the west and along the cattle trails. In 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared "Home on the Range" as his favorite song, which launched "Home on the Range" into the world-recognized song we know today. Higley lived most of his life in Kansas. He died and is buried in Shawnee, OK, USA off Harrison Street with historic signage. The words, "home on the range" never appear in Higley's original lyrics.
Greatest All Around Athlete of 20th Century
James Francis (Jim) Thorpe (1887 or (88) - 1953) is considered by many to be the greatest all around athlete that ever lived. Though no birth certificate exists, Jim referred to the Shawnee/Prague area, Indian Territory, as his birthplace. He was raised Sac and Fox and called Wa-Tho-Huk (Bright Path).
Thorpe became the first Native American to win gold medals at the 1912 Olympics in pentathlon and decathlon. Beyond his track and field prowess, Thorpe played three seasons with the New York Giants, two of which the Giants were National League Baseball Champions. Thorpe was a collegiate "All American" and played professional football for six teams, being named the first president of the American Professional Football Association (which would become the NFL) and a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Oklahoma's 26th Governor
In charting our course to the future, we are mindful of our path from the past. - Brad Henry
Charles Bradford "Brad" Henry (1963 - ) was born and raised in Shawnee to become Oklahoma's 26th Governor in 2002.
Governor Henry was only the third governor at the time to be elected to two consecutive terms.
He was re-elected in 2006 by a total higher than any gubernatorial candidate in 50 years, losing only three counties out of 77.
Henry ran as the "education governor." During his time at the top office, he oversaw implementing the state lottery for education, he strengthened laws against child sexual exploitation, and appointed Tom Colbert as the first African-American to serve on Oklahoma's Supreme Court.
Father Gregory Gerrer
Artist, Academic, and Collector of Treasures
In 1872, the Gerrer family immigrated to the US to flee invading German troops. They settled in Missouri for a short time before staying in Iowa.
1891 was an eventful year, with a young Gerrer joining the traveling circus as a musician before setting his sights on that Oklahoma land that was rumored to be given away in a most peculiar way via "Land Run!"
This adventure didn't quite go as planned, while in Guthrie awaiting the run, he realized his calling to become a priest after an encounter with the Abbot of Sacred Heart Abbey (which became Saint Gregory's.) After an international call for artists, Pope Pius X chose Fr. Gerrer to paint his official portrait in 1903.
He traveled the world several times over, met people, created art, and collected art. He traded art and artifacts. Before his death in 1946, 218 paintings and 6,347 artifacts were cataloged in his collection. The current collection is housed at Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Astronaut & Adventurer
Leroy Gordon "Gordo" Cooper Jr. (1927 – 2004) was an American aerospace engineer, test pilot, United States Air Force pilot, and the youngest of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first human space program of the United States.
In 1963 Cooper piloted the longest and last Mercury spaceflight, Mercury-Atlas 9. During that 34-hour mission he became the first American to spend an entire day in space, the first to sleep in space, and the last American launched on an entirely solo orbital mission.
Cooper became the first astronaut to make a second orbital flight when he flew as Command Pilot of Gemini 5 in 1965. Along with Pilot Pete Conrad, he set a new space endurance record by traveling 3,312,993 miles (5,331,745 km) in 190 hours and 56 minutes—just short of eight days—showing that astronauts could survive in space for the length of time necessary to go from the Earth to the Moon and back.
Oscar Winning Actor
William Bradley Pitt was born December 18, 1963 right in good old Shawnee, Oklahoma. His grandmother's family came to the area during one of Oklahoma's infamous land runs.
Brad's father owned a trucking company and his mother was a school counselor. Shortly after he was born, the Pitt family moved to Springfield, MO.
Brad (we call him "Brad" around here*) still has family in the area and is rumored to have introduced several of his famous girlfriends and wives to Shawnee's local favorite cafes and hang-outs.
You may not be as cool, rich or good looking as Brad Pitt, but you are welcome to Visit Shawnee; where you can be who you want to be!
Experienced Director of Tourism with a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel & tourism industry. Skilled in Crisis Communications, Rural Development, Policy Analysis, Marketing Strategy, and Social Media.
When she's not busy telling the world about her favorite Shawnee, Stacy can be found doing these things, which she likes.
Director of Tourism
A self-described "creative analyst", Erica brings a love of technology, data, and design to her work as the travel industry communications manager for the City of Shawnee.
Erica's favorite Shawnee, OK haunt is The Gathering Place Coffee Co, where she loves to enjoy a doppio with her husband & daughter.