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History of Elk City Lake

The Elk City Lake area was once a part of the Osage Indian Diminished Reserve. Two Osage bands settled in the general lake area after they agreed to the Canville Treaty of 1867. One band was led by Napawalla and was reportedly located on the north side of the river near present day Chetopa. The second band, led by Chief Chetopa, reportedly established a village somewhere on the south side of the Elk River near the west end of Table Mound. In 1870, a treaty was signed on Drum Creek which moved the Osage Indians to present day Oklahoma. By this time, American immigrants, mainly Union Army veterans from the Civil War, had settled on most of the Osage lands. Thus ended the Indians' long occupation of the Elk River Valley. These early day settlers struggled with floods, drought, and outlaw gangs - such as the infamous Bender and Dalton gangs. But there were happier times as well. At Neodesha, a replica of the Old Norman No. 1, first commercial oil well west of the Mississippi, may be seen. Also, at the ballpark in Independence, the nation's first game of organized baseball under lights was played. A trip back in time may be sensed at The Little House on the Prairie, southwest of Independence, where famous author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, lived as a child.