Scoping Out The Future Home of Reba McEntire’s “Reba’s Place”

Reba McEntire definitely deserves an extra level of respect and admiration for deciding against opening up yet another tourist trap monstrosity on Lower Broadway in Nashville, just like every other big star has done over the last decade. In fact, Garth Brooks just announced he’ll be the latest to open one last week. Instead, the Country Music Hall of Famer is sinking her capital and name recognition into the small town of Atoka, Oklahoma, which is about 16 miles south of her true hometown of Chockie.

To be called Reba’s Place, it will include a restaurant, bar, music venue, and retail store. It will be the home of all things Reba, including many pieces of personal memorabilia from her career. Though Atoka is a town of only 3,000 people and may seem like a strange place to build such an establishment, the town is situated right at the confluence of Federal Highway 75 coming up from Dallas and down from Tulsa, and Federal Highway 69 coming down from Muskogee, which receives a good bit of traffic.

Traveling right through Atoka recently to see the Turnpike Troubadours reunite in Tulsa, I thought I’d stop by to see the property, get a feel for the area, and see just how much work Reba’s camp has ahead of them. After all, the first we ever heard about this, Reba and others had to be rescued from the building by the local fire department after the stairwell gave way, injuring one. Reba ended up crawling out of a 2nd story window, and down a ladder.

Atoka really is the classic Midwestern small town in America, with a hollowed out downtown trying to come back. Though Atoka is at a confluence of multiple thoroughfares, they all bisect the downtown corridor itself, with the McDonald’s and even a Chili’s set up on the side of the highway to take advantage of the traffic rolling through town.

But the old three-story brick Masonic Temple Reba McEntire has purchased is just a couple of blocks from Federal Highway 75, and will certainly attract folks back to downtown, where there are already multiple businesses trying to bring the area back.

The property is still nothing much at the moment, with plywood where windows once were (and sometimes even the plywood missing). But peering inside, you can see they’re hard at work shoring up the building, and behind it is a construction yard where materials and machinery are staged. Along the front windows in a somewhat Winter motif (Reba first announced her intentions in December, 2021) it says, “Welcome Home Reba,” with an artist rendering of what they expect the downtown will look like once Reba’s Place is completed.

Atoka is also in the heart of the Choctaw Nation. The town was founded by the tribe in the 1850s, and is named after one of the tribe’s elders. Reba is working closely with the Choctaw Nation on the project as well.

What Reba McEntire is doing here is the right type of gentrification and renewal. Nothing is getting bulldozed. In fact, an old historic building is being rescued. The other businesses in the area won’t be overshadowed by Reba’s Place, they will benefit from it. You can definitely see country fans and families, truckers and bikers, and just general curiosity seekers stopping in downtown Atoka to see Reba’s Place, having a drink or a bite, and watching some live music while dropping money in the area.

As you can see from the photos, there is a lot of work to do, but it will be really fun to watch as this old relic of a building transforms into a tourist destination and shrine to Reba McEntire. Lower Broadway in Nashville was also once a hollowed out neighborhood, but country music saved it. Hopefully, the same will happen for downtown Atoka, Oklahoma … just without Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line showing up to ruin it once more.

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