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Lowrey Building celebrating 100 years


POTEAU – The LeFlore County Historical Society has announced that The Lowrey Building in Poteau has withstood the test of time and reached a milestone. The building is now 100 years old.

The building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and the LCHS plans to celebrate not only looking back but moving forward.

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The Lowrey Building was built in Poteau in 1922 by W. W. Lowrey to house his growing company, The Oklahoma Immigration Company.  This company is responsible for the development of several Oklahoma towns, Poteau, Hugo, and Dewey.  The original headquarters for the Immigration Company was located across the street, at what is now known as the Purple Plume, but became inadequate for the expanding business.

Along with the Immigration Company, the Lowrey Building was home for jewelry stores, barber shops, professional offices for medical doctors, lawyers, beauty salons, and real estate companies.

Lowrey also used the building for his other companies American Indian Oil Company, Dual Parking Meter Company, Lowrey Brothers Realty.  The building was the center of commerce for Poteau. In addition, these companies contributed to local employment and population growth.

In 1930, Lowrey decided to renovate the building to be the Hotel Lowrey.  A professional team was brought in to design and modify the building into a hotel to include a grand lobby, a coffee shop and a formal dining room.  The upper floors were designed for 31 guest rooms with baths.  The baths are all tiled from the inventory of a company in Fort Smith, Arkansas and remain as fresh and detailed as when they were first installed. The Hotel Lowrey remained in operation until 1965 and then the building was used for different things including a residential hall for Carl Albert State College. The building was sold in the 1980’s and became office space. On the lower floor, Oklahoma State University established its OSU Extension.

The building is now the LeFlore County Museum at Hotel Lowrey.  It consists of 31 rooms of the county history completely maintained by the museum staff and volunteers.

During 1961, President John F. Kennedy came to Poteau to dedicate the area of the Ouachita National Forest and many members of his entourage stayed in the hotel.

You can find more information on Kennedy’s visit as the museum maintains an exhibit celebrating this historic visit.

The LCHS is planning a “Growing Exhibit” to commemorate not only the building, but Lowrey who had a vision. “Come check out our museum and learn the history of the building and the W.W. Lowrey,” said David Deaton, Director of the LeFlore County Museum.

Lowrey incorporated 9 companies in his career.  His main center of operation was at the Lowrey Building and later the Hotel Lowrey.  It’s through his vision and entrepreneurial talents that the city of Poteau became what it is today.


“We plan to have our first exhibit ready by March 17, 2022, with an Open House featuring old photos and storyboards” Deaton said. “The exhibit will grow each month, from there a full exhibit in October 2022 will premiere and be revealed at our ‘Taste of LeFlore County’ fund-raiser in October.”

The LeFlore County Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and is free. Although donations are accepted.

The LeFlore County Museum is located at 303 Dewey Avenue in downtown Poteau.

Contact the LCHS at 918-647-9330.

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