Veterans colonize in wooded oasis

Friday, November 7th 2008, 11:03 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

WILBURTON, Okla. -- For 75 years, a colony has been tucked away in the eastern Oklahoma wilderness.

The Winding Stair Mountains, located outside Wilburton in southeastern Oklahoma, is home to more than 200 war veterans.

"I love it," colonist Michael Sherrill said. "It's quiet, it's peaceful."

Navy veteran Sherrill has been here 16 years, and inherited a log cabin built by one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

"I used it for a weekend getaway for a little while and then I got a divorce," Sherrill said. "It become home real quick."

The colony was formed 1933 by a group of Spanish War Veterans in the wake of the Great Depression. Veterans living and working together in one area was a way of survival.

Veterans are drawn here by the campground ground-like atmosphere. Hunting is even allowed in the neighborhood, as long as residents don't get too close to someone's home.

"We have all kinds of doings on holidays," veteran Marvin Gregory said. "We all get together and have nice meals down at the hall and down at the park."

Click here to learn more about the application process.

Interest in moving to the colony is growing as more people learn about the colony, usually by means of the Internet or word of mouth, but there's no website or any advertising.

The colony covers 600 acres, two-thirds are still undeveloped and ready to be occupied. There are even homes ready for new owners.

On rare occasions residents can be kicked out of the colony for complaints of constant nuisance to neighbors or if a resident was found to have falsified military records.