Million Dollar Elm Breaks Ground
BARTLESVILLE LOCATION: Osage Tribal members took part in groundbreaking ceremonies recently on the new $11 million gaming enterprise in Bartlesville. Participating in the event were, left to right: David Hunter, Chief Gaming Operations Office; Rhonda Wallace, Osage Gaming Board member; Paul Stabler, Osage Tribal Councilmen; Harry Roy RedEagle, Chairman of the Osage Gaming Board and Osage Tribal Councilmen; Jodi Satepauhoodle, Osage Tribal Councilwomen and George Pease, Osage Gaming Board member.
MATTHEW W. GROSS for GTR Newspapers
The Osage Nation broke ground on the Million Dollar Elm Casino on Oct. 20, in Bartlesville. The $11 million dollar project is scheduled to open in Spring 2006. Approximately 35 local contractors will be employed in the project and more than 100 individual construction jobs will be created.
The casino’s main attraction will be 600 electronic gaming devices. The facility will also feature several gaming tables, a restaurant, bar, deli and convenient parking for 700 vehicles. It will be located at 222 Allen Road (4 miles SW of the intersection of Highway 123 and Highway 60).
According to Principal Chief of the Osage Nation, Jim Gray, “Our future doesn’t rise and fall on gaming, but our gaming enterprise is a catalyst to expanded business development opportunities as well as a revenue source for funding vital programs such as education and preserving our culture and language, thus enriching the lives of the Osage people.”
Bartlesville leaders welcome the casino for the jobs it will bring to the area, as well as the additional entertainment visitors and economic boost such a facility creates. The casino will employ more than 200 workers in the gaming and restaurant venues.
Harry Roy Red Eagle, chairman of the Osage Gaming Board, explains, “We chose to locate our fifth casino here in the Osage cattle and oil country. Overlooking the majestic Hughes Ranch, our new casino has an upscale lodge theme that harkens back to the history of these hills and valleys, Bartlesville’s entrepreneurial spirit and the long-held partnerships between the Osage Nation and this community.”
The Million Dollar Elm Casino is being designed and constructed by TDC Oklahoma, LLC. Ambler Architects of Bartlesville has been retained to provide architectural, civil, interior and landscape design. The facility will feature a view of the downtown Bartlesville skyline and the Hughes Ranch wild horse range.”
The casino’s name, “Million Dollar Elm,” refers to a real chapter in the Tribe’s history. During the oil boom in the early 1900s, oil lease auctions were held under a prominent elm tree near the Osage tribal building in Pawhuska. On November 11, 1912, 18 oil leases were sold for more than $1 million, and from that day forward the tree was called the Million Dollar Elm.