Museums & Historic Sites to Visit in Ponca City!

Hey there – Welcome to my blog! My name is Kaitlyn and I love history. I have a master’s degree in American history and love to write about history tips and museum visits! This post includes some of my favorite museums and historic sites to visit in Ponca City, Oklahoma. So, let’s get started!

*For more information about each individual museum, please click on the blog links at the end of each section. There is a lot more information and links to websites in those posts written about the specific location.

Matzene Art Collection at the Ponca City Library

The Matzene Art Collection at the Ponca City Library is one of those hidden gems in Northern Oklahoma. I stumbled across it when doing some research before visiting Ponca City. There are hundreds of pieces of art in this collection and it is free to view. Make sure to stop by the information desk inside the library and ask for a FREE guide to the collection – it’s amazing.

For more information, see my longer blog post: Matzene Art Collection

Ponca City – City Hall

The Ponca City – City Hall Building is beautiful. This wasn’t on my original list of places to stop, but as I was driving through town I had to know what the building was so I turned around. It’s very close to the Ponca City Library so that was nice! City Hall has an interesting history and I loved all of the statues that were outside. I didn’t go inside, but there is a guide online that talks about the history of the inside of the building which was cool.

For more information, see my longer blog post: Ponca City – City Hall

Marland’s Grand Home

E.W. Marland’s Grand Home is beautiful. There are multiple rooms and many floors to explore. Each level tells part of the Marland story. You can purchase a guide book at the front desk and I’d say it’s worth it!

For more information, see my longer blog post: Marland’s Grand Home

Marland Mansion

The Marland Mansion in Ponca City is magnificent. There are multiple levels and rooms to explore. You can see why it’s called the “Palace on the Prairie” – it’s beautiful! I love the architecture of this building and all of the ornate decorations.

They have guided tours through the mansion, but I chose to walk through on my own. I really want to go back for the guided tour because there are 2 buildings you can walk through with the tour that are not available to the public.

For more information, see my longer blog post: Marland Mansion

Pioneer Woman Museum

I loved the Pioneer Woman Museum and have visited more than once. I study women’s history so this museum is one of my favorites in Oklahoma! I learn something new every time I go 🙂

For more information, see my longer blog post: Pioneer Woman Museum

Poncan Theatre

How beautiful is the outside of the Poncan Theatre?! The architecture on the inside is equally as grand and detailed. I walked through the theatre while it was empty and was able to look at the collection of movie posters from the 30s and 40s. They still play movies and host theatre productions. I need to go back and watch a movie one of these days!

For more information, see my longer blog post: Poncan Theatre

CONOCO Museum

The CONOCO Museum was really cool! The staff was so kind and they took the time to talk with me about the history of the museum and Ponca City in general which was amazing. The museum has all kinds of oil history which I found fascinating. Make sure to watch the video at the beginning before walking through the museum! It’s extremely informative and well-done!

For more information, see my longer blog post: CONOCO Museum

Standing Bear Park & Museum

The Standing Bear Park and Museum is one of those places I felt honored to visit. The staff was very kind and they took time to chat with me about the museum which I always think is amazing. Please go visit this museum and learn about the history of Standing Bear and the local tribes.

The park is beautiful and has more information throughout the walking trails. The statues are beautiful as well. Make sure that you take good walking shoes!

For more information, see my longer blog post: (FORTHCOMING)

Cann Gardens and Estate

The Cann Gardens and Estate are beautiful! The home is simple, yet holds an air of sophistication. I loved the stained glass windows in the stairwell and the pictures on the walls. The gardens are beautiful and the perfect place to have a picnic or spend an afternoon relaxing. Make sure to pack some walking shoes for the trail that winds through the garden.

For more information, see my longer blog post: Cann Gardens and Estate

Concluding Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed looking through all of these super cool historic sites and museums in Ponca City! Make sure to use this post when you plan your next trip to Ponca City because you don’t want to miss out on these cool activities.

If you have any questions about the places I visited please feel free to send me a message on my contact page.

Happy Traveling, friend! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Guthrie National Bank Building: Guthrie, OK

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Guthrie National Bank building in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Currently, this building houses the Bancfirst location in Guthrie. Let’s get started!

*All photos were taken by myself in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Other image attributions are in the caption below the image and in the source section at the end of this post.

Guthrie National Bank History

The Guthrie National Bank was the first brick structure built in the area. It was completed in the summer of 1889 so that it could host the visiting congressional delegation that would arrive in September. According to the OHS Historical Marker website, “the Guthrie National Bank was the first national bank chartered in the either of the twin territories.”

The original structure was removed and replaced with the current one in 1923.

Guthrie National Bank Historical Marker

“Rushed to completion in the summer of 1889, the Guthrie National Bank building was the first brick structure built in what became Oklahoma Territory. It also proudly claimed many other firsts. It was located where J.W. McNeal of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, opened the McNeal-Little bank with his partner, A.W. Little, the afternoon of April 22, 1889. It became, as the Guthrie National Bank, June 14, 1890 the first national bank chartered in either of the twin territories.” (Guthrie National Bank Historic Marker)

“As premier structure in the infant city, the building housed the ‘grand reception’ for the visiting delegation of Congressmen in September, 1889.” (Guthrie National Bank Historic Marker)

“Once finished, the building was crowded with tenants. Besides the bank, it housed Beadle’s shoe store on the west side, ‘Oklahoma Farmer’ newspaper and the Guthrie Club, a booster organization, shared the basement. Territorial Governor Steele in 1890 had an office on the 2nd floor for a few months, until larger quarters were available.” (Guthrie National Bank Historic Marker)

“After consolidating and acquiring various other Guthrie banks, the parent company crowded out its tenants. It became known as the First National Bank of Guthrie in 1912. The present building replaced the first structure in 1923.” (Guthrie National Bank Historic Marker)

Select Newspaper Clippings About the Guthrie National Bank

Organizing the First National Bank in Guthrie

First National Bank Organized – Guthrie Democrat – Guthrie OK – Aug 13 1890 (Page 2)

National Bank Charter

Charter – Guthrie Democrat – Guthrie OK – Aug 13 1890 (Page 7)

Guthrie National Bank Advertisement Examples

Reports on the Condition of the Bank 1890

Concluding Thoughts

I enjoyed visiting the town of Guthrie – it’s full of Oklahoma history. I’m glad that we stumbled on this sign and I was able to get a picture of it. The history behind the building is fascinating. I hope you’ll make a visit to Guthrie and check out the historic markers and buildings all around town!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

First Street and Oklahoma Avenue in Guthrie, Oklahoma

Sources

*Historical Marker Sign in front of the building

OHS Historical Marker Program (Logan County) – Oklahoma Historical Society Website

Newspapers

Ad 1 – Oklahoma State Capital – Guthrie OK – Sept 13 1890 (Page 7)

Ad 2 – Oklahoma State Capital – Guthrie OK – Sept 27 1890 (Page 7)

Charter – Guthrie Democrat – Guthrie OK – Aug 13 1890 (Page 7)

First National Bank Organized – Guthrie Democrat – Guthrie OK – Aug 13 1890 (Page 2)

Report of the Guthrie National Bank – Oklahoma State Capital – Guthrie OK – Aug 2 1890 (Page 4)

Report of Condition – Oklahoma State Capital – Guthrie OK – Oct 11 1890 (Page 7)

Historic Tuton Pharmacy Building: Arcadia, OK

Hey friend – welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Historic Tuton Pharmacy Building in Arcadia, Oklahoma. This charming building measures 25 by 70 feet and holds a lot of local history. So, set’s get started!

*Photos were taken by myself in Arcadia, Oklahoma at the Round Barn and Tuton Pharmacy Building.

History of the Building

First State Bank of Arcadia

After purchasing the corner lot, the First State Bank of Arcadia commissioned this two -story sandstone building in 1917. The building entrance is a double-arched doorway on the Southeast corner. It is framed by two large arch-shaped windows. Originally, the windows had stone sills and headers as seen in the drawing below, but they were sadly removed at some point…

Drawing of the Tuton Drugstore that hangs inside the Arcadia Round Barn.
Tuton Building (May 2022)
Round Barn Base

The First State Bank didn’t stand out in town – many of the original buildings in Arcadia were built with the locally quarried sandstone. But, this wasn’t a huge issue because the First State Bank of Arcadia didn’t occupy the building for very long… They sold their corner building to Benjamin Tuton and George Blake for $3,400.

FUN FACT! The sandstone rock is the same material used to build the base of the Round Barn

Blake and Tuton’s Pharmacy

Below are some 1909 newspaper clippings that talk about previous locations of The Arcadia Pharmacy buildings. I would imagine the Blake and Tuton Pharmacy would have looked similar on the inside!

In July 1919, Benjamin (B.F.) Tuton and George Blake moved their drugstore into the building. Tuton, a pioneer businessman in Arcadia, and Blake operated the Arcadia Pharmacy for many years. In 1921, Tuton bought Blake’s share of the pharmacy. He and his son, Thomas ran the pharmacy afterwards.

Tuton Pharmacy – The Arcadia News – Apr 23 1909 (Arcadia, OK) (Page3)

This building has withstood the test of time. The pharmacy was the only building that survived the fire which tore through the Arcadia Business District in June 1924. Many say the structure survived because it is made out of the local sandstone rock.

Here are a few advertisements examples from the pharmacy!

Keeping the business in the family, Thomas’ wife, Ethel, operated the drugstore after his death in 1934. She successfully ran the pharmacy until 1941. 

Ole Country Store

After the pharmacy closed, the building stood vacant from 1941 until 1945. In 1945, the building was leased to a grocer. The building became the “John’s Grocery Store” / “Ole Country Store” in 1945 and operated until 1979! 

National Register of Historic Places

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 because the Romanesque Revival architecture style. I seriously love this little building and would LOVE to see the inside one day!

Antique Mall

According to an article I read, Ethel and Thomas Tuton’s daughter operated an antique mall on the first floor of the building for a while.

Realtor & Art Gallery

The Chesrow Brown Real Estate company occupied the building for a few years. In May of 2007, the Chesrow/Cesario Art Gallery opened in the building, but it has since closed down. I am not sure how long the gallery was in operation? If anyone knows, send me a message on my contact page! I’d love to know!

Present-Day

Today, the building is empty and has a for sale sign located out front… It’s such a cool building and I hope someone will buy it and honor its history!

May 2022

Concluding Thoughts

I love this little 2-story building in Arcadia, Oklahoma. It’s tucked away behind the Round Barn on Route 66 so you could easily visit both places in one trip.

The map below is inside the Arcadia Round Barn and it shows all of the historic buildings in town with a short description. Scroll through the gallery for closer images. Maybe you’ll find another historic treasure!

I encourage you to look up the local history of the towns you visit – you never know what you might discover!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

201 N. Main Street

Arcadia, OK

Sources

“First State Bank of Arcadia – Arcadia, OK,” waymarking.com

“History,” Town of Arcadia – Website

Town of Arcadia – Website

“Tuton’s Drugstore Building, Arcadia, OK,” route66times.com

Newspapers

Mrs. Blake running the drugstore for a day – The Arcadia Gazette – Arcadia OK – Aug 1 1912 (Page 1)

Blake & Tuton new awning / soda fountain – The Arcadia News – Arcadia OK – Apr 30 1909 (Page 6)

Blake & Tuton New Building Construction south of the hardware store – The Arcadia News – Arcadia OK – Mar 19 1909 (Page 8)

Blake & Tuton moved buildings in 1909 – The Arcadia News – Arcadia OK – Apr 9 1909 (Page 5)

Ad 2 – The Arcadia Star – Arcadia OK – March 8 1906 (Page 1)

Ad 1 – The Arcadia Star – Arcadia, OK – March 8 1906 (Page 1)

Arcadia Pharmacy – CD Blake – The Arcadia Star (Arcadia, OK) – May 27, 1904 (Page 5)

Tuton Pharmacy – The Arcadia News – Apr 23 1909 (Arcadia, OK) (Page3)

Historical Markers in Stillwater, OK

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post. Today, we’re talking about historical markers in Stillwater, OK. I talked my sister into helping me find some of these signs and we had a lot of un!

*All photos in this post were taken by myself in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Historical Markers in this Post:

  • David L. Payne Memorial
  • Stillwater Fire Station No. 1
  • Oklahoma A&M College
  • Last “Boomer” Town
  • Boundary Line
  • See “Concluding Thoughts” for my blog posts about more historical sites and museums you should check out in Stillwater, OK!

David L. Payne Memorial

VISIT: Boomer Lake Park at Washington Street and Lakeview in Stillwater. (Diagonal from the gas station)

Monument for Capt. David L. Payne. He was responsible for the Oklahoma Boomer movement in 1879 which eventually led to the Land Run on April 22, 1889 for the “Unassigned Lands.” Did you know Payne County in Oklahoma was named for him?

Stillwater Fire Station No. 1

VISIT: 120 E 9th Ave, Stillwater, OK 74074

TRAVEL TIP: This historical marker sits right outside of Balanced Coffee which happens to be one of my favorite coffee shops to visit when I’m in Stillwater! The atmosphere is really nice and everyone is so friendly!

“In the early 1930s, an innovative and motivated group of men led by Stillwater Fire Chief J. Ray Pence met and discussed the lack of quality fire service training and materials in the United States, particularly in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. In July 1934, a group of educators and fire service leaders met in this building to draft a series of training manuals to be published ‘as economically as possible while providing thorough and valid information about fire fighting.’ The manuals were subsequently published and distributed by Oklahoma A & M College (Oklahoma State University).”

“This initial meeting and subsequent meetings continuing on a yearly basis, launched what would become the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). Headquartered at Oklahoma State University, IFSTA is the world’s largest publisher of fire training materials. This nonprofit, volunteer organization, with participants from around the world, continues to grow while maintaining an awareness of its founders and those who contributed to its growth and success. The contributions of Chief J. Ray Pence, Professor W. Fred Heisler, and Professor R.J. Douglas will always be remembered.”

“IFTSA and the fire-related academic, extension, and research efforts of the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology were all products of these insightful leaders as they met and worked in this historic place.”

“Erected and dedicated this 23th day of July, 1997, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Stillwater Fire Department. Erected by the International Fire Service Training Association, Oklahoma State University Fire Service Programs, and the City of Stillwater Fire Department.” (Stillwater Fire Station No. 1 Historical Marker Sign)

Oklahoma A&M College

VISIT: South Main Street, near south edge of Stillwater. Next to Last “Boomer” Town Historical Marker.

“Serves the State by instruction, experimentation and extension service. Established Dec. 25, 1890, by First Legislative Assembly of Oklahoma Ter. Prairie broken for experimental farm, 1891. ‘Old Central’ dedicated, 1894. Extension division established, 1915.” (Oklahoma A and M College Historical Marker Sign)

Last “Boomer” Town

VISIT: South Main Street, near south edge of Stillwater. Next to Oklahoma A & M Historical Marker.

About 3/4 mi. east

“Here 300 armed ‘boomers’ made their last stand for settlement of the Oklahoma country led by Wm. L. Couch; and surrendered to U.S. Cavalry troops commanded by Col. E. Hatch, Jan. 26, 1885. On this site, the ‘boomers’ had built log cabins and dugouts for their town of Stillwater founded by them on Dec. 12, 1884.” (Last “Boomer” Town Historical Marker Sign)

Boundary Line

VISIT: Intersection of Ranch Street and Washington Avenue in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

1889 and 1893

“On April 22, 1889, the Run for land south in Old Oklahoma began on this line, by Proclamation of Pres. Benj. Harrison. Also, on Sept. 16, 1893, the Run for land north in the Cherokee Outlet began on this line, by Proclamation of Pres. Cleveland. At Booth No. 1, site 3/4 mi. east, thousands registered for the Run in 1893.” (Boundary Line Historical Marker Sign)

Concluding Thoughts

It took me several trips, but I think I finally found all of the historical marker signs in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It was super fun trying to track them all down! I hope you learned something new in this post and are inspired to go find some historical markers near you!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

If you are interested in more Stillwater history, historic sites, or museums check out my other blog posts:

Sources

*Historical Markers in Stillwater, Oklahoma

OHS Historical Marker Program (Payne County) – Oklahoma Historical Society Website

Dr. Angie Debo Statue: Stillwater, OK

Hey friends! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the life of Dr. Angie Debo. She was a pioneering historian and is widely remembered across the state of Oklahoma. Dr. Angie Debo wrote nine books, “edited three, co-authored another, wrote many chapters, articles, and forwards, and presented numerous papers on Native Americans and Oklahoma history.” (Angie Debo Sculpture Project) Let’s get started!

*All photos in this post were taken by myself at the Stillwater Public Library and the Edmon Low Library at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Dr. Angie Debo’s Story

Born on January 30, 1890, Angie Debo spent the first decade of her life in Beattie, Kansas. In November 1899, her family moved to Marshall, Oklahoma Territory. She graduated from Marshall High School in 1913 and taught in local schools from 1913-1915. She then went on to attend the University of Oklahoma (OU) from 1915-1918, graduating from OU in 1918 with a history degree.

After graduation, Debo was the principal at the Village School in Enid from 1918-1919. She then taught for four years at Senior High School in Enid, Oklahoma. Debo soon returned to school and completed her Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago in 1924. She published her master’s thesis, “The Historical Background of the American Policy of Isolation (1924).” It was co-authored by J. Fred Rippy.

Debo returned to teaching at West Texas State Teachers College in Canyon, Texas from 1924-1933. She also taught in local high schools associated with the college. Debo began working on her doctoral degree while teaching at West Texas Teachers College through the University of Oklahoma. Debo finished her Doctorate Degree from the University of Oklahoma OU) in 1933. Debo’s dissertation was titled, “History of the Choctaw Nation: From the Close of the Civil War to the End of the Tribal Period” and was later published as a book titled, “The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic” in 1934. Dr. Debo’s book won the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association in 1935.

Next, Dr. Debo was the curator of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas for a year (1933-1934). At the end of 1934, Debo moved back home to Marshall, Oklahoma. From 1937-1939, she received a grant from the Social Science Research Council to research and write “The Road to Disappearance.”

In 1937, Dr. Debo helped edit and conduct interviews fro the WPA Indian-Pioneer Project which would late become the Indian Pioneer Papers. From 1940-1941, she was responsible for supervising the Federal Writers Project in Oklahoma.

Dr. Debo published “And Still the Water Runs” in 1940. In 1941, she published “The Road to Disappearance” and “Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner.” In 1943, she published “Tulsa: From Creek Town to Oil Capital.” She published her only work of fiction in 1944, “Prairie City, the Story of an American Community.”

Dr. Debo taught summer school at Oklahoma A&M in 1946. She was also a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of Oklahoma (OU) from 1946-1947. She published “Oklahoma, Foot-Loose and Fancy-Free” with some of her funding from the Rockefeller Fellowship.

Dr. Debo was a busy lady in the late forties and fifties. From 1947-1955, she was the curator of maps at Oklahoma A&M (present-day Oklahoma State University). She wrote a column for the Oklahoma City Times titled “This Week in Oklahoma History” from 1952-1954. She was also a book reviewer for the New York Times from 1952-1961. Dr. Debo published “The Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma: Report on Social and Economic Conditions” in 1951. Dr. Debo retired from curating maps at OSU in 1955, but continued researching, writing, traveling, and advocating for Native American rights. Dr. Debo wasn’t done teaching though, and taught Oklahoma History at OSU from 1957-1958.

Dr. Debo published “Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place” in 1976. This book won a few awards including the Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Association of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. For more information about the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, click HERE!

Dr. Angie Debo was interviewed for an Oral History Project at Oklahoma State University from 1981-1985. The oral history and transcript are linked in the sources section at the end of this post if you are interested in listening to it. Dr. Angie Debo passed away on February 21, 1988. She is buried in North Cemetery in Marshall, Oklahoma.

Dr. Angie Debo Statue

There is a statue of Dr. Angie Debo in front of the Stillwater Public Library! The contest for the sculpture required artists to submit a design that would “evoke a combination of libraries, reading, Stillwater, and/or Oklahoma.” (Angie Debo Sculpture Project) Eleven artists submitted 16 proposals, and the winning design of Dr. Angie Debo was submitted by Phyllis Mantik.

At the time of the contest, there were no known statues of Dr. Angie Debo anywhere in the United States. So, this statue was a big deal for Oklahoma! Mantik’s design for the statue included the tribal seals of the Indigenous tribes of Oklahoma along the bottom of the base. Watch the video below to see the base in its entirety.

The Stillwater Public Library Trust received several donations for the sculpture. In total, $63,000 was raised from multiple people and communities. The sculpture of Dr. Angie Debo was the first sculpture on City property in Stillwater!

The statue of Dr. Angie Debo was unveiled on November 18, 2010 at a ceremony attended by over 200 people. Notable guests included Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis and Oklahoma City University & Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby.

RESEARCH TIP: The speeches, programs, and memoranda items can be found in the Oklahoma State University Archives. I have linked the OSU Archives HERE.

“I chose to show Angie Debo as a young woman to focus on her character and highlight that at an early age she chose the life of a scholar rather than what was expected for a woman of her time.”

Phyllis Mantik
(Angie Debo Sculpture Project)

Concluding Thoughts

The Dr. Angie Debo statue is an inspiring place to visit in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Dr. Debo’s story can be an inspiration to us all and I am glad I got to visit the Stillwater Public library and see the statue. I hope you’ll go see it if you’re ever in Stillwater!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

1107 S Duck St

Stillwater, OK 74074

Sources

Statue Information

“Angie Debo Sculpture Project,” Stillwater Public Library.

Dedication of Angie Debo Statue, Stillwater Public Library, Stillwater, Oklahoma Collection, Oklahoma State University Archives, Oklahoma State University Libraries. https://archivesspace.library.okstate.edu/repositories/3/resources/1337.

Chelcey Adami, “Scholar and Activist Angie Debo to be Commemorated in Sculpture,” Stillwater News Press (Stillwater, Oklahoma), March 5, 2010.

Lynda, “Angie Debo,” Stillwater Public Library Blog, December 27, 2010.

Biographical Information

Patricia Loughlin, “Debo, Angie Elbertha,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=DE002.

Angie Debo – Center for Great Plains Studies (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)

Angie Debo Biographical and Archival Information – Oklahoma State University Edmon Low Library

Biography of Angie Debo – OSU Library

Chronology of Angie Debo’s Life – OSU Library

Oral History with Angie Debo – OSU Library

The Angie Debo Collection at the OSU Library – OSU Library

Old Central @ OSU: Stillwater, OK

Hey friends! Welcome back to another post – today, we’re talking about historic Old Central and the Oklahoma Museum of Higher Education in Stillwater, Oklahoma. For those of you who don’t know or are new around here, I am a 2-time Oklahoma State University alum. For undergrad, I was a member of the Honors College at OSU and spent some time in Old Central. I had a couple of classes in the basement of the building and my honors advisor’s office was on the first floor! I loved this building and am super excited to write about it today! Let’s get started!

FUN FACT! To see a collection of old Oklahoma State logos click HERE. I LOVE all of them so please don’t ask me to pick a favorite…

History of Old Central

The Morrill Act allowed Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (OAMC) to be founded on the Christmas Day, December 25, 1890. Oklahoma Territorial Governor George W. Steele signed the legislation for the college and agricultural experiment station in Payne County. 200-acres in Stillwater was selected because of the variety of soils for agricultural experimentation. Four homesteaders contributed portions of their land to make the campus. Frank E. Duck and Alfred N. Jarrell were paid to give the southern portion of the campus. Charles A. Vreeland and Oscar M. Morse were paid to give the northern portion of the campus. These four families took land from their homesteads to make the campus possible. The people of Stillwater helped clear the 200-acre tract of tall grass prairie grasses. They did this with a horse and plow and could only complete a few acres a day. This project took months to complete. Temporary buildings were raised for the campus! Keep reading to learn about Old Central – the first permanent building on campus.

James C. Neal was the first director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station on the OAMC campus in 1891. Robert J. Barker was the first President of Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College from 1891-1894.

RESEARCH TIP: To view an interactive OSU timeline click HERE. I found this website to be very helpful when researching this post!

The people of Stillwater decided that OAMC needed a permanent building for classes. In 1893, construction began thanks to $10,000 worth of bonds. “The bonds were not only the first issued by Stillwater, but also the first by any municipality in Oklahoma successfully paid at maturity without refinancing.” (OSU Timeline) In total, the building cost $25,000 to complete.

Old Central was made out of sandstone and brick masonry. The heating and cooling system installed in the building was very modern for the time. Old Central was dedicated on June 15, 1894 as the first permanent building at Oklahoma A&M! Students were allowed to use the building beginning in September 1894.

It was originally called ‘College Building’ or ‘(Old) Central Building.’ The local townspeople called the building ‘Stillwater’s Pride.’ (OSU Timeline) The new building housed a chemistry lab, administration offices, classrooms, a large assembly room, and the night watchman’s room. There was also a library which contained 1,600 volumes inside!

In 1914, stabilizing tie-rods were installed to help with the building’s unstable foundation. Soon, more cracks in the walls appeared and the building was deemed unsafe. Old Central was condemned in 1921, but the building was saved in 1928 by Henry G. Bennett. Bennett’s mission to save the building refurbish and restore the structure. Bennett passed away in 1951 and the next President of OSU wanted to destroy the building… But a group of faculty and alumni didn’t let this happen!

More renovations to Old Central began in 1962, but it wasn’t enough. The building was discontinued from use by the university in September 1969. By 1970, the Old Central Committee and Oklahoma Historical Society entered negotiations for preserving the building. The groups decided that making the building into a museum would be the best way to preserve it for future generations to admire. So, the Museum of Higher Education was established.

Old Central has withstood the test of time, it survived “three fires, a tornado, and repeated threats of demolition.” (Spurrier and Roark, 118). Historic Old Central was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 27, 1971 – scroll through the gallery below to see a picture of the certificate! From 1971-1983, Old Central was restored once again.

The Oklahoma Historical Society had an office located in Old Central for the next 3 decades. Their next restoration project began in October 2007. For more information about the restoration process, see the Spurrier and Roark’s article linked at the end of this post! The restoration process took 2 years and cost $6.7 million “to overcome the challenges involved in brining a nineteenth-century building up to twenty-first-century standards.” (Spurrier and Roark, 120-121)

After the renovations, the Honors College at Oklahoma State University moved into Old Central in 2009. It is still the home of the Honors College at the time of this post in June 2022!

Swipe through the gallery below to see Old Central through the various seasons! Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter – we love Old Central in all its glory 🙂

Inside Old Central

First Floor

“The original 1894 bell hangs in the belfry, complete with its original clapper, and although according to tradition students once rang the bell for hours after football victories, hairline cracks now limit its ringing to special occasions such as honors college award ceremonies and visits by prospective students, families, and alumni.” (Spurrier and Roark, 121)

This display case is located on the First Floor of Old Central outside of the Honors College advising offices. For a closer view of its contents, please scroll up to the section about the History of Old Central for more images.

Staircase – South Side

The Watchman’s Room was located in this area. Dormitories didn’t appear on the OAMC campus until 1910. Prior to this many of the students stayed at local boarding houses which cost $2.50 to $5.00 per week. A single male student was allowed to live in Old Central if he acted as the night-watchman and janitor. Francis M. Greriner and Clarence H. McElroy were the first two students to hold the position.

Stairs & Assembly Hall on the Second Floor

The Assembly Hall has had many uses over the years including classroom spaces, ceremonies, and meeting spaces. Today, the large lecture hall seats approximately 120 people. It is a beautiful space. While researching this post, I read that the Honors Hooding ceremony used to take place there. I guess the Honors College had grown since that article was published because my ceremony was held in the Student Union. I also read that some of the first graduation ceremonies at OAMC took place in the Assembly Hall! That’s so cool!

Basement

The basement of Old Central now houses a classroom, computer lab, and restrooms. I took classes in the basement of Old Central when I was a student at Oklahoma State University. It’s a cool space! You can see the door on the left side of the picture that leads to the classroom.

Concluding Thoughts

I love historic Old Central! This building is so special to Oklahoma State University history and Payne County history. It was really cool to be a student and attend classes in the basement and to ring the original bell clapper after I received my Honors Hood for graduation. I love this building and my alma mater. I hope you’ll go visit Oklahoma State University and Old Central. Ever you’ll find us loyal and true!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

Old Central

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK 74075

TRAVEL TIP: Old Central is behind the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. It’s also very close to Hideaway Pizza and the Fire Station.

Sources

*Information from various plaques and information sheets in Old Central used. I have included pictures above within the post.

Articles

Spurrier, Robert and Roark, Jessica, “Where Honors Lives: Old Central at Oklahoma State University” (2015). Chapters from NCHC Monographs Series. 23.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchcmonochap/23

Books

Leroy H. Fischer, Historic Old Central – Centennial Histories Series (Stillwater: Oklahoma State University, 1988).

Websites

“Old Central at OSU” – Visit Stillwater Website

“Old Central Collection” – Oklahoma State University Website

“History” – Oklahoma State University Website

“Timeline” – Oklahoma State University Website

Philip Reed Rulon, “Oklahoma State University,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

City Hall: Ponca City, OK

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the beautiful city hall building in Ponca City, Oklahoma. While visiting some other historic sites and museums in the area, I drove past this building and had to turn around. I got out of my car, walked around the outside, and took some photos. Let’s go explore the history of the building!

History of Ponca City

Ponca City was founded in the mid-1890s during the Oklahoma Land Run for the Cherokee Strip on September 16, 1893. The founder and first Mayor of Ponca City – B.S. Barnes – was a smart man. He chose the area before the Land Run because of the available water supply, its access to the railroad, and there was a river crossing. Barnes created the “Ponca Townsite Company” in hopes of bringing people to the area. He “sold $2 chances on lots of the settlers gathered to make the land run.” (Informational Plaque about B.S. Barnes outside City Hall)

Barnes was a determined man. He discovered that the US Government had plotted town Northwest of Ponca City for the railroad to stop – this town was called Cross. But, Barnes did not like this at all and he took a few friends and under the cover of darkness they “moved the Cross depot to Ponca City.” (Informational Plaque about B.S. Barnes outside City Hall) Needless to say, the train stopped at Ponca City.

B.S. Barnes was a strong leader who led Ponca City to many of its early successes. “The citizens always had confidence in his ability and integrity and , five days after the run, they elected him as their first mayor.” (Informational Plaque about B.S. Barnes outside City Hall)

RESEARCH TIPS: For more Land Run history, see my posts about the Oklahoma Territorial Museum, the Edmond Historical Society Museum, and the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum.

Now that we’ve talked a little bit about the founding of Ponca City, let’s talk more about the history of the City Hall Building itself! It’s pretty cool!

City Hall Building History

Mayor W.H. McFadden proposed a bond election in February 1916 of $20,000 to build a new convention hall in Ponca City. This bond passed and an additional $25,000 bond was passed in December 1916. The building was designed by architect, Solomon Andrew Layton in 1916 in the Spanish Colonial Style. It was built by Layton and Smith – who also happened to design to the State Capitol Building. Ponca City local – O.F. Keck – was hired as the contractor. “The contract was let for $38,000.” (Ponca City Website – FAQs “When was the current City Hall building first constructed?”) The new auditorium opened on November 14, 1917 with a showing of “Experience,” a Broadway musical play.

FUN FACT! Many of the other buildings in Ponca City are also built in the Spanish Colonial style – just take drive around town and look!

Mayor P.B. Lowrance and the architecture firm of Layton, Smith, and Forsythe helped plan the addition of East and West wings to the facility. A bond issue worth $75,000 was passed in November 1922 for the project. Based in Oklahoma City, the Holmboc Company was awarded the contract for $135,000. Two years later, the Board of Commissioners held their first meeting in the new facility on March 20, 1924. The new East and West wings housed city offices, the police station, and fire station. The expanded center was renamed to the “Civic Center.” These three buildings were separate pieces and wouldn’t be connected for nearly eight decades!

The Civic Auditorium was closed in 1992 because it was deemed a fire hazard by the Ponca City Fire Marshall. The city offices were located in the East and the West wing housed Fire Station No. 1. These areas were deemed safe and were allowed to remain open. A few years later in 1997, the citizens of Ponca City passed a 2-year sales tax that allowed for much needed renovations to be made on Fire Station No. 1 in the West Wing.

After the fire station was renovated, the citizens of Ponca City passed a 3-years sales tax to renovate the rest of the city hall complex. The new complex was designed and renovated by Lewis Associates Architects of Ponca City. They completed the project in 2003 and the building looks stunning!

TRAVEL TIP: Here is a link to a self-guided tour of the inside and outside of the building.

Centennial Plaza

The Centennial Plaza is located in front of City Hall! There are several sculptures, memorials, and plaques that honor various aspects of Ponca City’s rich history. I have included few photos below and hope you enjoy them, but make sure to stop by and see them yourself!

Centennial Monument

The Centennial Monument was created by artist Jo Saylors to commemorate the Land Run. The Land Run took place on September 16, 1893. A century later in 1993, the citizens of Ponca City were given an opportunity to purchase a brick with their name on it to “stake their claim” as a portion of Ponca City’s history. Thousands of people purchased a brick to “stake their claim” – 6,527 people to be exact.

The plaque on the bottom of the Centennial Monument reads: “These 100 donors present this centennial bronze by Jo Saylors in commemoration of the Cherokee Strip Land Run September 16, 1893. Dedicated September 16, 1993.”

Lew Wentz Statue

Jo Saylors also created a sculpture of Lewis Hanes (Lew) Wentz that is on display at City Hall. Lew Wentz (1872-1949) was a wealthy oilman and philanthropist who “always gave.” (Wentz Statue Plaque) This sculpture was a gift from a group of citizens of Ponca City who wanted to honor the memory of Wentz.

The plaque on the bottom gives a lot of valuable information about Wentz’s projects in Ponca City. He was a donor for the Wentz Camp, Wentz Pool, and Wentz Municipal Golf Course. Wentz was a founder for The Society for Crippled Children, the University of Oklahoma Student Loan Fund, and the Oklahoma State University Student Loan Fund.

E.W. Marland Statue

Jo Davidson was commissioned by E.W. Marland (1874-1941) to create the statue of himself. The statue originally sat on the grounds of the Marland estate. Marland loved the arts, especially sculpture. Marland’s widow, Lydie Marland donated the statue to Ponca City in 1951 and it now sits on the southwest corner of City Hall’s lawn.

The bottom of the E.W. Marland statue lists his major accomplishments as the following:

  • Pioneer Oil Developer
  • Philanthropist and Humanitarian
  • Leader in developing the economy, culture, and beauty of Ponca City
  • Donor of Pioneer Woman Statue
  • Governor of Oklahoma
  • United States Congressman

For more information about E.W. Marland, oil history, and the Marland estates check out the following two posts: The Marland’s Grand Home and The Marland Mansion.

Ponca City Memorial Fountain

The Ponca City Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) built the Memorial Fountain to honor those who fought in World War I. The fountain was restored in 1981 by DAR and H.A. “Jack” Mertz. In 1993, the fountain underwent another renovation thanks to the Ponca City and Pioneer Rotary Clubs.

The most recent restoration took place in 2003. Forrest Mertz led the project in honor of his parents H.A. “Jack” and Hattie Mertz, the Ponca City DAR Chapter, and all Veterans. (Ponca City Self Guided Tour)

Concluding Thoughts

I thought this building was very pretty and I am very glad that I stopped to take a few photos. I loved doing the research behind the building and the statues honoring people out front. If you’re ever in Ponca City – make sure to drive by – you won’t be disappointed!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

516 E. Grand Ave.
Ponca City, OK 74604

TRAVEL TIP: City Hall is close to the Ponca City Library. Make sure to stop by the library to check out the Matzene Art Collection. This art collection is definitely a hidden gem and I definitely recommend stopping by! Here’s a post I wrote about the Matzene Art Collection!

TRAVEL TIP: While you’re in downtown Ponca City, make sure to also stop by the L.A. Cann Gardens and Estate! Take a pair of walking shoes to stroll through this beautiful garden and trails. The local garden clubs do an excellent job of maintaining this space. Here’s a post I wrote about the L.A. Cann Gardens and Estate!

Sources

City Hall – Ponca City Website

Ponca City Website – FAQs “When was the current City Hall building first constructed?”

City Hall Self Guided Tour – Ponca City Website

Informational Plaque about B.S. Barnes – Pictured Below

E.W. Marland Statue Plaque – Pictured Below

Lew Wentz Statue Plaque – Pictured Below

Nancy Randolph Davis Statue: Stillwater, OK

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post – today, we’re talking about Nancy Randolph Davis. She was the first African American enrollee at Oklahoma A&M College, a Civil Rights pioneer in Oklahoma, and an educator for over 40 years. Let’s go learn about her amazing story and the legacy she has left behind!

“I didn’t know I was a trailblazer; I just wanted to earn a master’s degree in my home state.”

Nancy Randolph Davis – Ryleigh Clem, “Trailblazer: Nancy Davis’ Legacy Lives On,” O’Colly, February 23, 2021.

TRAVEL TIP: This is what the Nancy Randolph Davis building looks like. The statue is located in this courtyard in front of the black benches pictured above. The sidewalk right before the benches on the left side of this picture leads to the Nancy Randolph Davis statue!

*Most of the photos in this post were taken at the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater by myself. Please read the photo captions for attributions for other photos (Websites are linked in the caption and “sources section” at the end of this post as well).

Nancy Randolph Davis

Early Life

Nancy Randolph Davis was born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. She graduated from the Sapulpa Booker T. Washington High School in 1944. The Booker T. Washington High School had been established in 1905 in Sapulpa.

Nancy Randolph Davis had five siblings and parents who encouraged her to pursue her education. Her parents were Ed Napoleon and Ernestine Randolph. Her father was a huge champion for her education and said that all of his children had to finish high school. He wanted his children to pursue education and all opportunities extended to them – three of his kids chose to pursue a college education. Mr. Randolph worked for the Frisco Railroad Company and saved money to pay for his children’s education.

Mittie Jackson was a high school teacher that inspired Nancy Randolph to pursue a college education as well. Ms. Jackson told her that she was good at cooking and sewing so she would do well in a Home Economics program.

Langston University

Nancy Randolph Davis began her college education at Langston University in Guthrie, Oklahoma after graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1944. Langston University is an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) that was founded in 1897. (Langston University is still open today in 2022.)

Nancy was very involved on the Langston University campus and in her Home Economics program. She student taught in Luther, Oklahoma – a small, rural town in central Oklahoma. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Langston University in 1948.

“I was not trying to make history. I merely wanted an education. after receiving my bachelor’s degree at Langston University, I wanted to attend OSU for my master’s degree since they had one of the best home economics programs in the state. I knew that God was on my side and that with hard work and perseverance, I would prevail.”

Nancy Randolph Davis – Sheri Waldrop, “Sapulpa Native Nancy Randolph Davis Educational Pioneer and Trailblazer,” Sapulpa Times, January 17, 2022.

Oklahoma A&M

Nancy Randolph Davis was encouraged to apply to the master’s program in Home Economics at Oklahoma A&M College. This was after Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher had won a Supreme Court case which allowed her to attend law school at the University of Oklahoma. Sipuel and Davis actually lived in the same dormitory at Langston University.

At first, Nancy wasn’t allowed to enroll in classes at Oklahoma A&M, but then Roscoe Dunjee (Editor of The Black Dispatch and NAACP Leader) and Amos T. Hall (NAACP Attorney) became involved in the case and she was allowed to enroll. Nancy Randolph Davis became the first African American enrollee at Oklahoma A&M College in 1949.

“OSU made a monumental decision that resounds loudly in the annals of history. Without the Supreme Court forcing them, OSU admitted this ambitious young black woman, granddaughter of a slave, daughter of sixth- and eight-grade graduates, and a Sapulpa, Okla., native into these halls of education.”

Nancy Randolph Davis – Sheri Waldrop, “Sapulpa Native Nancy Randolph Davis Educational Pioneer and Trailblazer,” Sapulpa Times, January 17, 2022.

Nancy attended school in the summer to work on her master’s degree in home economics. During her first summer in Stillwater, she lived with the Lee A. Ward family. Ward was the principal of the Black elementary school in Stillwater – the Booker T. Washington School.

The following summer, she lived with the Jones family next door to the Ward family. Hanner Hall eventually became the dormitory for African American students at Oklahoma A&M. Married couples lived on the first floor, women on the second floor, and men on the third floor.

At first, the professors at Oklahoma A&M made Nancy sit in the hallway outside the classroom to listen to the lectures. Integration was still illegal at this time. Nancy made the second highest score on a test and her White classmates insisted that she be able to join them inside the classroom. After this complaint, Nancy joined the class in the classroom, but she was not allowed to sit with her classmates and was often forced to sit in the back of the room or in an office space within the classroom.

Nancy graduated with her Master’s degree in Home Economics in the summer of 1952 from the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma A&M.

Teaching Home Economics

In addition to attending school in the summers, Nancy Randolph Davis was a teacher herself in the spring and fall semesters. She taught Home Economics and Childcare at Dunjee School in Choctaw, Oklahoma for 20 years. Dunjee was an all-Black school where she taught 60 kids in one room with only 5 sewing machines. Her future husband, Fred C. Davis, was the Vice Principal at Dunjee School. They were married in 1953 after she finished her Master’s degree and they had two children together, Calvin and Nancy.

After 20 years at Dunjee, she took a new position at Star Spencer High School. (For those not familiar with Oklahoma geography, Spencer is a town located in central Oklahoma just east of Oklahoma City. Spencer is just west of Choctaw where Dunjee was located.) She eventually retired from Star Spencer High School in 1991. Nancy Randolph Davis devoted 43 years of her life to the Oklahoma Public Education system and touched the lives of thousands of students in Oklahoma. She always encouraged people to “fight through adversity to pursue their dreams.” (Two OSU Buildings Renamed to Honor Civil Rights Pioneer)

When asked if she thought education was still important for young people today, Nancy Randolph Davis replied:

“Education is the key. That’s my motto. Education is the key. If you have an education and you know people and how to work with them, and you can reach out and touch others, then you will be much happier and you’ll be successful in life.”

-Nancy Randolph Davis: Oral History Interview with Nancy Randolph Davis – Oklahoma Oral History Research Program – Oklahoma State University Library Digital Collections (Video & Transcript Available) (Page 24)

Civil Rights Work

Nancy was also actively involved in the community, participating in many organizations and was a major Civil Rights activist in the state of Oklahoma. Notably, she was an adviser to the Oklahoma City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth Council.

Nancy had become very good friends with Clara Luper while they were teaching together at Dunjee. The two women worked together on many Civil Rights projects – including the drugstore sit-ins at the counters in Oklahoma City which began in 1958. This was the first and longest successful sit-in. Nancy Randolph Davis and Clara Luper recognized the importance of education in shaping activism and were able to use their teaching background to be successful. When asked about Clara Super, Nancy said the following:

Yes, Clara Luper was a good friend of mine. I used to go with her downtown with the sit-in movement. We would open doors at Katz department store, and at the different restaurants like Anna Maude’s Cafeteria, Skirvin Tower Hotel, and the living places where they did not want blacks, we were there. We stopped them from going to places where they had to go to the back door to eat, restaurants. Opened doors to restaurants and hotels.

-Nancy Randolph Davis: Oral History Interview with Nancy Randolph Davis – Oklahoma Oral History Research Program – Oklahoma State University Library Digital Collections (Video & Transcript Available) (Page 21)

Later Years

Additionally, Nancy was member of the Oklahoma Retired Teachers Association, Langston University Alumni Association, OSU Alumni Association, and the OSU Black Alumni Association. When asked how she wanted to be remembered, Nancy Randolph Davis stated:

“I just want them to remember me as a person who was reaching out trying to help others and helping myself. Remember me as a person who was an educated leader. That I was the leader but that they were just as important as I was.”

-Nancy Randolph Davis: Oral History Interview with Nancy Randolph Davis – Oklahoma Oral History Research Program – Oklahoma State University Library Digital Collections (Video & Transcript Available) (Page 29)

Nancy Randolph Davis passed away on March 23, 2015. She was 88 years old and has left a lasting legacy for all students at Oklahoma State University and in the state of Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma State University Mourns Loss of Civil Rights Pioneer Nancy Randolph Davis,” The Oklahoma Eagle (Tulsa, OK) Vol. 95, No. 13, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 26, 2015 (Page 8). (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

Honors & Awards

Oklahoma State University and the state of Oklahoma have honored Nancy Randolph Davis and her legacy in many ways. I have listed a few of her awards in this post, but this is by no means an extensive list. Nancy Randolph Davis has been celebrated in numerous ways!

  • Oklahoma State University gave her the OSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.
  • Davis Hall was named in her honor in 2001 – this was a residential hall on the Oklahoma State University campus. Three scholarships were named in her honor at Oklahoma State University beginning in 2001. There is the Nancy Randolph Davis Scholarship for freshmen, continuing students, and graduate students. These scholarships honor Davis’ commitment to education and learning.
  • OSU has celebrated “Nancy Randolph Davis Day” every February 1st during Black History Month since 2006.
  • She was inducted into the Oklahoma African American Hall of Fame in 2010. Among the other 2010 honorees were Dr. Lilliantyne Williams-Fields, Dr. Linda Toure (representing Opio Toure), Emma Lee Jones-Freeman, Dr. Wallace Owens Jr., and Roosevelt Milton. Opio Toure and Emma Lee Jones-Freeman were given the award posthumously.
  • She received the OSU College of Education and Human Sciences’ Enhancing Human Lives Award in 2012.
  • She was inducted into the OSU Greek Hall of Fame in 2012.
  • She was inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame in 2018.
  • There is a 3-mile stretch on Interstate 35 west of Stillwater that is named the Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway. She was given this honor in 2018.
  • Oklahoma Governor David Walters designated May 31 as “Nancy Randolph Davis Day” in 1991.
  • She received the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
  • She was inducted into the Oklahoma Afro American Hall of Fame by Ntu Art Association.
  • She was inducted into the Oklahoma African-American Educators Hall of Fame in 2015.
  • A bronze sculpture of Nancy Randolph Davis was unveiled in 2019 in front of the then Human Sciences Building. Human Sciences and Human Sciences West were renamed to “Nancy Randolph Davis” and “Nancy Randolph Davis West” to honor her legacy on October 23, 2020.
“African-AMerican Hall of Fame Announces 2010 Honorees,” The Oklahoma Eagle (Tulsa, OK), Vol. 90, No. 20, Ed. 1 Friday, May 14, 2010 (Page 5). (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)
There is a 3-mile stretch on Interstate 35 west of Stillwater that is named the Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway. She was given this honor in 2018. Plaque from the second floor of the Student Union at Oklahoma State University. (Photo taken by Kaitlyn Weldon)

Concluding Thoughts

I love getting to walk around the campus of Oklahoma State University whenever I get the chance. The Nancy Randolph Davis statue is located in the courtyard of the Nancy Randolph Davis building which is in the middle of campus on Monroe Street. The Nancy Randolph Davis Building is on the West side of the road. I hope you’ll take some time to go find this statue!

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

Oklahoma State University

106 Nancy Randolph Davis

Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078

Sources

RESEARCH TIP: Nancy Randolph Davis gave an oral history interview in 2009 at Oklahoma State University. It is linked HERE. The cataloged piece includes a video and a transcript!

Oral History

Oral History Interview with Nancy Randolph Davis – Oklahoma Oral History Research Program – Oklahoma State University Library Digital Collections (Video & Transcript Available)

Newspapers

“Centennial Offers Up School Reunion,” Sapulpa Daily Herald (Sapulpa, OK) Vol. 83, No. 251, Ed. 1 Friday, July 3, 1998. (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

“Building to Remember Student,” Sapulpa Daily Herald (Sapulpa, OK) Vol. 87, No. 88, Ed. 1 Monday, December 24, 2001. (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

“OSU Honors First Black Student Nancy Davis,” Sapulpa Daily Herald (Sapulpa, OK) Vol. 91, No. 125, Ed. 1 Sunday, February 5, 2006 (Page 9). (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

“A Living Legend: Sapulpa Native Paves the Way for Black Students,” Sapulpa Daily Herald (Sapulpa, OK) Vol. 93, No. 69, Ed. 1 Friday, February 1, 2008 (Page 1 & 4). (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

“African-AMerican Hall of Fame Announces 2010 Honorees,” The Oklahoma Eagle (Tulsa, OK) Vol. 90, No. 20, Ed. 1 Friday, May 14, 2010 (Page 5). (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

“Oklahoma State University Mourns Loss of Civil Rights Pioneer Nancy Randolph Davis,” The Oklahoma Eagle (Tulsa, OK) Vol. 95, No. 13, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 26, 2015 (Page 8). (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

Websites

Ryleigh Clem, “Trailblazer: Nancy Davis’ Legacy Lives On,” O’Colly, February 23, 2021.

“Nancy Randolph Davis,” College of Education and Human Sciences, Oklahoma State University Website

“Nancy Randolph Davis, ’52” – OSU Alumni Association Website

Hicham Raache, “Oklahoma State University Renames 2 Buildings to Honor Civil Rights Pioneer Nancy Randolph Davis,” KFOR News, October 24, 2020.

Sheri Waldrop, “Sapulpa Native Nancy Randolph Davis Educational Pioneer and Trailblazer,” Sapulpa Times, January 17, 2022.

“Two Black Oklahoma Women Who Defined American Activism,” The Black Wall Street Times, February 13, 2021.

Two OSU Buildings Renamed to Honor Civil Rights Pioneer – Oklahoma State University Website

Periodicals

Gloria J. Pollard, “Unforgotten Trailblazer: Nancy O. Randolph Davis,”  Chronicles of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Historical Society, Volume 90, Number 4, Winter 2012-13 (Winter 2012) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (The Gateway to Oklahoma History – Database from the Oklahoma Historical Society)

Poncan Theatre: Ponca City, OK

Hey friend – welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the historic Poncan Theatre in Ponca City, Oklahoma. This beautiful theater is located on Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown Ponca City. Let’s go look around!

The Poncan Theatre is located in the historic district of downtown Ponca City. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1985 and is an example of a Spanish Colonial Revival Style Theatre.

TRAVEL TIP: The Poncan Theatre has tours for visitors to learn about the architecture and the history. The Poncan Theatre hours are Tuesday through Friday 1-5 p.m. and they open an hour before show time on other days.

*All photos were taken by myself at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Other images used have attributions in the captions and in the sources section at the end of the post.

Poncan Theatre History (1927-2005)

The Poncan Theatre was designed by the Boller Brothers of Kansas City and was oringally owned by the Poncan Theatre Co. It was designed to be an “atmospheric theatre” with a special emphasis put on the ornate ceilings. Scroll through the photos below to see the beautiful ceilings!

The building cost a whopping $280,000 to complete. (An inflation calculator estimates this is around $4,486,468.97 in 2022 [when this article was written]). That’s a lot of money, y’all! This included the price of the equipment inside the theatre. The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ alone cost an impressive $22,5000 ($360,519.83 in 2022)!

The Poncan Theatre opened for business on September 20, 1927 featuring Our Gang and Shanghai Bound. Upon opening, the theatre seated 1200 people between the lower floor and the balcony. Lower floor seats were $1.10 and balcony seats were 50 cents. Fred Pickrel was the first director.

Fun fact! The balcony is not supported by any pillars, rather it is supported by a 5-foot thick “I-Beam.” After having walked through the balcony – I find this very impressive!

History of Film

Originally, movies didn’t feature sound and were called “silent films.” There were many stars in the “silent era” like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. These actors often exaggerated their movements to evoke an emotional response from the audience. Movies with sound (music & sound effects) were released throughout the early 1920s.

The first movie to feature a spoken dialogue was The Jazz Singer released in late 1927. Al Jolson changed cinema history forever when he uttered, “Wait a minute… you ain’t heard nothing yet.” The scene that changed cinema history is linked below – hear Al Jolson speak!

Movies with dialogue became known as “talkies” because the actors and actresses spoke in the film. Initially, many of the movie theaters didn’t have the technology to show such films because the technology was expensive. The first “talkie” film was shown at the Poncan Theatre in April 1929. People flocked to the shows to see!

Below are some of the show advertisements in the local newspapers throughout the decades. This was a random selection and that the newspaper archive had some years where there was a newspaper ad for every week with the movie listings. So, if this interests you, go check out a newspaper database!

Famous Faces

The Poncan Theatre catered to both silent films and stage entertainment – it was truly a vaudeville venue. Many famous silent film stars got their start on the vaudeville stage including Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini.

Vaudeville:

1. “A light often comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing, and song.”

2. “A stage entertainment consisting of various acts (such as performing animals, comedians, or singers).”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

On February 5, 1931, Will Rogers gave a performance to the largest crowd in the Poncan Theatre’s history. Other entertainers like Sally Rand and Ethel Barrymore also appeared at the Poncan Theatre.

The historic painting of Will Rogers was returned to the theatre in 2007 (center, below). It had been kept safe at Central State University [now the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond, OK]. Some have suggested that Richard Gordon Matzene (pictured right, below) might have painted the portrait. Matzene donated a large portion of his art collection to the Ponca City Library. For more information on Matzene and the Matzene Art Collection – check out this article on my blog!

Theatre Upgrades

The first of many updates took place in 1938 with new seats being added. Bob Browning became the theatre manager in 1939 and a new marquee was also installed. (The current marquee is styled after the original one installed in 1927.)

Donald R. Hall became the manager of the Poncan in 1946 and didn’t retire until 1977. There is a painting of Hall in the lobby on the left side of the Will Rogers painting (pictured above). Donald Hall was responsible for writing movie summaries for advertisements in the local newspaper. You can still read the summaries in The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK) back issues!

Donald Hall’s wife Frances Hall also worked in the theatre. Tragically, she collapsed in the theatre, spent two weeks in the hospital, and didn’t recover. Frances Hall passed away in 1967.

The Poncan was remodeled from 1954 to 1955 with the renovations being completed in time for a Christmas Day open house. The marquee was upgraded to a larger one so that everyone could see the movie titles up and down Grand Avenue. The inside of the theatre included 1,000 new posture-design seats – time to relax at the movies! Additionally, the mezzanine furnishings and the air conditioning system were both replaced.

More renovations and upgrades were made throughout the sixties and seventies. In 1962, the marquee was made bigger – again! There was no way you could miss the theatre marquee. A decade later in 1974, new reclining seats were installed on the bottom floor of the theater. These would have been perfect to watch a show in!

Restoration & The National Register of Historic Places

The eighties were a good decade for the theatre. The Poncan was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Three years later, the Poncan Theatre Company was established as a non-profit in Kay County to preserve the history of the theatre. In 1989, Enloe and Wanda Baumert made a generous donation allowing the theatre to be donated to the Poncan Theatre Company.

The restoration of the Poncan Theatre began in 1990 and would take place in three phases according to the Poncan Theatre website.

  • Phase 1: “Replace roof, update mechanical, electrical, and sound systems.”
  • Phase 2: “Clean/replace carpeting, revamp offices and stage areas.”
  • Phase 3: “Restore original marquee, secure stained glass panels, and repair exterior masonry.”

In 1992, 15 tons of plaster was used to repair the interior which was seriously deteriorated at this point. That is a lot of plaster…

Many community members and companies donated funds to help fix the Poncan Theatre. The renovation cost roughly a million dollars! CONOCO donated a grant of $150,000! For more information about the history of CONOCO – check out my forthcoming post about the CONOCO Museum also located in Ponca City!

The grand reopening of the theatre was held on September 18, 1994.

Poncan Theatre (2006-Present)

In 2006, Dave May became the Executive Director of the Poncan. He was responsible for the restoration of the world’s largest collection of “hand painted lobby art” from the 1930s (1931-1937). Below are a couple of examples of the art – if you are interested in seeing more photos please look at my instagram post about the lobby art. You can find me on instagram @the_active_historian!

In 2011, Team Radio broadcast from the Poncan for the first time. Their office and recording studio are located there now.

Kelly Mayers became the Executive Director of the Poncan Theatre in November 2015. More restoration projects have continued to take place at the theatre.

The Poncan Theatre celebrated its 90th birthday in 2017! I can’t wait to see what they do for the centennial celebration five years from now in 2027!

Christopher Radaker-James took over the Executive Director position in June 2019. Today, the Poncan Theatre shows movies and hosts performances. Check out the Poncan Theatre Website for the list of events or to purchase tickets!

Is the Poncan Theatre Haunted?

Several people claim to have had encounters with ghosts in the Poncan Theatre. For more information, please see this article from the Ponca City Monthly.

Sometimes, the Poncan hosts ghost tours so check that out if you’re interested in that kind of stuff. I spoke with local gentleman in town who attended one of the ghost tours and he said it was cool.

Concluding Thoughts

Walking through the Poncan Theatre was really cool! I dropped by on a Friday afternoon and the man at the front desk let me look around. The hand-painted lobby art and the dome ceiling inside the theatre were my favorite parts of the building! I hope to go back one day to either see a show or a movie! I hope you’ll go visit this important piece of entertainment history!

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

104 E. Grand Avenue

Ponca City, OK 74601

Sources

Websites

Chelsea McConnell, “A Haunted History of the Poncan Theatre,” Ponca City Monthly, October 29, 2021.

“Ethel Barrymore,” National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Open Access.

“The Jazz Singer” – Clip from Warner Bros.

Inflation Calculator

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Oklahoma Haunted Houses

“Poncan Theater Ghost” – Discover Oklahoma

“Poncan Theatre” – Northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country

Poncan Theatre – TravelOK.com

Poncan Theatre – Website

Rick Roger, “Ponca City Residents Proud of the Community’s 83-Year Old Poncan Theatre,” The Oklahoman, August 2, 2010.

“Will Rogers,” National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Open Access.

Newspapers

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), December 1, 1947. Page 10.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), December 21, 1947. Page 4.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City), February 11, 1948. Page 8.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), August 11, 1948. Page 6.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), April 18, 1949. Page 8.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), May 6, 1948. Page 16.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), May 2, 1949. Page 10.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), June 30, 1949. Page 15.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), September 23, 1953. Page 4.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), April 12, 1954. Page 4.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), March 12, 1957. Page 3.

The Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), June 19, 1959. Page 6.

Holmberg Hall @ The University of Oklahoma: Norman, OK

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the historic Holmberg Hall located on the University of Oklahoma (OU) campus in Norman, Oklahoma. Students across several generations have honed their skills as performers in this building and continue to do so today. They have gone on to become singers, actors, dancers, and so much more. Former OU President, David Boren even called Holmberg Hall, “an Oklahoma treasure and a monument to the importance of fine arts.” Let’s go see if this holds true!

*All photos of Holmberg Hall were take on the University of Oklahoma Campus in Norman, Oklahoma. All other images used in this article are cited in each picture caption.

History of the Building

“The Auditorium” was built in 1918, but was later rechristened “Holmberg Hall” in 1938 to honor Fredrik Holmberg. He was the first Dean of the College of Fine Arts and a Distinguished Professor of Music. Holmberg passionately advocated for fine arts education in Oklahoma.

The architecture follows the Cherokee Gothic Style, combining classic gothic architecture with influence from the American Indian tribes of Oklahoma. “Cherokee Gothic Style” was coined by Frank Lloyd Wright after he visited the University of Oklahoma. This style can been seen in many of the buildings on campus, but this article focuses on Holmberg Hall.

Can we take a minute to admire the turreted towers and the large wooden doorways of Holmberg Hall. I mean, the picture below doesn’t do the building justice. It truly is beautiful!

I visited the University of Oklahoma campus on a Sunday afternoon during Christmas Break before the Bedlam Wrestling match, so the buildings on campus weren’t open. But after reading descriptions from the website, I would love to go back someday and see the inside of the building! I can only imagine how pretty it is 🙂

From what I’ve read online, the inside of the building is just as beautiful as the outside. An article from OU describes the inside of the building as follows:

“Crimson carpet and cream walls sweep through the lobby with statues, paintings and unique photographs that showcase the impressive history of the building. A colorful mural anchors the lobby and includes an expansive frieze depicting a number of the distinguished guests to have visited the historic hall.”

University of Oklahoma Website

Wow! That sounds absolutely stunning, but there’s more to the inside of the building. The performance hall seats 677 people and is the only European-style hall in Oklahoma. (For those of you wondering what that looks like – think along the lines of a European opera house.)

Renovations & A New Name

Holmberg Hall underwent a large renovation beginning in 2002 and was completed in 2005. It cost several million dollars – $12.2 million coming from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and $5.8 million coming from university funding. The performance hall was restored, the practice rooms were renovated, and a dance wing was added to the facility. Other parts of the hall were renovated as well including the stage tower, orchestra pit, and parts of the stage. Finally, The dome ceiling was restored to its former glory.

Thanks to the large donation, the building and added facilities were renamed the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center. But many people still refer to it as Holmberg Hall because that’s what it has called for so many years. Remember, the building was christened “Holmberg Hall” in 1938!

Famous Visitors & Notable Events

Holmberg Hall has hosted several famous visitors over the years – former US President William Howard Taft, Louis Armstrong, and many more. Keep reading to see who else visited OU’s campus, when they visited, and why they came to Norman!

Former US President William Howard Taft visited the Holmberg Hall in 1920 to give the lecture “Our Place Among the Nations.” This talk was a part of the Norman Chamber of Commerce lecture series. Taft had been the 27th President of the United States from 1909-1913. So, it was pretty cool that he visited Norman for the lecture series.

Louis Armstrong, the jazz legend, visited Holmberg Hall on a few different occasions. He was invited to campus to perform his famous jazz music – I would have loved to hear him play. I bet those were some awesome performances!

Bud Wilkinson the OU football coach received the national trophy in Holmberg Hall. Wilkinson led the Sooners for seventeen years and had a winning record. The University of Oklahoma football team won the national championship in 1950, 1955, and 1956.

David L. Boren gave his acceptance speech in 1994 when becoming the University of Oklahoma’s next president. Boren had previously been a U.S. Senator. Then in a fitting end to a chapter in OU’s history, Boren returned to Holmberg Hall in 2017 to announce his plans to retire as the President of the University of Oklahoma after serving for 23 years.

Did you know that Holmberg Hall celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018?!

Concluding Thoughts

Holmberg Hall is an absolutely beautiful building. The architecture and attention to detail is impressive. Swing by the building if you are ever at the University of Oklahoma and while you’re near Holmberg Hall go ahead and make a stop at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art! Read my post about that museum next!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

560 Parrington Oval 
Norman, OK 73019 

Sources

Holmberg Hall Celebrates 100th Anniversary – OU

Holmberg Hall at University of Oklahoma as active as ever at 100 by K.S. McNutt for The Oklahoman

WILKINSON, CHARLES BURNHAM (1916–1994) – Oklahoma Historical Society

*Please click on image captions for links to photographs.

Christmas Gift Ideas from Museum Gift Shops

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, I am going to give you a few gift ideas you can find in museum gift shops! These gift ideas would be perfect for Christmas presents, birthday presents, or “I was thinking about you when I saw this” presents. Let’s get started!

So, I love visiting museums and stopping by the gift shop. They always have to coolest gifts you can give people in my opinion. The gift stores also help support the museum – why wouldn’t you want to do that?! Some museums have online gift stores, so, if you live out of state or know that someone in your life loves a particular museum you could always order something online!

Bonus Tip: I know a lot of people like to wait to find deals around the holidays when shopping for Christmas gifts, so here’s a tip, some museum gift shops will participate in Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. This means that they will have discounted items in the their store and online for a certain period of time – so make sure to check that out.

For the purpose of this article, I have broken the gift ideas into a few categories: gifts under $10, gifts under $25, gifts $25 and over, and museum memberships. I hope this helps with your shopping list!

Best Gifts Under $10

  • Magnets
  • Stickers
  • Keychains
  • Pens/Stationary
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Souvenir Glasses
  • Post Cards & Greeting Cards
  • Toys
  • Jewelry

Best Gifts Under $25

  • Books
  • Hats
  • T-Shirts or Sweatshirts
  • Toys
  • Figurines
  • Bags/Purses
  • Scarves/Accessories
  • Jewelry
  • Lotions, bath salts, etc.
  • Socks with fun prints
  • Ties/Bowties

Gift Ideas $25 +

  • Art
  • Figurines/Sculptures
  • Books
  • Sweatshirts or Clothing

Museum Memberships

Museum memberships are another great gift that you can give the museum lover in your life. A museum membership will allow someone to visit a museum as many time as they want within a given calendar year. Memberships have a range of options to choose from like only adults to adults and children. So, hop on over to the museum’s website to explore options or simply give them a call!

Concluding Thoughts

Hey friend, I hope these gift ideas help inspire you. Remember, a gift doesn’t have to be expensive to show someone that you care. Please try to support your local museums this holiday season!

I hope this helps with your shopping list! I’ll be looking at my local museums for the next several weeks so wish me luck and stay tuned to see if I finish my shopping list before Christmas!

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Where to Find Museum Discounts in Oklahoma!

Hey friend! Welcome back to another post. Today, I am going to tell you where to find discounts and passes to Oklahoma museums. I love, love, love going to museums! But I also understand that museum visits can get expensive… Keep reading for tips on how to find museum discounts in Oklahoma!

***These discount sites might be similar in other states within the United States so check them out for your area if you’re not in Oklahoma.

How to Get Into Museums for Free in Oklahoma

Many museums in Oklahoma actually allow visitors to walk through for free and ask for a small donation at the end of your visit. Here is a list of museums which have free admission in OKC!

Some museums even offer free admission days for children – so make sure to look up the museum admission page before you go visit!

Here are a couple of other different ways that you can get into museums for “free” in Oklahoma.

1. Experience Pass

The Oklahoma Metropolitan Library System has an Experience Pass which can be checked out from the library – you can go to the OKC Museum of Art, Oklahoma History Center, and the Museum of Osteology for free! You will need a library card to check out the passes, but library cards are free. You just need to go fill out an application at your local library.

Here are the links to each Experience Pass from the Oklahoma Metropolitan Library System: OKC Museum of Art, Oklahoma History Center, and Skeletons: Museum of Osteology.

2. Blue Star Museums (Armed Forces Day through Labor Day)

Blue Star Museums offer free admission to active duty military personnel and their families from Armed Forces Day to Labor Day. This is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums.

Here is a link to a map which shows the museums who participate in the Blue Star Museum Program across the United States. Just click on your state! Blue Star Museum Map!

Military Discounts

Many museums in Oklahoma offer discounted admission rates to military members and Veterans as long as you show your military I.D.

Museum Discount Websites in Oklahoma

Most states in the United States have travel websites that tell what you need to see when visiting a city. Most of these sites have coupons hidden in their pages. I stumbled across some museum coupons one day and am going to link those below!

VisitOKC.com is a website that has museum coupons! Most of the coupons expire at the end of the calendar year. Here are the coupons they currently have as of 2021: Science Museum Oklahoma, American Banjo Museum, Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

TravelOK and Discover Oklahoma are two websites which have a lot of travel tips for Oklahoma. I haven’t found any coupons on their websites, but they do list some of the military discounts. So you might want to check out their websites!

Museum Memberships

Museum memberships are another great way to save money on museum visits. Andddddd many museums will put their memberships at a discounted rate at certain times during the year. So you save even more $$$!

Museum memberships really pay for themselves within 2-3 visits! I frequent a few museums and love taking my friends with me – so the membership pass is totally worth it. My friends are able to get into the museum with me by using my membership pass. Its a win-win for everyone 🙂

College I.D. and Teacher Discounts

Many museums also offer discounts to college students and teachers. As a college student, I loved being able to save a few dollars by using my College I.D. card. When you walk in to pay admission just simply ask if they offer a student discount – some will and some won’t.

Museums also offer teacher discounts – so make sure to ask about that if you are an educator! Also, make sure to ask if they have any teacher resources for your classroom.

Concluding Thoughts

I love visiting museums and hope you will too! These are just a few of the ways that you can save money when visiting museums in Oklahoma. If there are any pages or discounts that I missed, please feel free to email me or drop me a message on the contact page linked here! I hope to keep this page up to date with the latest museum discounts.

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Oklahoma State Game Day Outfits: Football Edition

I LOVE football season, y’all! I love the stadium, the energy, cheering for my team, and everything else that goes with it! I especially love dressing up for games. Today, I am giving you several outfit ideas for an Oklahoma State football game! This will mostly be for the ladies, but one of my guy friends makes an appearance in some photos, so you can take some inspiration from him! Let’s get started!

First, for an Oklahoma State football game, there is never such a thing as “too much orange.” The more orange, the better! Go Pokes!

“I’ve got friends in lowwww places”

Is there anything more ‘Oklahoma State’ than singing ‘Friends in Low Places’ at a football game?! Thank you, Garth Brooks! I love seeing my friends at the games! Always try to take pictures with your friends! You’ll be thankful for the memories later 🙂

Accessories!

I recommend finding some cute orange jewelry (i.e. bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, etc.) The orange necklace below is a single strand of beads and can be styled in many different ways! For my Oklahoma State girls, I found the orange beads in the Student Union store, but I’ve seen them at other boutiques in Stillwater.

I have recently gotten into the button trend! Several of the boutiques in Stillwater and OKC have Oklahoma State buttons! I got mine from Wooden Nickel in Stillwater, but I’ve seen several other boutiques advertising buttons on their Instagram pages.

Orange and black hats are perfect for keeping the sun off of your face, just make sure not to lose it in the Oklahoma wind… “OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.” You can wear a baseball hat, bucket hat, or western fashion hat – the possibilities are endless!

Finally, cute purses can complete an outfit. Purses from Walmart or Target are perfect for tailgating! They’re cheap and cute!

Travel Tip: You can only take clear purses into Boone Pickens Stadium now – so keep that in mind if you’re going to the game! If you like a good bargain (like me), wait until after football season is over and then buy a clear purse! You’ll save lots of $$$! I saved $40 on my clear purse!

Clothes!

I love layering basic, solid-colored pieces when picking out an outfit. I also love adding an unexpected texture to pieces when I can. The orange skirt above is faux leather and so much fun – I found it at the Student Union store! Black leather skirts are also super cute with an Oklahoma State t-shirt.

I love a solid color dress – black, orange, white, cream, or denim. Add some cute accessories and you’re set! Just make sure that it’s not a super windy day… I know that’s hard to find in Oklahoma (LOL).

You can never go wrong with an Oklahoma State t-shirt! There are several opportunities for students to get free shirts on campus, but if you’ve graduated (like me) make sure to stop by the thrift stores in town to save money on t-shirts. You can cut them into crop tops if you’d like to! All of the boutiques also have t-shirts, but they can be a little bit expensive… Again, wait until after football season for those t-shirts to go on sale!

Don’t forget about Oklahoma State jerseys! You can wear a football jersey, basketball jersey, or baseball jersey. This is a fun way to change up your look. You can find jerseys online, Walmart in Stillwater, the Student Union store, or TJ Maxx. My friend and I found Nike Oklahoma State jerseys at the TJ Maxx in Stillwater for $30 which is CRAZY! Make sure to check TJ Maxx out!

Shoes!

If you know me, then you know that I LOVE shoes. I’m short, so the orange platforms (above) were perfect for me! I found them at Target, but I’ve seen similar shoes on Amazon.

Cowboy boots are ALWAYS acceptable! You’ve always got be prepared to ‘boot scootin boogie!’

I also love a good bargain when shoe shopping! I found the black over-the-knee boots at the Crazy Days Sale in Stillwater. Every Summer, Stillwater hosts a several-day sale event across town and lots of boutiques participate. The black boots were originally like $80 and I got them for $15 – heck yeah!

OK State Homecoming Outfit Ideas!

Who doesn’t love Homecoming at Oklahoma State?! It’s a big deal every year and it’s going to be even bigger this year (2021) because we’re celebrating the Homecoming Centennial! You’ll definitely want to start preparing your outfits now. Yes, outfits, there are so many different events that you can attend!

First, you’ll want to find an outfit for the orange fountain dyeing! I recommend going casual! I typically wear jeans/shorts and a cute shirt. Guys, you’ll want to wear a t-shirt or polo like my friend below! After the orange dye completely colors the water orange, you can come back and take more pictures later.

Photo Tip: You can NEVER go wrong with a classic cowboy boot picture at Oklahoma State University. You don’t have boots? That’s ok! Wear whatever makes you happy and shows that you’re “loyal and true!”

OK State Walk Around Outfit Inspo!

Walk Around is another OSU Homecoming tradition. You basically walk through all of the decs that the Sorority and Fraternities build. You can see an example pictured below. Those decs are made out of chicken wire and tissue paper! Some even move! They’re pretty impressive!

Tip: “Pomping” is where take the tissue paper and stick it into the chicken wire. The Greek community on campus will talk about this for months…

Cold Weather Game Day Outfits!

Cold weather games happen toward the end of football season in Oklahoma. My best tip is to layer up – you might be hot at the beginning of the game, but you’ll be thankful by the end to have those layers! Always put a pair of gloves in your pocket!

Denim jackets are another closet staple for cold games! Make sure to grab an Oklahoma State button and pin it on the front! Fringe jackets are also so, so cute!

Beanies and ear bands will save you when the games get cold! My sister and I got these ear bands at Kohls in Oklahoma City! But you can find them online as well on other websites!

Don’t Forget the Face Stickers!

Face stickers are another fun way to change up your game day look! You can go small and basic – like the stickers below or they make bigger stickers. If you’re dedicated, you can even paint your whole face orange and sit with the Paddle People!

Concluding Thoughts

I LOVE football season! I hope these outfits inspire you to create your own perfect game day look! Get loud and go cheer on the Oklahoma State Cowboys! Go Pokes!

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Pops: Arcadia, OK

Hey, y’all today we’re going to take a little trip down Route 66! I’m going to take you to Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma. The Round Barn is less than a minute away from Pops – so you can easily hit both spots in the same afternoon! 

This iconic place is open 7 days a week – minus a few holidays – so you can literally check this place out any time! You can gas up your car, head inside to the old-fashioned diner for a delicious hamburger, and then pick out a unique bottle of soda!

*All photos were taken at Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma.

History of Pops

The Pops restaurant opened in 2007. The establishment was owned by Aubrey McClendon, a late oil and gas magnate from Oklahoma. The building was designed by Elliot + Associates architects – a noted architecture firm. The building’s architecture has a ultra-modern look! Their design for the Pops location has won them many awards. 

Dirt Soda?!

Pops boasts over 600 kinds of soda – so there will definitely be something for everyone. They have the classics that everyone loves, but then there’s also flavors like Ranch and Dirt. Try them if you’re brave enough! My parents always told me and my sister to not eat the dirt… 

Photo Time!

Make sure to head outside for a photo op with the gigantic bottle! The iconic soda bottle in front of Pops is 66 feet tall and it weighs in at 4 tons. The bottle’s height of 66 feet is a nod to Route 66 which it sits on. The soda bottle can be seen for miles on the prairies of Oklahoma. It even lights up with LED lights after sunset and has the old neon look that Route 66 has become known for. It is truly a spectacular light show! 

Travel Tip: Make sure to check the giant bottle out both during the day and after it gets dark! It’s really cool to take photos both during the day and night! See examples below!  

Concluding Thoughts

This fun place embodies the spirit of Route 66 being free-wheeling, colorful, and most importantly – fun! I don’t know about you, but all this talking has me thirsty… I’m gonna go grab a soda. 

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂


Visit

660 W. Highway 66

Arcadia, OK 73007

Sources

Pops Website

POPS in Arcadia undergoes a change in ownership

Pops – TravelOK

Rock Island Railroad Car: Choctaw, OK

The Rock Island Railroad Car is located in Choctaw, Oklahoma at the intersection of 23rd and Henney. Choctaw is a suburb of Oklahoma City so getting to this railroad car was super easy! It is a red-ish colored Rock Island railroad car – so you know what to look for! The train car is numbered Rock Island Car 17725!

To get to the railroad car you will pull into a gravel parking lot on the southeast side of the intersection. Then you will walk along a sidewalk to get to the car.

Travel Tip: The sidewalk only goes to one side of the car so if you want to walk around the car, I would suggest wearing closed-toe shoes. The grass was a little bit tall when I went, but other reviews on Google say it is usually well-maintained.

*All photos were taken at the Railroad Car in Choctaw, Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, there is not a plaques on the site… so I don’t know how long the railroad car has been in Choctaw or who purchased it? If you are reading this post and know the answers to these questions – please send me a message on my contact page and I will update this article!

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Visit

14003 NE 23rd St

Choctaw, OK 73020

Sources

Stillwater Museum of History at the Sheerar: Stillwater, OK

The Stillwater Museum of History at the Sheerar is a local history museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Their goal is to preserve Stillwater and Payne County history from Oklahoma Territory days to the present.

Wood pieces from the original Old Central structure located on the campus of Oklahoma State University.

*All photos were taken at the Stillwater Museum of History at the Sheerar in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Museum History

The Stillwater History Museum is located on the bottom floor of the Sheerar Cultural and Heritage Center. The building originally housed the First Church of Christ Scientist and was built in 1928.

The museum opened in 1974 – originally operated by the Stillwater Arts and Humanities Council. The facility was named for Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Sheerar who made a sizable donation to the museum. Beginning in 1989, the Stillwater History Museum was owned and operated by the Stillwater Museum Association. In 2017, the museum officially changed its name to the Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar.

Travel Tip: There is a beautiful auditorium on the upper floor of the Sheerar which seats 200 people. Church services are still regularly held in the auditorium. You can also rent the space for weddings and events if you’re interested!

Exhibits

This museum has several exhibit spaces – some are permanent, while some are traveling! Some of the exhibits include: Stillwater Collects, Main Street Memories, the Victorian Parlor, and the Gerald and Harriet Thuesen Gallery. Two of the previous traveling exhibits were the “Daughters of the American Revolution” exhibit and “Early Oklahoma: Black Hope/Black Dreams.” These were both really cool exhibits!

There is something new every time I visit this museum – so make sure to check it out whenever you are in Stillwater or driving through town!

My Favorite Pieces

My favorite piece in the Stillwater History Museum would have to be the old Pistol Pete mascot head. It’s so different than Oklahoma State University’s current Pistol Pete look, but there’s just something cool and unique about it. The Pistol Pete head is a part of the permanent collection – so you should always be able to see this one!

I also like the exhibit piece about how turnips saved Stillwater! The sign for this one caught my attention and I loved reading the story! Because you wouldn’t think that something as simple as a turnip could save a town…

Personal Connection

I have a personal connection to this museum. I was a volunteer my senior year of undergrad in college. I helped with weekend children’s programming and designed flyers for events. I learned a lot while volunteering for the museum that year. I totally recommend volunteering at your local history museum if you have the time and resource to do so! 🙂

Concluding Thoughts

I love stopping in to visit this museum when I am in Stillwater! I love seeing the new exhibits and learning new things! I hope you’ll make a trip and go check out this awesome local museum! The workers and volunteers are always so kind when I stop in and visit.

Bonus! If you can’t make a trip to Stillwater, they do have a virtual tour option on their website! (sheerarmuseum.org)

Travel Tip: Make sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out! They recently added magnets to their shop and they’re super cool. I try to get a magnet at every museum I visit and was thrilled that they had some new ones on my last visit! I also picked up a really cool Native American history map, prairie bonnet, and some historical document replicas for some of my upcoming YouTube videos. You never know what you’ll find in the gift shops at local museums!

If you’re interested in watching my history videos – my YouTube Channel is linked HERE!

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂


Visit

702 S. Duncan
Stillwater, OK 74074

Sources

Stillwater Museum of History at the Sheerar Website

Harrah History Center: Harrah, OK

The Harrah History Center is managed by the Harrah Historical Society in Harrah, Oklahoma. This was a cute little town I visited in central Oklahoma. It’s located about 45 minutes East of Oklahoma City.

Travel Tip: The museum is only open on certain days of the week. Currently, that day is Tuesday from 10-4 p.m., but it’s still a good idea to call ahead and make sure that someone is there. They answered the phone very quickly on the day I visited 🙂

*All photos were taken at the Harrah Historical Society Museum in Harrah, Oklahoma.

Museum History

The Harrah History Center was opened in April 1999. The museum is maintained by the Harrah Historical Society. This is a small, local museum run by a group of volunteers whose mission is preserve the town’s history for the next generation to enjoy and learn from!

Town History

The area was discovered by Louis Navarre in the 1870s – he described it as a paradise. He returned in 1889 to establish a residence. On September 22, 1891, the lands of the Sac and Fox, Iowa, Potawatomi, and Absentee Shawnee were opened. Lots of people flooded into the area. In 1891, E.W. Sweeney purchased a townsite. He owned and operated a ferry business to cross the river. He eventually built the Sweeney Bridge. By 1892, 10 Polish families moved to the area. They settled in the Canadian River Bottom.

May 23, 1895, the Kickapoo Lands were opened. Harrah was located on the South side of the North Canadian River. The Kickapoo land was North of the River. The Potawatomi Lands were South of the River.

The Pennington Post Office was built on March 13, 1894 – this is present-day Harrah. The Post Office changed the name to Sweeney on March 30, 1896. The Post Office name was changed again to Harrah on December 22, 1898. The original Post Office certificate proudly hangs on the wall of the Harrah History Center.

Louis and Julia Navarre sold 32 acres of land to Frank Harrah in April 1898. This was platted as the original townsite of Harrah. A plat is a plan or map of an area of land.

Soon, the railroad built a line through the town. The Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad was the specific company who built the line. This meant that Harrah had some of the most advanced transportation at the time! The town of Harrah is still located in central Oklahoma today. Many of the families in town can trace their roots back to some of the original settlers. The volunteers at the Harrah History Center showed me some of the artifacts that can be traced back to the town’s founding.

Concluding Thoughts

The Harrah Historical Society is a great local museum to go visit if you are looking for a day trip outside of OKC. I was not disappointed and loved getting to chat with the volunteers.

Please make time to go and visit the local history museums in your area!

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Travel Tip: I stumbled across a super cool monarch butterfly mural down the street from the history museum! You can stand in front of the butterfly and make it look like you have wings! The mural was huge and made a perfect selfie spot!


Visit

20881 Main St,

Harrah, OK 73045

Sources

Harrah Historical Society Website

National Wrestling Hall of Fame: Stillwater, OK

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It sits on the Northeast end of the Oklahoma State University campus! I didn’t learn about this museum until I moved to Stillwater for college. My first visit was during spring break of my junior year – I had been in town for a few months at that point and wanted to explore a little bit! I found the museum’s website and had to check it out! I was not disappointed!

Oklahoma State University is known for their college wrestling team. So wrestling is a BIG DEAL in Stillwater. John Smith has been the head coach for years! John Smith is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He won 2 Olympic Gold medals! Go Pokes!

Travel Tip: The museum has 2 sets of podiums on the inside that you can take photos on! So it might be fun for kids to take some of their medals and pose for a picture. If you don’t have any medals – you can find plastic medals fairly cheap at Walmart in the party section or at the Dollar Store. I hope you enjoy making some fun memories 🙂

Let’s talk more about this museum though!

*All photos were taken at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Museum History

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame was built in 1976 with the goals of preserving history and inspiring future generations of wrestlers. This museum contains all kinds of artifacts from shoes and singlets to Olympic gold medals!

Wrestling is a sport that anyone can participate in and enjoy. Their collections showcases the diversity in the sport!

My Favorite Pieces

I didn’t have a favorite piece in this collection. I wasn’t very familiar with the history of wrestling before going to this museum. So I liked the various displays that talked about the history of the sport! It was easy to understand and very well put together.

I did like the painting pictured below though! I loved the bright colors!

There was also a really cool display about Presidents who wrestled!

Concluding Thoughts

This was a really cool museum and I learned a lot about the sport of wrestling! Go check it out!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂


Visit

405 West Hall of Fame Avenue
Stillwater, OK 74075

Sources

National Wrestling Hall of Fame Website

Frank Eaton’s Historic Home & The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza: Perkins, OK

Hey friend! Welcome back to another museum adventure! Today, I want to tell you about Frank Eaton’s Historic Home and the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza.

The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza was dedicated on September 20, 2008 in Perkins, Oklahoma. It was an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial commemoration in 2007. (The Oklahoma Centennial was November 16, 2007.)

Travel Tip: The buildings are only open on Saturday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. for certain parts of the year. So make sure to check their hours if you want to go inside the buildings! If you don’t want to go inside then you can walk around the outside of the buildings any day of the week.

Frank Eaton aka “Pistol Pete”

Now you might be wondering why the name Frank Eaton sounds familiar – well, that’s because Frank Eaton is “Pistol Pete” the inspiration. And for those who don’t know – Pistol Pete is the mascot at Oklahoma State University. Go Pokes!

Frank Eaton was born on October 26, 1860 in Connecticut. Then his family moved to Kansas in 1868. By 1876, Eaton’s mother and sisters had moved to Indian Territory. His father was murdered so Eaton moved to Fort Gibson to learn everything the soldiers would teach him. He was given the nickname “Pistol Pete” when he outshot everyone at the fort.

For more information about the life of Frank Eaton, please see the Frank Eaton Historic Home website or read his autobiography!

Frank Eaton and his wife, Anna, lived in the home pictured below from 1929-1958. The home was built around the turn of the twentieth century (c. 1900) and is still in excellent condition due to preservation efforts. A team of people completely re-did the inside to make it look just like the Eaton’s had styled it. You can compare old pictures to the building today. The original address of the home was 119 E. Chantry in Perkins, Oklahoma.

*All photos were taken at the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza in Perkins, Oklahoma. The photo with Pistol Pete the mascot was taken at OSU.

CCC Outhouse

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) operated from 1933-1942 as one of FDR’s programs. There is a CCC Outhouse close to the Eaton Home. It was built in 1935 in Payne County, Oklahoma.

Cimarron Valley Railroad Museum

The Cimarron Valley Railroad Museum was founded by the Read family in Cushing, Oklahoma in 1970. They acquired the Santa Fe Depot from Yale, Oklahoma that was built in 1916 and moved the building to Cushing to house the museum. The museum won an Oklahoma Heritage Association award in 1974 for preserving Oklahoma’s rail history.

The museum has all kinds of cool railroad artifacts! They have Pullman items, lanterns, signs, tools, furniture, and so much more! You literally need to walk through this museum and talk to the volunteers to understand the importance of this place.

Canadian Pacific “Metapedia” Railroad Car

Travel Tip: Sometimes the volunteers will open the train car and let you walk through it! I was lucky the day I visited the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza because I got to walk through the car. Shoutout to the awesome museum volunteer! 🙂

The Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) car was built in 1903 as a wooden dining car. It was converted into a high capacity parlor car in 1917. In 1919, it became a business coach assigned to president of the CPR, D.C. Coleman. In the 1920s it was renamed the “Metapedia.” Coleman got a new railroad car in 1929 and the “Metapedia” was reassigned. The CPR retired the coach car from use in 1975. It was bought by Pierre Trudeau and Guy Trudeau who wanted to use it as an office building. A Guthrie man bought the car in 1978 from a listing in the Trains Magazine. It was shipped by rail to Guthrie, Oklahoma!

Finally, the railroad car was donated to the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza in 2013. It is truly a magnificent car to walk through. The detail is so intricate and the volunteer was very knowledgeable. For more information about railroad history in Perkins, Oklahoma please see the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza website!

AT&SF Caboose

The AT&SF Caboose 999627 was originally built in 1949, but was rebuilt in 1976 and given its new number. It’s really hard to miss! It’s bright red and sits next to the Perkins sign on the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza.

Methodist Episcopal Church

The Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1892. It is the oldest public building in Perkins, Oklahoma and Payne County! Today, church is held there and you can rent the facility for events.

IXL Schoolhouse

The IXL Schoolhouse was built in 1896 in Payne County.

Bud’s Service Station

Bud’s Service Station was built c. 1957 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The building is made with porcelain and enamel. The building was moved to Perkins and is being restored by the Cimarron Starlite Cruisers Car Club.

There are a bunch of cool car and service station items in this museum. The volunteer was super kind and answered all of my car questions. He even turned on the juke box and let me see how the inside of it worked! Talk about cool!

Farm Museum

The Vassar Barn is behind the Eaton Home. It was built in 1919 in Lincoln County, Oklahoma.

The Davis-Longan Log Cabin was built in 1901 in Payne County, Oklahoma. You can’t walk inside this building, but you can peek in the windows and it is super cool inside.

Veteran’s Memorial

There is a beautiful Veteran’s Memorial honoring those who served in the Revolutionary War, War 0f 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza website has a Veteran’s Honor Roll with all of the names including Veteran’s of more recent wars.

Concluding Thoughts

The Oklahoma Territorial Plaza in Perkins, Oklahoma is definitely worth a visit! Remember they are only open on Saturdays for certain months of the year. But they do have an appointment option available on their website! Go check out this super cool place full of local history.

Also, make sure to talk to the volunteers because they are kind and awesome!

Travel Tip: There are activities for kids to do, but I would be careful taking younger kids to these museums because they might not be as interested. But I want to note that there is a playground and splash pad in the park. So there are things for young kids to do if they don’t want to walk around the museums!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂


Visit

750 N Main St.

Perkins, OK 74059

Sources

Oklahoma Territorial Plaza Website

Sam Noble Museum of Natural History: Norman, OK

Hey y’all! Welcome back to another museum review! Today, we’re visiting the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, Oklahoma. I loved visiting this museum when I was little. My dad would take me, my sister, and my Nana to go see the dinosaurs. We lovingly called it the “Dinosaur Museum” and still call it that to this day!

As a child, I had an obsession with dinosaurs and wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up. I seriously thought I could find dinosaur bones in my grandparents pasture if I looked hard enough! Ohhh to be young and full of dreams – my Nana and Papa let me dig holes to my hearts content.

Back to the museum though, my last visit to this museum was during my sophomore year of college. So the pictures are a few years old, but they are photos of the permanent collections so these items are still there! Let’s get started!

Museum History

The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History opened to the public on May 1, 2000 and is located on the University of Oklahoma (OU) campus in Norman, Oklahoma. The museum’s collection was founded in 1899! There are over 10 million specimens ranging from earth sciences, life sciences, and social sciences stored in 12 collections! Those 12 collection categories are: archaeology, ethnology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate paleontology, mammalogy, Native American languages, the Oklahoma collection of genomic resources, ornithology, paleobotany, recent invertebrates, and vertebrate paleontology. Wow!

The Sam Noble also conducts extensive research and the curators teach classes at OU! Additionally, Undergraduate and Graduate students have an opportunity to do hands-on research.

Exhibits

There are 6 permanent exhibits in the museum: the Orientation Gallery, Hall of World Cultures, Hall of Ancient Life, Hall of Natural Wonders, Hall of People of Oklahoma, and the Conoco Oil Pioneers of Oklahoma Plaza.

The Pentaceratops Skelton pictured below is one of my favorite pieces in the entire collection. It’s massive, y’all. This skeleton holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest at 10.5 feet! Keep reading to see my most favorite piece!

*All photos were taken at the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, Oklahoma.

My Favorite Piece

This dinosaur skeleton is my most favorite piece in the entire collection. Remember at the beginning how I told you about my dinosaur obsession as a child – well imagine walking into the museum and seeing this right in front of you! Talk about a dream come true!

But do you want to know the coolest part? This photo was taken from an elevator that takes you to eye-level with the dinosaur! Yes, eye-level with a dinosaur. Literally, the best thing ever!

Concluding Thoughts

I love the visiting the “Dinosaur Museum,” but don’t get to go very often. It’s always a special day when I get to road trip to see the dinosaurs! I hope to make it back to this museum sometime soon!

Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂


Visit

2401 Chautauqua Ave.

Norman, Oklahoma 73072

Sources

Sam Noble Museum Website