Considered worthless, this sandy stretch of riverbank was left out of the allotments for individual members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. So the tribe itself has been stuck with ownership of it since the late 1830s.
In the 20th century, Riverside Drive cut through the area south of 81st Street and trapped the property against the Arkansas River, leaving an overgrown and mostly inaccessible shoreline, known to the tribe as the old Mackey Sandbar.
Inside the city limits of the state’s two largest cities, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, this is the one and only tribal site where casino gambling is legal.
And that’s why this “worthless” little sandbar has become the tribe’s biggest asset.
On this day in 2014, Creek Nation began work on its $329 million Margaritaville casino and hotel.
Take a look back at early construction here: