Although the town of Dougherty is only miles from I-35, it feels a world away as it sits nestled in the heavily wooded Arbuckle Mountains. Winding down by the lazy Washita River, you will find this quiet community of 200 living the good life in the small town. The population now sits at about 200 residents, who can enjoy the nearby Chickasaw National Recreation Area and the Lake of the Arbuckles. Dougherty is also only minutes from the beautiful Chickasaw Conference and Retreat Center. Dougherty is also home to sultry jazz singer Kay Starr, known for her hits such as “Wheel of Fortune” and “The Rock and Roll Waltz.”
Where to Stay
Discover your ideal wooded retreat complete with a slide! Rock Creek Retreat offers a rustic but comfortable stay in one of three tree houses. The houses are open floor plan with covered porches, full-size kitchen and sleeps up to 6 people. The Penny Ante Tree House includes a slide from the porch to the ground.
The area now known as Dougherty was settled in Murray County in the mid-1800s, going by many names, including Henderson Flat and Strawberry Flat. It wasn’t until 1887 that the town was named in honor of banker William Dougherty. At that time, the multiple train lines including Santa Fe, The Gulf, and Topeka reached an agreement to launch the Dougherty Santa Fe Depot. Like many towns in the area, the railway helped drive the economy and settlement during the early years.
Dougherty has deep roots in agriculture, having always been a farming and ranching town. At the turn of the century, mining operations also employed over 500 locals.
In 1908, the Dougherty school opened, but in that decade the town saw the population fall to almost half. However, through the early 20th century, the population of the town was sustained and grew through mining and quarry industries. The remains of the Dolese Brothers Limestone Quarry can still be seen in the area.
When you find yourself winding through the rich greenery of the Arbuckle Mountains on your trip to the Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center, or after a lazy day at the Lake of the Arbuckles, take a moment to stop by Dougherty and get a taste of small town, Chickasaw Country goodness.