Heavener /ˈheɪvnər/ is a city in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of theFort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was named for Joseph H. Heavener, who settled in the area about 1877.The population was 3,414 at the 2010 census, an increase of 6.7 percent from 3,201 at the 2000 census. Heavener is notable for the Heavener Runestone just outside the city limits.
Location of Heavener, Oklahoma
Joseph H. Heavener and some other white settlers arrived, secured permits to farm from the Choctaw Indians and settled down to farm. In 1880, Zachary Taylor Ward and his Choctaw Indian wife, Tabitha Hickman Ward, moved their store at Skullyville to the present site of Heavener. Ward died in 1883, and his widow, Tabitha, married Heavener. The couple owned the land on which the town was established. Prior to being named Heavener by a popular vote in 1895, the area was known by several different names, including Prairie of the Tall Grass, Choctaw City, Prairie View, Long Prairie, and Grand Prairie.
Suitable agricultural land around Heavener attracted many farmers as settlers. Other improvements soon followed. A cotton gin and a grist mill were built in town in 1885. In 1896 the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad built tracks through the town. A post office was established in a boxcar on May 12, 1896 while another boxcar became the train station. In 1900-1901 the Arkansas Western Railroadconstructed tracks from Heavener east to Arkansas.
The Curtis Act allowed Heavener to incorporate in Indian Territory in 1898, with Henry Moore elected as the first mayor. The town population was 254 in 1900. After the Kansas City Southern Railway purchased the rail line in 1900, the company established a roundhouse in 1910, making Heavener a division point. By 1910, the population was 780, and continued increasing to 1,850 in 1920.
Mining and timber became to the local economy in the 1930s. The 1930 census showed population of Heaver was 2,269. The Burnett Lumber Company opened a sawmill in 1935. Then the population began declining to 2,103 in 1950. A recovery began when the Heavener Charcoal Company began producing charcoal from its kilns in Heavener, shipping it to a plant in Arkansas. The 1970 census showed 2,566 residents in the town. However, the Burnett sawmill burned down in 1981.
Poultry farming became an important activity in the late 20th century. OK Foods established a hatchery in 1986. In 1992, the company built a poultry processing plant, and in 1995, it built a poultry feed mill.
Heavener is best known for the Heavener Runestone just outside the city limits. The cryptic stone appears to have letters from the runic alphabet, which were possibly etched by pre-Columbian Norsemen. There is such an attraction that a state park has been erected around the mysterious rock. Due to this purported connection the nearby school Carl Albert State College in the city of Poteau changed its mascot in the early 1990s from the "Trojan" to the "Viking."
The schools are all located in the city's center and are the sole educational facilities. Heavener High School's mascot is the Wolves. School colors are purple and gold. Main activities at the school include band, football, cheerleading, basketball, baseball, softball, power lifting, track, golf, soccer, drama, academic team, and jazz band.