Keystone Lake’s history: A story of nature and a former town

Keystone Lake is a body of freshwater that leads from Mannford to Sand Springs and is 15 miles west of downtown Tulsa. There was once an entire “Old West Town” that was founded in 1900 that has since been flooded over with Keystone Lake’s waters. The Keystone Dam began construction in 1956 and ended construction in 1964, after being authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1950. This location was once known as the community of Keystone, Okla., which was situated alongside the Arkansas River. Since being dammed up, it is now known as Keystone Lake. 

Keystone Lake’s glistening freshwaters entice all who visit it, reaching a maximum depth of 73 feet. (Photo by Chase Goza)

The lake offers visitors a way to get outside and appreciate nature. Fishing can also be found at Keystone Lake, as the freshwater carries catfish, walleyes, stripers, and bass. As one progresses into the waters of Lake Keystone, wildlife such as herrings and seagulls can be found soaring over the lake’s surface in search of fresh minnows and shad to eat. 

Great blue herons (pictured) and pelicans are a couple of the birds that make up Keystone Lake’s diverse ecosystem. (Photo by Chase Goza)

Keystone Lake is also home to the Keystone Ancient Forest, a forest that holds walking and biking trails. The forest is owned by Sand Springs and protected by the Nature Conservancy. Keystone’s name comes from being in a key position at the junction of both the Cimarron and Arkansas river, as it is an area surrounded by water, which made trade more readily available. 

One of the docks to enter Keystone Lake provides visitors with a spot to fish and neighboring it is a boat ramp. (Photo by Chase Goza)
The Westport Marina – The Otherside is a restaurant on the lake that is located next to Keystone Ramp, which is a camping site and one of several places that allows boats to enter Keystone Lake’s waters. (Photo by Chase Goza)
The Westport Marina boat dock is where visitors to the lake can park their boats. (Photo by Chase Goza)
Keystone Lake is the second largest lake in Oklahoma. (photo by Chase Goza)
A thermometer giveaway from a former general store, E. F. Zellner General Merchandise, a store belonging to the Keystone community that is now at the bottom of Keystone Lake due to the lake being dammed up in 1964. (Photo by Chase Goza)
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