Deteriorated, vandalized and barricaded, the tower of Oklahoma Row sits just off the Beaver Lake shore line.
“There’s a big story here and these artifacts need to be preserved,” Monte Ne Historian James Hales said.
Only a few remnants of a once thriving resort town are visible, sparking curiosity and theories.
“Of course the underground rooms that’s on the other end of Oklahoma Row, they’re always fascinating to explore,” Hales said.
That alone holds a lot of mystery. Were they suites? Storage? Slave quarters?
Laughing, Hales said “It was built many, many years after the civil war but they are kind of mysterious a couple of them have fireplaces and doors and windows and they look like living quarters.”
And what about treasure?
“Some people said there’s treasure in there but most people don’t think there is but there are hidden vaults,” Hales said.
Oklahoma Row, Hotel Monte Ne, and Missouri Row were built to create a luxurious destination in 1900.
“To make money,” Hales said laughing. “He could convince wealthy and influential people to invest in his projects.”
William Harvey also known as ‘Coin’ created Monte Ne after buying 320 acres of valley five miles Southeast of Rogers.
“People bought houses, they built a school, they built a bank, etc., etc,” Monte Ne Historian Allyn Lord said.
Coin’s utopia slowly eroded when the great depression arrived and money from investors dried up.
“One factor was himself, his own personality, he was really abrasive and he didn’t have any patience with anybody who dissagreed with him,” Hales said
Bankrupt, Coin sold the properties and retreated into a cabin in the woods. To keep his legacy alive he built an ampitheater in 1928 that’s till visible today when Beaver Lake recedes.
“Multi-seats and benched, rock and concrete cement, portland cement structure,” Lord said.
The town frozen in time was flooded in 1966 with the creation of Beaver Lake.
“When the lake goes down and the pyramid starts coming out of the water on the weekends people are out here just everywhere walking around just looking but a lot of them don’t know what they’re lookoing at but they know something happened you know,” Hales said.
Local historians are working to protect and preserve the site, especially Oklahoma Row. Until that happens, the Army Corps of Engineers will keep the structure fenced for public safety. For now, you can only admire from afar.