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Excitement springs forth for Sulphur hotel project

BY SONYA COLBERG Published: May 14, 2009

photo - Early Chickasaw plans.  Chickasaw Nation rendering
Early Chickasaw plans. Chickasaw Nation rendering
It was torn down again and moved to downtown Sulphur at the corner of First and Muskogee. The Chickasaw Nation bought the land for a smaller motel when the hotel burned in 1962.

The Artesian featured a luxurious lobby, a marble fireplace and an elevator. People came to look at the sulfur-water fountain in the dining room and to be served by waiters with starched towels on their arms. After dinner, visitors often walked to the fourth-floor ballroom for dancing. Outside, men propped their feet on the brass rail as they sat in rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the forest.

People visited Sulphur to drink and bathe in the sulfur-scented spring water that many considered medicinal.

Though the new hotel won’t be a spitting image of the original Artesian, it will include a mineral bath in the spa, Elliott said. The banquet and conference rooms will seat up to 250.

The reaction
Portman said most people in Sulphur like what they know about the Chickasaw Nation’s plan, though they anticipate a gaming center or casino will accompany the hotel.

"We’re very excited,” she said. "Everybody thinks this is good for Sulphur, and the new businesses that are coming in we think are developing because of the hotel.”

James John, editor of the Sulphur Times-Democrat, said the hotel will dovetail with the Chickasaw Cultural Center, a massive project expected to include a 2,400-square-foot screen and more than 96,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor spaces.

"We’re hopeful it will give Sulphur a shot in the arm,” John said.

Economic boost
Billy Frank Lance, a Murray County commissioner, said projects like the hotel and Chickasaw Cultural Center help boost the local economy. "With the Chickasaws’ construction projects, and you’ve got to remember we’re a county with just over 12,000 population, we’ve got nearly $100 million in construction going on right now. That’s a lot for a county our size,” Lance said.


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