Scenic USA - Oklahoma

Heavener Runestone Park

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Heavener Runestone Park - Oklahoma

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Mostly found in Scandinavia, runestones were commonly placed by gravesites, decorated with runic images and inscriptions. Replica of the Heavener Runestone - Heavener Runestone Park, OK Some of the oldest stones date back to the 4th century and reached their height of popularity after Denmark's King Harald Bluetooth marked his baptism with a runestone in 960. Imitating Bluetooth's monument, a runestone wave spread throughout the Scandinavian countries, lasting into the twelfth century.
     One of a group of 1200 year old runestones, which 1870s settlers have claimed to have existed in the area, Heavener Runestone is a large upright sandstone slab reaching 12 feet high by 10 feet wide. Surrounded by an enclosure to protect it from further vandalism, its runic letters spell out the word GLOMEDAL (inset photo). With proper translation of the letters, the inscription becomes Glomes Valley. Many have offered their theories and explanations of how Vikings could have arrived in this rugged section of Oklahoma over a 1000 years ago, however, most Scandinavian scholars have rejected the authenticity of the stone. A great conversation piece, the runestone continues to make a most interesting centerpiece for this 55 acre park.
     Citing financial difficulties, the state recently passed the ownership of the park to the city of Heavener. Located on a bluff line overlooking the city, the park offers picnic sites and shelters, an amphitheater and interpretive center that's a vitural who's who on runestones. Located in the Ouachita Mountains, this was once a land of dinosaurs, camels, saber-toothed cats and miniature horses. Today, the forests are filled with small furry friends, plus seven species of oak, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - OK State Bird mockernut hickory, dogwood and elm, all beautifying this rocky ridge. The park is also a year-round home for a variety of birds, including the dark-eyed junco, tufted titmouse and the distinctive scissor-tailed flycatcher, Oklahoma's state bird.
     The city of Heavener hopes to expand the park, offering additional campgrounds and RV slots. Friends of Heavener Runestone continue with small projects that contribute to the overall quality of the park. With such an intriguing lure and caring group of friends, the park should enjoy much success.

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