Park Hill Branch - 1 | Park Hill Branch - 2

Park Hill Branch - Part 1

“Serious problems cannot be dealt with at the level of thinking that created them.”  Albert Einstein

Phone: 405-620-2004


The Park Hill Branch project was implemented on a reach of Park Hill Branch located at the George M. Murrell House site.  The site, owned by the Oklahoma Historical Society, was acquired in an effort to preserve the historic structures and mansion built in 1845 by George Murrell, who married niece of Cherokee Chief John Ross.

The site is located three miles southeast of Tahlequah on State Hwy. 62, in Cherokee County, Oklahoma.

“A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.”

                                                                                            Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

Park Hill Branch - 1

Park Hill Branch - 2

“The song of the river ends not at her banks but in the hearts of those who have loved her.”

                                 Buffalo Joe


1504 Ann Arbor Drive

Norman, Oklahoma 73069-5363

Contact Us:

Phone: 405-620-2004


George M. Murrell House - Park Hill, OK.

I found out about the site when I was contacted by Shirley Pettengill, the Site Manager at the George Murrell House.  She had two concerns, bank erosion and scouring around the footing of a pedestrian bridge and I told her that I thought I may be able to help her.

I conducted a geomorphic survey of the site in July, 1999.  It is pretty clear that the Park Hill Branch channel had been modified sometime in the distant past.  It currently flows against a bluff along one side of its valley and was likely moved there by the Murrell’s many years ago.  Unfortunately, I do not have many pictures of the site as I appear to have misplaced a roll of film.

Location of George M. Murrell House and the Park Hill Branch project.

Park Hill Branch looking upstream from near bridge (July, 1999)

Park Hill Branch looking downstream toward bridge (July, 1999)

Construction was initiated on September 11, 2000 and took only two days to complete.  We did some minor channel adjustment, constructed a floodplain and put in two rock vanes and a cross-vane.  Patton Construction form Tahlequah, Oklahoma was the contractor an they provided a Cat 936E loader and a Cat 320L excavator.  The excavator did not have a live thumb and was equipped only with a bracket (or dead thumb).   Over 600 feet of stream channel was stabilized for approximately $6,000.

Shaping the channel (Sept., 2000)

More channel shaping (Sept., 2000)

Still more channel shaping (Sept., 2000)

Digging for the first rock vane (Sept., 2000)

One of six semi-loads of boulders (Sept., 2000)

Building the first rock vane (Sept., 2000)

Building the first rock vane (Sept., 2000)

Building the cross-vane (Sept., 2000)

Building the second rock vane (Sept., 2000)

Building the second rock vane (Sept., 2000)

Final touch ups (Sept., 2000)

First rock vane (Sept., 2000)

Cross-vane looking downstream (Sept., 2000)

Cross-vane looking downstream (Sept., 2000)

Cross-vane looking upstream (Sept., 2000)

Second rock vane (Sept., 2000)

Looking upstream from bridge (Sept., 2000)

Constructed floodplain (Sept., 2000)

I’ve been back to the site numerous times since the project was completed.  The pictures below were taken on March 3, 2001 after several large floods.

Looking upstream from bridge (March, 2001)

First rock vane (March, 2001)

Looking downstream (March, 2001)

Cross-vane (March, 2001)

For the latest pictures, go to Park Hill Branch – 2.