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Best 3 Historic Destinations in Shawnee, OK

Everybody who comes to Shawnee has a reason for visiting, whether for family, business, or leisure. Those visitors who take a moment to stop and look around, however, will find themselves in contact with the living history that breathes life into our city—and reminds us of the connections we all share. Here are just a few of the stops in town where you can make such a connection.

The Shawnee Veterans Memorial at Woodland Park (just south of Highland on Broadway St.) is a place of solitude, reflection, and respect for Oklahomans who may have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

A glossy black monument etched with names of fallen soldiers sits adjacent a small park from a retired helicopter.
Shawnee Veterans Memorial at Woodland Park

The memorial is patterned after a five-point star, each point representing a branch of the United States military. The final addition to the park was a set of ten black granite panels, inscribed with the names of every known Oklahoman killed in action since the Spanish-American war. The memorial also features other military artifacts, such as a HU1 helicopter and an artillery gun.

The Pottawatomie County Museum, meanwhile, holds on to the memories of the people who have lived in Shawnee and its surrounding region for more than a century. The museum's exhibits -- originally housed in the Santa Fe Depo, which was built in 1904 and served as a train station until the 70s -- are located in the adjacent Milburn Center, which opened in 2021.

An old stone tower and spanish-style terra cotta roof on the historic train station stand out against a blue sky.
The Santa Fe Depot in historic Downtown Shawnee (photo by Brooke Oliver)

Today, the Pottawatomie Historical Society's complex spans the medieval-looking structure of Shawnee's beloved depot, Beard Cabin, and the Milburn Center. Exhibits include a stuffed Alaskan bear, a player piano, antique phones, railroad memorabilia, several model train sets and a scale model of downtown Shawnee. The Historical Society at the museum is also passionate about the county’s past and is the chief expertise on local stories of yesteryear.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center south of Main Street exists to educate not only tribal members and the local Native American community, but all residents and visitors about the historical and contemporary aspects of the Tribe.

A water-centric display of indigenous cultural artifacts
An exhibit in the Cultural Heritage Center

Recently renovated galleries of exhibits feature tribal history ranging from pre-contact history to present day. The Cultural Heritage Center is also home to an Archive and Research Division, which continues to protect and foster further research into the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of the Tribe.

Of course, you won’t learn everything there is to know about Shawnee in a day, but these fantastic stops will be a good start to your journey of getting immersed. When you’re done checking them out, you can swing by our Welcome Center at 2820 N Kickapoo Avenue for materials and tailored suggestions!


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