Graduate Studies


Date of this Version

Spring 4-2015

Document Type



Brunette, Jeremy C.

2015 Sulphur Springs, Indian Territory: An Archaeological Perspective of Tourism and Community Building. Master's Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of: The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Anthropology, Under the Supervision of Professor Matthew Douglass. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Jeremy Christopher Brunette


Sulphur Springs, Indian Territory, (present-day Oklahoma) in what is now Chickasaw National Recreation Area, presents a unique example of community formation within a tourism context. Located around a series of mineral and fresh-water springs, Sulphur Springs was an attempt by ambitious entrepreneurs to create a health destination on land owned by the Chickasaw Nation. With the coming of the Dawes Act, the federal government was convinced to purchase the town’s improvements in 1902, and again in 1904.The land purchased was transformed into a National Park, thus causing the town to relocate outside of park boundaries.

In a cooperative effort, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Midwest Archeological Center, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area conducted archaeological investigations of the area. The creation of a GIS database using historic records and maps, government appraisal records, and Sanborn fire insurance maps, allowed a glimpse into the complex history of Sulphur Springs. This information was uploaded into a GPS, which was ground-truthed in the field. This data was utilized to examine tourism, community formation, and costly signaling within an emerging resort town.

Advisor: Matthew Douglass