The Legend of Buried Conquistador Treasure Somewhere South of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Those who grew up in Oklahoma have likely heard about the rumored treasures to be found around the state.
In Lawton, the most common treasure tale might be the Wichita Mountains Gold Rush. A period in our history when gullible men set off to harvest gold out of the creeks throughout our mountains.
Who can forget the (likely) tall tales of Jesse James and the James Gang million-dollar bounty hidden away in a still-secret hiding spot somewhere between Geronimo and East Cache Creek?
There's even a crazy story about three outlaws that robbed a bank in Wichita (unspecified whether it was Wichita Falls, Texas or Wichita, Kansas) that ended up hiding $40,000 in stolen gold coins around Mount Scott before fighting with the native locals and turning on each other. The sole survivor was rumored to have ended up in jail in Marlow, taking the actual location of this treasure to the grave... but as is true in most tall tales, the value isn't the loot, it's the story that is the real treasure.
This is a new one that I stumbled onto over this past weekend.
As you know, there are zero natural lakes in the state of Oklahoma. This state is historically one of rivers, so in order to build lakes, we dammed up rivers to create reservoirs and recreational lakes. In that process, many family farms, houses, and even entire towns were consumed by flooding lake waters. It's only natural that Oklahoma's biggest lake is the home to the tallest treasure tale in the state.
As the story goes, back in the mid-1500's, Spanish Conquistador Francisco Vazquez de Coronado himself made his way through Oklahoma in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola - AKA the seven cities of gold - but his expedition was weighed down by a hefty cargo of gold and silver.
In order to make traveling easier, the conquistadors opted to cache their treasure at the base of a huge smooth boulder in modern-day Eastern Oklahoma with the plan to pick it up again on their way back to the coast. That huge smooth boulder would later be directly in the path of Oklahoma's biggest dammed body of water, Lake Eufala.
I know there are skeptics out there that might already be rolling their eyes, I'm one of those, but the plot thickens.
Historical evidence confirms that the Coronado Cibola expedition did in fact travel through what is now Oklahoma... but the location of where they traveled on the map puts them out in the panhandle country, not Eastern Oklahoma. Still, the legend continues to be a thing.
The story picked up some more steam just before the Lake Eufala dam was completed in 1964. A local man claimed to have found a solid silver ingot near a town destroyed by the new reservoir. The town was Standing Rock, named for the huge upright smooth boulder that stood some sixty feet tall. There are even pictures of the man holding his found treasure, google it yourself... but scholars never agreed with him on the validity of his story.
Divers today still take trips to the bottom of Lake Eufala, where the big standing rock still remains underwater when the lake levels are up. There are several documented carvings in that rock that could signify that it is actually a true story, but until the loot is found, it's all just tall tales of what riches the gullible could eventually find.