Hey friend, welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
This was the first time I had visited this museum in about 10 years. There were new exhibits and updates that were so cool! My appreciation for the history of Oklahoma has grown and evolved since I was in high school so it was fun to see everything in a new light.
*All photos used in this post were taken by myself at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Enjoy these photos from the various galleries throughout the museum. There’s so much to see and read so I’ll let you visit the museum for yourself 🙂
TRAVEL TIP: There is an audio tour available for the museum in English, Spanish, French, and German.
Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma
Sonic was the place to be after school when I was in high school. Everyone would drive down there to hang out and grab food or a drink, especially after swim practice! Lemonade was my favorite 🙂
ONEOK, Inc. Gallery
We Are Who We Were: American Indians in Oklahoma
Gaylord Special Exhibits Gallery
Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space
I thought this exhibit about Oklahomans in space was so interesting! There were vehicles, space suits, and even moon rocks!
African American Experience
Oil and Gas
The Oklahoma History Center has a really cool exhibit on the steamboat Heroine. This vessel weighed 160 tons and was 140 feet long! This boat is thought to have been one of the first steamboats to navigate the upper Red River. (See the map on the wall when you visit!)
Sadly, the Heroine sank in May 1838 a few miles from its destination… It had been carrying supplies for soldiers at various military forts.
The Heroine was considered a veteran vessel because it had been operating for around 5 years which was a LONG time for a steamboat in the nineteenth century. This was dangerous work!
The Red River changed course in the 1840s and the Heroine wound up being found in a pasture! Teams from the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University worked together to excavate the site from 1999 into the mid-2000s.
The hull of the boat filled with sand sealing much of its content. Some of the wreckage survived and allowed archaeologists to further study steamboat constructions from the mid-nineteenth century. Contents from the cargo also survived allowing historians to study more about westward expansion in the early-nineteenth century.
To learn more about the Heroine, please visit the Oklahoma Historical Society website! I’ve linked the website at the end of this post.
Sam Noble Gallery
Law and Order
Farming and Ranching
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
I loved this gallery! There was information about sod houses, cattle trails, and farming – and we all know how much I love American Western history 🙂
Can we also talk about how cool the “Oklahoma!” marquee sign is in this photo? I wonder if the Oklahoma History Center would tell me where they found letters that big?! LOVE IT!
Red River Journey (Outside the Museum)
You can also walk around the outside of the Oklahoma History Center to see the following pieces:
Great Spirit Buffalo II by Phillip Haozous
Liberty Bell Reproduction
Lodge by Bob Haozous
Extinct by Bob Haozous
Civil War Cannon
Vietnam-era Huey Helicopter
Devon Energy Oil and Gas Park
OG&E Energy Corp. 14 Flags Over Oklahoma
Unconquered by Allan Houser
Monarch at Rest by Harold T. Holden
I loved visiting this museum again! I always find it interesting when I go back and visit places that I went to when I was younger. My love and appreciation for history has grown so much over the past decade and I love seeing things from a new perspective.
I hope you’ll check this museum out whenever you’re in Oklahoma City!
Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
TRAVEL TIP: The Oklahoma Historical Society has a membership program that you can purchase that is extremely reasonable. I purchased a basic membership which allows you to visit all of their sites. I’ve used mine several times already and can’t wait to visit more places!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid, Oklahoma. There are so many cool things to see at this site. Let’s go look around!
*All photos were taken by myself at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid, Oklahoma.
History of the Center
The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center is located in Enid, Oklahoma. This museum focuses on the history of Northwestern Oklahoma and the 1893 Land Run. Additionally, the museum explores pioneer history, agriculture, drilling for oil, Vance Air Force Base, education, and more!
The permanent exhibits at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center were so cool! I have included a few photos from some of the galleries. The sod house exhibit was my personal favorite.
Humphrey Heritage Village
The Humphrey Heritage Village is a living history village located at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. There are several historic buildings you can walk around and go inside! It’s so cool!
Original Land Run Office from 1893
This is the last standing U.S. Land Office from the 1893 land run. There were 4 land offices located in Alva, Enid, Perry, and Woodward. 21,000 homestead claims were filed at this office in Enid!
The Land Office was originally located on the East side of the city square in Enid before being relocated to the Humphrey Heritage Village at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. The building has been restored and it is so cool on the inside!
The wooden posts in photo 7 below were used to measure and mark claims according to the map on the wall. The surveyors had to lay these posts out before the land run took place.
The plaque in photo 10 outside of the building reads: “This is the only remaining US land office from the 6 Oklahoma land runs (1889-1896) and other Oklahoma land openings. This office was built in Enid for the registration of claims in County O, later named Garfield County, for the land run in the Cherokee Outlet on September 16, 1893. It was moved to the Humphrey Heritage Village and restored by the Heritage League, the Champlin Foundation and the Oklahoma Historical Society.” This marker was dedicated on February 21, 1997.
Turkey Creek School from 1896
Originally, the Turkey Creek School was located about 10 miles southwest of Enid close to the Imo area.
Construction on this one-room schoolhouse began in 1895 and took three years to complete. The parents of the students built the building so their students could receive an education. The first class was held in 1898! What’s really cool is the original alphabet board still hangs on the wall of the schoolhouse today!
The school eventually closed in 1947 and the building was relocated a few times before it was moved to the Humphrey Heritage Village.
Glidewell House from 1905
The Glidewell House was built in 1905 by James W. and Alice Glidewell near Helena, Oklahoma in Alfalfa County. The home was built in the Victorian style and has the original gingerbread wooden trim. The two-story home has several rooms! There are four bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining room, study, and a sitting room (upstairs).
Lora Lee Woodall and Betty Lou Graft, the granddaughters of the Glidewells donated the home to the Oklahoma Historical Society.
You can walk through on a tour and see furniture and other items that were original to the home. Personally, I loved seeing all of the furniture pieces!
Episcopal Church from 1902
This was the first Episcopal Church built in Enid for the St. Matthew’s congregation in 1902. Reverend Francis Key Brooke preached his first sermon from the back of a wagon! He came to Enid during the land run.
Misc. Pieces in the Village
Imprinting the West – Temporary Exhibit
I loved this museum, I spent a few hours here on a Saturday morning and went on the tour of the Humphrey Heritage Village. The tour is well worth your time and the staff member who led it was so kind and knowledgable.
I want to give a shout-out to the other staff members at this museum as well. They were super friendly and answered all my questions about Enid. They even gave recommendations for places to eat around town which was great for me!
I definitely recommend visiting this museum and chatting with the people there!
TRAVEL TIP: Make sure to go on the tour of the Humphrey Heritage Village! I learned a lot!
Hey friend – welcome back to another post! Today, we’re looking at a statue in Carney, Oklahoma that honors World War I Doughboys. The statue sits in the Woody Wilson Memorial Park.
Highway 177 intersects the town of Carney. I have driven up and down that highway many times, but never pulled off to drive through the actual town of Carney. It was cool to stop and look around to find this statue!
*All photos in this post were taken by myself in Carney, Oklahoma.
WWI Doughboy Statue
Claude Fisher completed this statue in 1940 to honor the WWI troops who were known as Doughboys. The Doughboy stands at attention with his rifle directly in front of him. He has both hands wrapped around the barrel of the gun with the butt resting on the ground in front of him.
The Doughboy stands atop a concrete base that was decorated with rocks. The plaque reads: “In memory of our boys – 1917 & 1918.”
According to waymarking.com, Claude Fisher’s son said his father made the framework of the statue using metal car parts. He would then take the bag that the cement came in and use it to form the body. Finally, he would pour the concrete, let it partially set, and mold it before it dried completely.
This process took a lot of time, patience, and talent. The statue still looks great today in 2023!
Other Signs in Woody Wilson Memorial Park
There were a few other signs in this memorial so I have included a few photos below!
Carney, Oklahoma – Designated A Bicentennial City
“Carney began with the opening of Iowa Sac and Fox Indian lands in 1891. Because of a large water spring, it was an over night camp site for freight and stage lines between Guthrie and Chandler. The town was named for Carney Staples, surveyor and first store keeper. His wife was the first acting post master.”
Dedicated June 19, 1976
This was fun road tip for me and the statue was really cool to see! I hope you’ll look up the historical statues in your area and pay them a visit!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Sistine Chapel exhibit that was on display in Oklahoma City from September through December 2022. Sadly, it is no longer open in OKC, but if it’s in a city near you then I totally recommend checking it out. So, let’s talk about it!
*All photos were taken by myself at the Sistine Chapel Exhibit in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
What is the Sistine Chapel?
The Sistine Chapel was built from 1473-1481 by Giovanni die Dolci for Pope Sixtus IV. It is a rectangular building with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and there are six arched windows on the long sides of the building. The exterior of the building is fairly plain, but the inside of the building is another story. The decor is immaculate. There are frescos on a majority of the walls and the ceiling depicting different Popes and Biblical scenes.
How is a fresco made? An artist takes water-based pigments and paints over moist lime plaster while it is still wet.
A handful of artists were commissioned to decorate the interior of the chapel. The most famous artist being Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Michelangelo had arrived in Rome in 1505. He considered himself to be more of a sculptor than a painter and intended to sculpt a mausoleum for Pope Julius II, but that didn’t happen… Instead, Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1506 by Pope Julius II.
The ceiling covers approximately 8611 square feet and Michelangelo would paint most of the ceiling without assistance – a huge feat!
Pope Julius II wanted the theme of the work to be the Twelve Apostles, but Michelangelo found this boring and had other ideas. Michelangelo decided to create frescos made of multiple scenes from the Old and New Testaments in the Bible for the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The framework he chose for the piece has interested people for centuries. He began with Creation and ended with The Last Judgement, but he didn’t move in a linear fashion.
After four and a half years of painting, Michelangelo’s ceiling frescos were finished. A festival was held on All Saint’s Day in 1512 to open the Sistine Chapel.
In 1536, Michelangelo returned to Rome to redesign the altar wall at the request of Pope Paul III. Five years later, Michelangelo finished the “Last Judgment.” The center of the painting features Jesus separating humanity into the chosen and the damned. It is a very detailed piece (there is a photo below).
Sistine Chapel Restoration
A controversial project to restore the frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel took places in the 1980s. This project took ten years to complete. They removed dirt, smoke, and varnish that had accumulated on the frescos for centuries. The vibrancy of the colors were finally able to be seen once again.
The Sistine Chapel Exhibit in Oklahoma City
“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition” is a breathtaking traveling exhibit. The technology used to create the replica panels involved photography and special printing techniques. Many of the photographs used had been taken during the restoration project.
There are 34 massive panels that showcase what Michelangelo painted on the Sistine Chapel. You can see the brush strokes and minor details of the original pieces on the panels. The panels are HUGE! I am standing next to a panel in the photo below and you can see how big it really is.
How much time should I budget to walk through this exhibit?
This exhibit will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes to walk through.
There is an app to download when you arrive with a guided audio tour. There is a QR code to scan at each panel which will take you to the correct audio clip. You can also manually select on the app which clip you want to listen to as well. Each clip lasts anywhere from 2-5ish minutes on the guided audio tour. My friend played the audio on their phone and we shared wireless headphones so we could both hear the same thing at the same time.
There was also a poster with information to read at each panel which was nice.
As for seating, there were a few benches spread throughout the exhibit in Oklahoma City. This gave you a chance to to sit and observe the panels more closely if you wanted to.
“The Creation of Adam” has always been one of my favorite pieces of art. (Photo above) I have a small replica in my living room of the fingers nearly touching. To see it up close and huge was amazing. I really don’t have any other words to say about it. I sat here and looked at this painting for several minutes. I was thankful they placed a bench here!
I have included a few photos of some of the some of the other panels that were on display. There is no way I could include them all here… The colors and the details are stunning. The patience that Michelangelo needed to create these masterpieces must have been great.
My friend really liked this panel, the “Last Judgement. (Pictured above) The detail in this panel is stunning. The longer you sit and look at it – the more things you notice about the painting. What is the first thing you notice about this piece?
I LOVED this exhibit and my friend said they enjoyed it too. If you have a chance to see this exhibit, I definitely recommend going. Tickets were a little bit pricey in Oklahoma City, but the experience was worth it to me.
TRAVEL TIP: Make sure to take a pair of fully-charged headphones to the exhibit with you so you can listen to the audio tour!
They also had a gift shop at the end of the exhibition with different items you could purchase. I wound up getting a magnet for my collection and a beautiful coffee mug with “The Creation of Adam” on it 🙂
Hey there, welcome to my blog! My name is Kaitlyn and I have a passion for history. I have a master’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University (OSU) and love to write about history tips and museum visits! This post includes some of my favorite museums and historic sites to visit in Stillwater, Oklahoma. For more information about each individual museum or historic site, please click on my blog links or the Instagram posts at the end of each section – let’s get started!
Oklahoma State University – Stillwater Campus
Old Central is the oldest building on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. It currently houses the Honors College at OSU and I had a few classes in the basement when I was a student. It’s a really neat building that contains so much history!
For more information on preservation efforts and current pictures of the building, see my longer blog post: Old Central
Willard Hall (Left) & Edmon Low Library (Right)
OSU Student Union (Left) & Gundersen (Right)
Thatcher Hall Air Park
The Thatcher Hall Air Park at OSU honors ROTC and veterans. There is a plane, two canons, and several plaques to walk around and see. For more information, see my longer blog post: ROTC Thatcher Hall Air Park
Nancy Randolph Davis Statue
The Nancy Randolph Davis statue stands in front of the Nancy Randolph Davis building on Monroe street (this is the middle of the OSU campus). Her story is inspiring and I hope you’ll read my longer blog post to learn more!
Heritage Hall inside of Gallagher Iba Arena tells the history of Oklahoma State University athletics. This hall covers all sports at OSU and has some of the coolest memorabilia – like the old Pistol Pete head pictured below. Stop by before or after attending an athletic event at OSU or stop by Monday-Friday during business hours.
Oklahoma State University is known for its wrestling program which has won 34 NCAA Championships. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is on the North Eastern corner of the Oklahoma State campus. It’s a neat place to visit with a ton of cool history. Don’t forget your camera so you can take a picture on the podium!
The Oklahoma State University Museum of Art is a small art museum in Downtown Stillwater. Exhibits rotate in and out pretty frequently, so there is always something new to see. The historic building that houses the museum is beautiful!
The Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar is one of my favorite places to visit in Stillwater. The museum tells the story of the founding of Stillwater and how the town has progressed. There is also rotating exhibits so there’s something new to see each month!
There are other historical markers all across Stillwater! I’ll drop the addresses below so you can go find them if you want to!
Last “Boomer” Town (Left) & Land Run Boundary Line (Right)
Fire Station No. 1 (Left) & Captain David Payne Memorial (Right)
Bonus – Transformers
I know the Transformer statues aren’t historical, but they’re fun to see if you’re visiting Stillwater. Bumblebee is on the West side of Stillwater on highway 51 and Optimus Prime is on the East side of Stillwater on highway 51!
I hope you enjoyed looking through all of these super cool historic sites and museums! Make sure to use this post when you plan your next trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma.
If you have any questions about the places I visited, please feel free to send me a message on my contact page.
Hey there, welcome to my blog! My name is Kaitlyn and I have a passion for sharing history. I have a master’s degree in American history and write about history class tips and museum adventures.
This post includes some of my favorite museums and historic sites to visit in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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 the museum websites in those posts. Let’s get started!
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. You’ll find Western history, Native American history, art, and so much more in this museum. A few of my favorite galleries include the rodeo gallery, the entertainment gallery, and the military history gallery. There is also a large, educational playground outside that is great for families with kids or cool to just walk around!
A banjo museum? Yes, there’s an entire museum dedicated to banjos in Bricktown. There are hundreds of banjos on display and all have a unique story. Many of the instruments have intricate designs which are amazing. Personally, I loved looking at all of the designs on the banjos!
Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum
I LOVE sports. So, I knew I had to pay a visit to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum. It’s right next door to the Chickasaw Brickton Ballpark and even has a deck you can walk out on that overlooks the field. It was so cool!
Women’s history is one of my absolute favorite topics to study. When I found out about the 99’s Museum of Women Pilots in OKC, I knew I had to go! This museum is located on the grounds of the Will Rogers Airport – so you can see the planes while driving by! This museum even has items that belonged to Amelia Earhart – go check it out!
Visiting the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum and Memorial is a cool experience. I remember going once as a child and seeing all of the firetrucks! As an adult, it’s humbling to walk through the museum and see all of the equipment and learn about the history of firefighting. The Memorial outside the museum is beautiful as well.
For more information, see my longer blog post: (FORTHCOMING, I visited the OKC Memorial and am currently working on my longer blog post. Thank you for being patient.)
OKC Museum of Art
For more information, see my longer blog post: (FORTHCOMING, I am working on writing a blog post about the OKC MOA!)
I hope you enjoyed looking through all of these super cool historic sites and museums in Oklahoma City! Make sure to use this post when you plan your next trip to OKC 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.
Hey there – Welcome to my blog! My name is Kaitlyn and I love history. I have a master’s degree in American history from Oklahoma State University and love to write about history tips and museum visits! This post includes some of my favorite museums and historic sites to visit in Guthrie. Let’s get started!
*For more information about each individual museum, please click on my blog links at the end of each section! There’s a lot more information and links to the museum websites in those posts!
Oklahoma Territorial Museum
I loved the Oklahoma Territorial Museum! I visited this museum on a mission… I wanted to see Carrie Nation’s hatchet! She was a prominent Prohibitionist with a reputation for smashing saloons. I found the hatchet and it was definitely as cool as I thought it’d be!
The rest of the museum is amazing – it talks about Oklahoma in the territorial days and early statehood. There are so many cool pieces in this collection. I thought both of the flags on display on the second floor were awesome!
The Carnegie Library was built in 1902 and is now a part of the Oklahoma Territorial Museum. It was almost destroyed, but a prominent citizen stepped in to save the building. Some of the original furniture is still inside – go check it out!
For more information, see my longer blog post: (FORTHCOMING!)
Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum
The Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum is a very unique place. As you can see in the photo below, the walls are lined with historic medicines and items you would have found in a drugstore. The volunteers were super friendly and eager to tell you anything that you wanted to know! Make sure you stop in the room on the right of this photo to see the old dentist office set-up!
I have always loved sports and thought the Oklahoma Sports Museum was awesome! I think all Oklahoma sports are probably covered in this museum. Make sure to give yourself a few hours to walk though this place because there is so much to take in! The man inside was very kind and told us all kinds of cool stories about Oklahoma sports.
There is so much history in Guthrie and this post only mentions a few. In addition to the museums and historic sites, there are historic markers all throughout Historic Downtown Guthrie. I didn’t get to see them all and need to go back! When I go back, I will make sure to update this post. In the meantime, I hope this list inspires you when you make a trip to visit Guthrie!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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. 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.
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!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we are talking about the American Pigeon Museum located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Did you know that 32 pigeons received the Dickin Medal of Honor during World War II? Keep reading to learn more about this award and the museum that explains the history and importance of pigeons. Let’s get started!
*All photos were taken at the American Pigeon Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The American Homing Pigeon Institute (AHPI) was founded in 1973 as a way to honor pigeons and their legacy. It would later be renamed the American Pigeon Museum and Library (APM&L). The land the museum sits on was purchased in 1993. A new building was built on the property in 2013 to house the museum – it’s a larger building which has allowed more of the collection to be placed on display. The collection is pretty impressive if you ask me!
Pigeon History Around the World
The first recorded image of a pigeon dates back to 3000 BC in Iraq – that’s a long time ago! Fast forward a few years to 1600 AD and pigeons were being transported to other countries. In 1606, French settlers brought the Rock Dove to Port Royal, Nova Scotia introducing the bird to the New World. (1600-1900 AD Information Sign in the Museum) Fast forward another 2 centuries and there are several recordings of pigeons in the nineteenth century.
Pigeons in War
The War History exhibit was my favorite exhibit at this museum. It was really interesting to see how pigeons were used in various wars. The World War II section explained how pigeons were used to transport messages. Pigeons have also been used by the Coast Guard to deliver messages!
World War I
World War I began in 1914 and the United States joined the war in April 1917. By July 1917, General John J. Pershing was sending cablegrams asking for two pigeon specialists and 12 enlisted experts. He also wanted to purchase 500 pairs of Homing Pigeons for breeding. He asked for an additional 1,000 pigeons that had been hatched in that year to be sent to the American Army in France. The pigeons were successful in delivering their messages 95% of the time! “The most famous pigeons used by the Allied Forces at this time were The Mocker, President Wilson, Spike, Big Tom, Colonel’s Lady, Kaiser, and Cher Ami to name a few.” (World War I Information Sign in the Museum)
World War II
Pigeons were once again used in World War II. Read the stories of Otto Meyer and Maria Dickin to learn more about their roles with the pigeons in the war effort.
Otto Meyer (1905-1991) was an US Army Major during World War II. He was put in charge of the US Army’s world-wide pigeon breeding and training program. Meyer was soon promoted to Commander of the US Army Pigeon Service Agency. He oversaw 3,000 soldiers and 54,000 pigeons!
His favorite pigeon was named Kaiser who lived to be 32 years old. Kaiser served in both World War I and World War II. G.I. Joe was another one of Meyer’s pigeons. He received the Dickin Medal of Honor for saving 1,000 Allied troops by delivering a message in time for them to move.
Otto Meyer continued working with pigeons after WWII. He was the civilian technical advisor of the Signal Corps pigeon breeding and training program. (Otto Meyer Information Sign in the Museum)
Maria Dickin & the Dickin Medal of Honor
Maria Dickin (Sept. 22, 1870 – Jan. 3, 1951) was upset after witnessing the plight of sick animals in East London during World War II. She established the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). Later, she created the Dickin Medal to recognize the service of animals during WWII. Dickin said the animals had to have demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units.” (Maria Dickin Case in the Museum)
From 1943-1949, 54 Dickin Medals were awarded to animals for their service in WWII. Among the recipients were 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses, and 1 cat. The pigeons received the award for delivering messages!
Pigeon racing began around 1875 in the United States and many people still participate today. The sport is especially popular in New York and New Jersey, but it must be noted that pigeon racing takes place in multiple countries around the world.
Pigeon racing is a sport where Racing Homer pigeons are taken to a certain location and then they are released to return home. They will travel 60-600 miles in a given race. The pigeons are specifically trained for these kind of races. The judges measure the bird’s rate of travel to determine the winner. In modern races the pigeons are tracked using a RFID tag to record arrival time. In traditional races, the pigeons were labeled with a rubber ring with an identification number and a special racing clock was utilized. The bird’s rubber ring was placed in the clock to signify when it arrived at the end of the race. “From this timestamp an average speed is measured and a winner of the race can be found.” (Pigeon Racing Information Plaque in the Museum)
How do you tell what kind of pigeon it is that you’re looking at? The Homing & Fancy Pigeon exhibit illustrates the differences between the two breeds of pigeons. To view the “Breeds of Pigeons” Gallery – CLICK HERE!
So, I know I talked about my favorite exhibit earlier in this post, but I have to highlight another awesome feature of this museum. There are REAL, LIVING pigeons in the museum. The pigeons pictured below are kept outside behind the museum and you have to go out the back doors to have access. There were also pigeons inside the museum in a bird cage by the front desk. I liked being able to see the different types of pigeons and their multi-colored feather patterns.
GRAPHIC PHOTO WARNING FOR GALLERY BELOW: Pictured in this gallery are images of pigeon dissections, a pigeon skeleton, feather diagram, and a real preserved pigeon. If you don’t want to see a preserved pigeon then don’t scroll through the gallery below – it is the last picture (#6) in the gallery. The pigeon skeleton photos are (#4) and (#5).
Passenger Pigeons – A Tragic Ending
The Passenger Pigeon is a tragic example of what can happen when species are not taken care of properly. The Passenger Pigeons suffered from habitat loss and hunting. “The last confirmed sighting of wild passenger pigeons occurred at Laurel, Indiana on April 3, 1902, Thirty years earlier, it had been the most abundant bird on the continent. But hunting wiped out the wild flocks by the 1890s, and the few wild survivors couldn’t reestablish the communal lifestyle they needed to survive.” (Going, Going, Gone Information Plaque in the Museum) Some scientists estimate that 3-5 billion passenger pigeons may have been alive when Europeans initially came to America.
Martha – the last Passenger Pigeon in captivity – died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914 at 1 pm at the age of 29. The Cincinnati Zoo donated her body to the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian mounted the bird and placed her on display.
The American Pigeon Museum has a dedicated space for a research library. There are lots of different books and records you can look at. You can walk right into the space without making an appointment.
The American Pigeon Museum and Library also has a cool section on their website with articles about pigeons and their history. I have linked it HERE!
The American Pigeon Museum was a cool museum to visit! I didn’t really know a lot about the history of pigeons before visiting the museum and I definitely learned a lot on this trip. I hope you’ll go check this museum out and see the pigeons!
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.
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
“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!
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.
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! 🙂
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.
*Information from various plaques and information sheets in Old Central used. I have included pictures above within the post.
Hey friend – welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the new First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City! The facility is beautiful and there is so much history inside. Let’s go look around!
*All photos used in this post were taken at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.
The First Americans Museum is a partnership between the State of Oklahoma and The City of Oklahoma City. A Chickasaw Nation subsidiary, the American Indian Cultural Center Foundation, and many donors have also helped make this museum a reality. The architects of the museum were Johnson Fain Architects: Master Planning and Building Concepts, Los Angeles and Hornbeek, Blatt Architects, Co-Prime, Edmond.
The First Americans Museum opened in 2021 and is 175,000 square feet! The building aligns with the cardinal directions which is significant during the winter and summer solstices and the spring and autumnal equinox. (FAM Website, FAQ Page)
The First Americans Museum Mission statement is “To serve as a dynamic center promoting awareness and educating the broader public about the unique cultures, diversity, history, contributions, and resilience of the First American Nations in Oklahoma today.” (FAM Website, About Page) The Museum believes in four core values: respect, reciprocity, relationships, and responsibility.
Indigenous History in Oklahoma
Many of the 39 nations which call Oklahoma home today were forcibly removed to the area throughout the Nineteenth Century. Though a few tribes were originally from the area.
Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the Union in 1907. The word ‘Oklahoma’ combines two Choctaw words ‘Okla’ and ‘Homma’ which means ‘Red People.’ There are 12 linguistic families spoken in Oklahoma: Algonquian, Athapascan, Caddoan, Iroquoian, Tanoan, Muskogean, Penutian, Jiwere (Siouan), Dhegiha (Siouan), Tonkawan, Uchean, Uto-Aztecan. (FAM Website, FAQ Page)
The following 39 nations live in Oklahoma today: Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo Nation, Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Comanche Nation, Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Eastern Shawnee Tribe, Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, Kialegee Tribal Town, Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, Kiowa Tribe, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Modoc Tribe, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Osage Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Ottawa Tribe, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Sac & Fox Nation, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, Shawnee Tribe, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Tonkawa Tribe, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Wyandotte Nation. (FAM Website, FAQ Page)
TRAVEL TIP:Tribal Gallery Guides are linked HERE. The First Americans Museum website has PDF documents with consultation lists and specific interpretive items and cultural materials from each tribe.
The First Americans Museum had the following terms defined on a display. I thought this was very helpful, especially if you are not familiar with Indigenous histories.
There are three main exhibit halls in the First Americans Museum. Two are located on the first floor and the third is located on the second floor. OKLA HOMMA and Of the Earth: Creating First Americans Museum are located on the first floor. WINIKO: Life of an Object is located on the second floor.
The OKLA HOMMA exhibit is in the Tribal Nations Gallery on the first floor and covers 18,000 square feet. This gallery tells the stories of the 39 culturally distinct nations living in Oklahoma today. This space utilizes art, film, interactive media, and a large map on the floor. The gallery discusses origin stories, collective histories, (mis)representation, sports, warriors, and so much more. The museum worked with 39 tribes for over a decade to ensure that everything is accurate.
Pictured below are a few pieces and displays within the exhibit. There is so much more to read and look at in this space. I was very disappointed my memory card filled up half-way through this space… Please go visit this museum to see the rest of the displays!
WINIKO: Life of an Object
Winiko: Life of an Object is from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. According to the brochure, the objects offer “an opportunity to understand the importance of the creation collection and continued relevance of cultural materials today.” (FAM Brochure) This collection contains clothing, drums, and more. I did not take pictures in this space, but encourage you to go check it out!
Of the Earth: Creating First Americans Museum
This exhibit illustrates how the First Americans Museum came to be. There are blueprints and mini-models in the collection. The architectural significance is also explained which I thought was very interesting!
First Americans Museum Timeline
1994: Legislation Created Museum Agency
1994-2006: Site Remediation
2005: Ground Blessing
2008: Mound and Remembrance Walls Constructed
2010: Hall of People Constructed
2017: New Horizons
2021: Site Completion
I loved this museum – walking through the halls was an honor. I learned so much and plan to go back in the future. You should plan to spend at least a few hours in this museum. We read many of the signs, but didn’t have time to sit and listen to the videos and oral histories on this trip. On my next visit, I plan to sit and listen to everything. The small theater spaces were amazing and there is also a large theater included in museum admission – so be sure to keep that in mind when visiting. Please go check this museum out and take time to learn the history of the First Americans.
Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂
659 First Americans Blvd Oklahoma City, OK 73129
TRAVEL TIP: The Thirty Nine Restaurant and Arbor Cafe are located in the museum. Check the First Americans Museum website for restaurant hours and menus. Many of the dishes include “Native ingredients” and several “tribally-specific dishes” are served.
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum and Memorial. There are pieces in the museum collection from across the United States, across Oklahoma, and even a piece from the London Fire Brigade. Let’s go look around!
*All photos used in this post were taken inside and outside at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum was founded in 1967 in OKC with a groundbreaking ceremony taking place on April 6th. The building was completed in 1969 and opened to the public on June 1st. The Oklahoma State Firefighters Association (OSFA), Oklahoma Fire Chiefs Association (OCFA), and the Oklahoma Retired Firefighters Association (ORFA) also have offices in the building.
The museum is owned and operated by firefighters of the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association which was founded in 1894. A portion of membership dues help support the museum.
There were several really cool exhibits and artifacts in this museum. I have included a few photos of some of the exhibits. Please make sure to visit the museum or their website for more information.
Alfred P. Murrah Bombing – Rescue Memorial
On April 19, 1995 at 9:02 a.m. a bomb exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Many firefighters rushed to the scene to help the injured amongst the chaos. There were two memorials made to honor the firefighters, one is located at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum and the other is in Washington, D.C. at the International Association of Firefighters office.
I hope to visit the OKC Memorial Museum in Oklahoma City in the future.
Old Fire Station
There is a miniature firehouse built inside the museum which has an early 20th century John Gamewell Alarm System from Enid, Oklahoma. Scroll through the photos below to get a closer look!
Miniature Fire Truck Collection & The Last Alarm Mural
The collection of miniature firetrucks lined one of the walls in the museum and they were super cool to look at!
If you look above the cases in photo 5 you will notice a large mural – this is called The Last Alarm. Lynn Campbell painted the mural while visitors at the museum watched. The mural is 59 feet long and 8 feet tall with each firetruck representing a real truck used by a town.
Fire Pole & Horse Drawn Wagon
There was a wall with firefighting bunker coats from World War II to the present-day. It was really neat to see how the gear changed over time. Scroll through the gallery to read more about each specific set of gear provided by the Morning Pride Manufacturing Co.
Ben Franklin Collection & Early Firefighting Equipment
First Fire Station in Indian Territory
Fort Supply Depot was the location of the first fire station in Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). The log cabin structure was built in 1869 on the plains. The soldiers wanted a structure to protect all of the fire equipment from the elements. It also gave a sense of law and order to the area.
A little over a century later, the Fort Supply Fire Department donated the log cabin to the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association. The museum staff had to move it from Fort Supply to OKC which is roughly a 3 hour trip covering 160-185 miles depending on your route. 16 people from OKC took a truck and trailer to pick up the log cabin from Fort Supply. The log cabin survived the trip thanks to the diligence of the museum staff. Once the log cabin arrived in OKC the museum staff realized that it wouldn’t fit through the door… So it was carefully broken into pieces and then put back together once all the pieces inside the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum!
Largest Firefighter Patch Collection in the World!
The Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum has the largest collection of firefighter patches in the world. The patches in the Ben Dancy/Arvin Fennell Memorial Patch Collection come from all over the world – if you zoom in on the photos you can read where the patches are from! The collection wraps around three walls of the museum and the photos don’t do it justice… There are over 7,000 patches in this collection!
In the 1960s, Ben Dancy was the Chief of the Oklahoma City Fire Department. He began putting patches on the wall in June 1969 when the museum opened and continued to do so until he passed away in 1982. Arvin Fennell carried on the patch legacy in Chief Dancy’s honor. Fennell was a retired Assistant Fire Chief from Midwest City. He is responsible for the display cases currently in the museum. Previously, the patch collection had been mounted in a catalogue, but Fennell made cases where you could see all the patches at once. Chief Fennell continued working on the patch collection until he passed in 2015.
The museum has over a dozen restored firetrucks inside that you can walk around and look at. There are pieces of equipment from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries in the collection. Scroll through the gallery to view various fire trucks from different eras. We were told that many of the fire trucks still run, which is pretty cool if you ask me!
My Favorite Piece in the Collection
My favorite piece in this museum was probably this hand drawn chemical cart from 1890. A lot of the research I do takes place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so it was cool to see what kind of firefighting equipment they had at the time!
The Memorial is on the Western side of the property. It honors the brave men and women firefighters who have protected and served Oklahoma. The sculpture is titled, Just Another Day and was created by Shahla Rahimi Reynolds (OKC).
The Wall of Valor honors the firefighters who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Other firefighters who have served for over 20 years or retired through disability are also recognized in the memorial.
You can search names on the Memorial Wall on this web page if you scroll down the page – LINK HERE.
I enjoyed visiting the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum again. I visited once when I was a kid and all I remembered about the museum were the big firetrucks on the inside of the building. So, it was cool to go back and walk around the inside of the museum again and appreciate more of the collection. I learned a lot and hope you’ll go check this place out!
TRAVEL TIP: This museum is located right by the Oklahoma City Zoo, Science Museum Oklahoma, the National Softball Hall of Fame, American Pigeon Museum, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. So, if you’re traveling from out of town, make sure to visit some of these other cool places that are close by!
Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂
2716 NE 50th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73111
TRAVEL TIP: There were covered picnic tables outside the museum – it’d be the perfect place for a picnic lunch!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Edmond Historical Society Museum in Edmond, Oklahoma. Let’s get started!
*All photos used in this post were taken by myself at the Edmond Historical Society Museum in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Armory & Museum History
The Edmond Historical Society is housed in the Edmond Armory that was originally built for the 179th Infantry of the 45th Division of the Oklahoma National Guard. The Edmond Armory was designed by Colonel Bryan W. Nolan – an architect with the 45th Infantry. He helped build and design 35 armories in Oklahoma! Nolan had an impressive career. See the following excerpt from the Edmond Historical Society:
The Edmond Armory was paid for by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which was founded in May 1935 by the Administration of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). The WPA helped create jobs for thousands of Americans who were looking for work. Many were not employed due to the economic depression of the 1930s.
The building was made of native red sandstone rocks and the blueprint used was the “One Unit Artillery” design. The building was comprised of offices, barracks, arms storage, stage, garage, target range, and a large vaulted ceiling drill hall. The same blueprint plan was used for the armories in Duncan, Sulphur, Haskell, and Claremore.
The Edmond Armory was the headquarters for the 45th Division of the National Guard until 1972 when they built a new facility. The armory was then given back to the city of Edmond. Eventually, the building housed other things like a skating rink, community center, meeting hall, and more. To read more about those venues, please see the “Edmond Armory History” link at the end of this blog post.
The building was leased by the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust beginning in 1983. The City Council supported their plan for renovating the space. The Edmond Historical Museum and Edmond Arts and Humanities Council are two examples of groups that rented the space during renovations.
The Edmond Historical Society Museum actually started out as a single room in the Edmond Armory. Eventually, the City of Edmond allowed them to use the entire building. The main gallery of the museum once housed the space used for artillery training. The museum’s offices are located in the old barracks, offices, and storage areas.
The Edmond Armory was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 14, 1991!
The variety of exhibits in this museum was impressive! Each section was unique and I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know before. I have included pictures of a handful of the exhibits. You’ll have to pay the museum a visit to see the rest of them! Additionally, the Edmond Historical Society has a few digital exhibits. I am linking one here, “Edmond’s African American History: Land Run to Integration.”
Edmond sits at a cross-section on the Plains. The Western portion of Edmond has more prairie grasses and open spaces, while the Eastern side of Edmond has more woodland area. This region is known for its mixing of trees and prairie grasses. Several Indigenous peoples have lived on the Plains. The Kaw, Omaha, Quapaw, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, and Osage peoples are just a few examples.
The Land Run – April 22, 1889
The Land Run took place on April 22, 1889 with the opening of the Unassigned Lands in Indian Territory. The Unassigned Lands include present-day Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Payne, and Oklahoma county. Benjamin Harrison was the President of the United States who signed the proclamation which opened approximately 2 million acres for Anglo settlers. Each person could stake a claim of 160 acres for a filing fee of $14.00. A town basically formed overnight around the Edmond Station on Sante Fe Railroad line. 100 to 150 people formed the town of Edmond.
FUN FACT! The Land Run is sometimes referred to as Benjamin “Harrison’s Horse Race.”
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church opened 2 months after the Land Run. This was the first church built in the Unassigned Lands and they held their first mass on June 24, 1889 with 5 Catholic families in Edmond. The church stood at the corner of Boulevard and First Street.
Inside the Edmond Historical Society Museum stands a replica of the church that is 1/4 size of the original building. It was created as an Edmond Centennial Project (1989) by the Knights of Columbus – a Catholic organization.
Route 66 & Oil History
Route 66 was created in 1926 as one of the first highways in the United States. Arguably, Route 66 is the most universally known highway in the US. Today, Oklahoma has most of the drivable miles on Route 66. The highway also goes through Arizona, California, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information about some cool places along Route 66 in Oklahoma, please my blog posts about the Arcadia Round Barn and Pops.
FUN FACT! 13.4 miles of Route 66 pass through Edmond, Oklahoma!
Route 66 encouraged people to drive more which led to a boom in the automobile industry. Many gas stations, service stations, hotels, and restaurants began popping up along the highways across the country to serve travelers. CONOCO played a huge role in the oil industry. For more information about the company, please see my blog post about the Conoco Museum in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
I’ve recently taken an interest in entertainment history so I thought it was interesting to read the plaques about entertainment in Edmond. I want to look further into both the Gem and Broncho Theaters!
The Edmond Historical Society was a cool museum to visit. They had a lot of different exhibits which made looking around a lot of fun. The exhibits weren’t necessarily related and I really liked that about this place.
Make sure to check out all of the cool digital resources they have for kids, teachers, and adults have their website! They have a full page of games, videos, and tours that are all virtual! I have linked their website in the sources section at the end of this post. I hope you’ll go check it out!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Oklahoma Territorial Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Their collections cover the creation of the Unassigned Lands, the Land Run of 1889, homesteading, territorial government, and state government.
But first, a little bit of Oklahoma history for you! Oklahoma Territory existed from 1890-1907 when it became the state of Oklahoma. Prior to this, it had been Indian Territory. The Land Run (April 22, 1889) opened 2 million acres of land which had promised to Indigenous peoples. Thousands of people flooded into the area (Unassigned Lands). Many towns were established, some being Guthrie, Norman, Oklahoma City, and Stillwater. Guthrie became the capital of Oklahoma Territory. Make sure to read all the way to end to learn about the Outlaw mummy and hatchet-wielding woman who smashed up a saloon in the name of temperance! You don’t want to miss these stories – Let’s get started!
*All photos used in this post were taken by myself at the Oklahoma Territorial Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Territorial Museum opened in 1973 thanks to the efforts of Fred Pfeiffer. He was a local philanthropist who wanted to save the Carnegie Library in Guthrie after the City threatened to tear it down. Pfeiffer built the museum next to the Carnegie Library so that the important building wouldn’t be torn down. Today, the Carnegie Library and Oklahoma Territorial Museum are connected! For more information, read my post about the Carnegie Library!
Exhibits Inside the Museum
There were so many cool exhibits inside the museum! I have highlighted several of them here, but didn’t talk about all of them… The Oklahoma Territorial Museum website has several pages which talk about their various galleries. I have linked several of the pages in the sources section at the end of this post if you want to know more!
Indian Territory – Indigenous History
This section of the gallery on the first floor talked about Indigenous history in Indian Territory.
This section of the gallery on the first floor talked about railroad history.
This area on the first floor was set up kind of like a Land Office and I thought it was neat!
I LOVE reading about homesteading history. So, the homesteading portion of the museum was really cool to see. I especially liked the section that spoke about African American homesteaders because their story is sometimes left out of the narrative of the West.
Homesteaders would choose a piece of land, built a shelter, and had to ‘improve’ the land. Many homesteaders struggled in the aftermath of the Land Run for several years with drought and economic depression. Finally, in 1897 things began to look a little bit better for the farmers in Oklahoma Territory.
African American History in Oklahoma Territory
The exhibit pictured below is outside the museum. It talked about African American history in Oklahoma Territory! You can view this exhibit anytime because it is outside and free for the public to look at.
Law Enforcement in Oklahoma Territory
This section of the museum was on the second floor. My friend and I were casually walking through when I saw the story of Florence L. Hitchcock – the first female deputy in Oklahoma Territory. Very cool! Then there was also the signs that talked about the famous outlaws in Oklahoma.
Not everyone who participated in the Land Run wanted to homestead. Some people established businesses in the towns. One example of a business is the newspaper! I LOVE newspaper history. So, seeing the section about the “Daily State Capital” was super cool! Keep watching for a future blog post on the State Capital Publishing Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Journey to Statehood
The Statehood Gallery contains many items from the convention, Oklahoma’s journey to statehood, and the history of the town of Guthrie. Below are some of the items on display in the gallery. Make sure to scroll through all of the pictures in the slideshow below and read the information – there’s some really cool stuff!
46 Stars on the American Flag
Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907. This massive flag was given to Oklahoma by the City of Philadelphia Pennsylvania on July 4, 1908. If you look closely at the star in the right corner you’ll see that it is embroidered. It says, “Oklahoma July 4 Fourth 1908.”
Original State of Oklahoma Flag
Did you know that original flag for the state of Oklahoma was not the blue one that we are all familiar with today? The red Oklahoma flag was adopted in 1911 by the Third Legislature. It was meant to commemorate Oklahoma being the 46th state of the United States. Mrs. W.R. Clement made the design. Senator McMechan and Representative Wright showed the design to Congress. The museum plaque beside the flag was full of interesting information! The plaque states that the red Oklahoma flag was phased out in the wake of the First Red Scare (1919-1921). Oklahomans didn’t want to display the red Oklahoma flag for fear of being associated with communism.
The Curious Story of Elmer McCurdy – An American Outlaw
Elmer McCurdy and two other men decided they were going to rob a train that was supposedly carrying a $400,000 Osage Indian royalty payment on October 4, 1911. They flagged down the M.K.&T. #29 train and boarded the cars. They searched high and low, but only turned up $46.00 and a couple of bottles of whiskey. The men had stopped the wrong train and now had the law looking for them.
FUN FACT! Elmer McCurdy also used the aliases ‘Frank Davidson’ and ‘Frank Curtis.’
The three men ran for three days. Finally, Elmer McCurdy was cornered in a hay loft in the Osage Hills by Stringer Felton, Bob Felton, and Dick Wallace. What ensued was an hour long gun battle… resulting in McCurdy’s death. His body was taken to the funeral home of Joseph Johnson in Pawhuska – not too far away. McCurdy’s body was embalmed and stored because nobody wanted to pay for his burial… Eventually, Elmer McCurdy turned into an outlaw mummy. Johnson stood the body of McCurdy up in a corner for people to pay to come see. And people did come see him…
One day in 1916, two strange men appeared in Johnson’s funeral home. They claimed to be the family members of Elmer McCurdy and asked for his body to be returned to them. The men said that McCurdy’s dying mother’s wish was to bring her beloved son home. Johnson didn’t think anything of it and gave the two men McCurdy’s body.
These two men had fooled Johnson – they were actually representatives for The Great Patterson Show. McCurdy’s body was on display for the next 60 years and people soon forget that he was a real mummified person and not a mannequin… One day while filming an episode of a tv show, a person grabbed the arm and pulled. It came off and he was horrified to find that there were real bones inside. The Deputy Medical Examiner confirmed that it was mummified human remains.
Soon, there was a nation-wide search across the United States to discover the identity of the mummy. Elmer McCurdy’s identity was confirmed and he was returned to Guthrie. He is buried at the Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie next to Bill Doolin, founder of the Wild Bunch.
According to an article in The Daily Oklahoman, people come from all over to visit the Oklahoma Territorial Museum because of this story. Very interesting. I remember the first time I heard the story of Elmer McCurdy I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in graduate school and the professor I worked for that semester included Elmer McCurdy’s story in the lecture. I was intrigued and had to look it up after class!
The Saloon Smasher – Carrie A. Nation
Carrie Nation is one of my favorite people to talk about because she smashed a couple of saloons with a hatchet in Kansas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the name of temperance. These events were often referred to as ‘hatchetations.’ Carrie Nation was an outspoken woman who believed strongly in her Christian faith. She once described herself as a “bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn’t like.”
Her first husband died of alcoholism 16 months into their marriage in 1869 and this led to her hatred of liquor. She was forced to raise their daughter alone. She married her second husband in 1874. He was a widower with 5 children of his own. The family moved around a lot. They lived in Seiling, Oklahoma for a few years. The Nations moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas in 1899. Carrie grew famous for her saloon smashing over the next 2 years. Her husband filed for divorce in 1901 because she was never home.
Carrie Nation moved to Guthrie, Oklahoma 4 years later. Guthrie was the capitol of Oklahoma Territory at the time and she wanted to make sure that Oklahoma entered the Union as a dry state. She went on a lecture tour and published “The Hatchet” from 1905-1906. She was successful in her efforts and Oklahoma became a dry state on November 16, 1907. Carrie Nation passed away 4 years later in Leavenworth, Kansas.
One of Carrie Nation’s hatchets and hatchet pins are at the Oklahoma Territorial Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma (pictured below). According to a museum employee, Carrie Nation once lived in Guthrie for 6 months and would give speeches at a bar, get arrested, and then the bar owner (who brought her there) would bail her out. Carrie Nation drew a crowd wherever she went and he paid to bring her to Oklahoma to hopefully increase the sales at his business. Carrie Nation took every opportunity to speak about the temperance cause she so strongly believed in.
I REALLY liked this museum. It’s definitely in my Top 10 favorite museums in Oklahoma list! I loved the layout of the museum and the staff member working the Saturday I went was so kind and knowledgable. I will definitely be going back and plan to spend more time walking though the museum. I hope you’ll pay this museum a visit!
Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂
406 East Oklahoma Avenue
Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044
TRAVEL TIP: This museum requires admission – please see their website for details. I did see on their Instagram page that this year the museum offered free admission on Saturday of 89ers weekend. So, keep that in mind!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post. Today, we’re talking about the Oklahoma Sports Museum located in Guthrie, Oklahoma. They claim to have “the largest collection of Oklahoma Sports artifacts anywhere.” This could very well be true because the museum features nearly every sport you could think of – baseball, football, basketball, softball, rodeo, running, and so much more! Let’s go look around!
*All photos used in this post were taken by myself at the Oklahoma Sports Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Sports Museum was opened in 1993 by the Oklahoma Sports Museum Association. This museum was the dream of Coach Richard Hendricks, Ferguson Jenkins, and Hubert “Geese” Ausbie. Coach Hendricks is now the director of the Oklahoma Sports Museum.
Coach Richard Hendricks and his husky dog met us at the door. He walked around the museum with my friend and I telling us all kinds of cool facts! It was really cool to hear Coach Hendricks talk about the history of Oklahoma sports. As we were leaving, my friend made this comment to me, “He had an answer for every single question that I had. He knew so much.”
Ferguson Jenkins is a Baseball Hall of Fame member. Jenkins was a star player for the Cubs in the sixties and seventies. He lived in Guthrie for a short time and helped found the Oklahoma Sports Museum.
A New Name
The Oklahoma Sports Museum was eventually renamed the ‘Territorial Capital Sports Museum,” even though the signs on the façade outside still read the ‘Oklahoma Sports Museum.’ The goal of this museum is to honor the rich history and legacy of the many athletes to come from and play in Oklahoma. The museum is housed in 3 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Combined, the museum covers 13,000 sq feet of space. It was very large, and we ran out time to see it all… so, I’ll have to go back one day!
Halls of Fame
The Oklahoma High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame is on one of the walls. There are over 80 coaches in this hall of fame!
There is a plaque that honors the 45 athletes from Oklahoma in the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. The plaque gives their name, sport, and tribal affiliation.
Additionally, the museum honors the 9 women from Oklahoma in the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association Hall of Fame.
There are six main galleries in the museum: Baseball, Football, Basketball, Golf +Rodeo, Olympics, and Women in Sports. I have included a few images from select galleries – you’ll have to make a trip to the Oklahoma Sports Museum to see the rest!
This museum features a TON of cool baseball stuff. If you or someone you know are passionate about baseball, then you NEED to visit this place! Most of the pictures I took were of the baseball gallery collections – it was massive. Coach Hendricks had a lot of really cool insights about a lot of the pieces in this space.
For example, the baseball collection below belonged to Major League Umpire George Barr. The balls in this collection are from the 1930s and 1940s. If you zoom in on the photos you can see who the signature belonged to. This collection is on loan from Seminole State College.
The jerseys on the wall below were members of the Sooner State League. The Sooner State League was active in Oklahoma for about a decade from 1947-1957. This collection belongs to Peter Pierce who has loaned it to the museum.
The bat pictured below is a ‘Babe Ruth Notched Bat.’ He hit 28 of 60 homers with this bat in 1927 when he set the new single-season home run record. Babe Ruth put 28 notches around the Louisville Slugger logo during his famous 1927 season – each time he hit a home run a notch was added to the bat! The Ruth family placed a paper label on the bat that stated: “Each notch on this War Club of the Babe’s represents one apple knocked out of the Ball Orchard.” What a cool piece of sports history!
The following wall in the baseball gallery was dedicated to African American baseball players.
This corner was dedicated to Bobby Murcer. I always think it’s really cool to see Bobby Murcer in the sports museums because my grandma went to school with him. She said he was a nice person!
To conclude the baseball section, we’ll finish with Mickey Mantle. Did you know that the statue wasn’t allowed to have pinstripes on the uniform? The Yankees said they wouldn’t allow it, interesting…
This section of the museum is dedicated to softball history! The University of Oklahoma softball team was featured prominently in this gallery.
As we were leaving the museum, the rodeo gallery caught my eye and we had to go back through that section of the museum very quickly. There was a lot of cool rodeo stuff in this area and I need to go back and get a better look! We were on a time crunch and didn’t have enough time to explore this gallery as thoroughly as I would have liked to…
Oklahoma State University & The University of Oklahoma
Y’all know I can’t go to a sports museum without looking for the Oklahoma State University stuff, right?! Well, I found a lot of cool stuff, but I couldn’t take pictures of everything… Scroll through the gallery below to see Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton, Eddie Sutton, Henry Iba, Barry Sanders, and more!
The Oklahoma Sports Museum was actually really cool. I didn’t research this museum as thoroughly as I usually do before visiting the museum… My friend and I wound up having a little bit of extra time before we had to leave Guthrie and we were able to stop by to see it!
I really appreciate all of the time Coach Hendricks spent talking with us. He was so knowledgeable and very kind. I love it when you can tell someone is passionate about what they do and Coach Hendricks is very passionate about Oklahoma sports, indeed. Please stop by and visit this museum!
Hey friend! Welcome to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Rumor has it that some of the pieces from this museum we used in a movie being released later this fall (2022)! Keep reading to find out which movie… Let’s get started!
*All photos were taken by myself at the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum opened in 1992 in the Gaffney Building and is managed by the Oklahoma Pharmacy Heritage Foundation, Inc. The Gaffney Building was opened in 1890.
The idea for the frontier drugstore museum had actually begun in 1970s – inspired by Ralph Enix and his colleagues. They wanted a space to preserve and share the history of pharmacy in Oklahoma.
The collection in this museum contains items that relate to frontier drugstores which were crucial to keeping communities healthy in the 19th and 20th centuries. It showcases how medicine slowly moved westward across the United States. Many of the communities didn’t have reliable access to a doctor in territorial days, but they sometimes had access to a drugstore.
Medicines of all shapes and sizes line the walls of this unique museum. Many of the bottles contain their original labels and some even have their original contents. In addition to medicine, the museum has an old soda fountain, beauty supplies, and cigar memorabilia. There are several mortar and pestles scattered throughout the museum which were used for compounding different types of medicine.
One thing I learned from this museum was the history of “show globes.” These are glass containers which have different colored liquid medicine in them. They are often on display in windows of drugstores. If you scan the shelves in the slideshow above and below this paragraph, there are different show globes on the tops of various cabinets – look for red, blue, and green liquids in the glass containers!
The museum website says you can hold many of the objects in the museum, but the historian in me just couldn’t start grabbing things. So, I just walked through, looked at things, and took a lot of photos.
The photos below were taken in a small room tucked away in the museum. This is set up like an old dentist office. I would not have wanted to sit in a dentist chair like that… ouch.
According to one of the museum staff members – these pieces were used in the new movie coming out this fall, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” A majority of the movie was filmed in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. If you haven’t read the book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (2017) by David Grann then I highly recommend checking it out!
Established in 2006, the Apothecary Garden is located next door to the museum and provides a beautiful place for people to walk through in the Historic District of downtown Guthrie. An apothecary garden is a place where herbs and plants have traditionally been grown for medicinal purposes. Apothecary gardens have been around for centuries!
The Centennial Clock was added as a part of The Oklahoma Centennial Celebration in 2007. The clock was donated by the citizens of Guthrie – it cost $40,000 to install! It stands in the center of the Apothecary Garden.
The Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum and Apothecary Garden in Guthrie, Oklahoma were interesting places to visit. I didn’t know many details about medicinal history before going to this museum. Needless to say, I learned quite a bit and am very thankful for modern medicine. I hope you’ll swing by this museum if you ever get the chance!
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post! Today, we’re talking about the Lester and Mary Cann Memorial Gardens and Estate in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The Welcome plaque in front of the garden claims “the Cann Garden is a museum for living plants.” The Cann Garden features an “important collection of plants in a display setting.” By definition, I love the idea of a living plant museum. The brochure for the Cann Garden calls it an “enchanting” place and I’d believe it after visiting this place! Let’s go look around and talk about the history!
*All photos used in this post were taken by myself at the L.A. Cann Estate and Memorial Gardens in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
History of the Cann Estate
Lester Cann (1869-1957) was the Kay County Commissioner and later served as the City Manger of Ponca City from 1934-1948. He proudly served the Ponca City community for over 25 years. He married Mary (Smith) Cann (1876-1954) and they had a daughter, Elsie.
The Cann’s home – a two-story farmhouse – was built in 1908 in Ponca City. Today, the home has been completely renovated and is beautiful. It is used as a meeting space for many of the local garden clubs and organizations. Additionally, you can reserve the garden for special occasions like weddings or other activities.
Elsie ensured the legacy of her parents would never be forgotten by donating the farmhouse and 10 acres of gardens to the city of Ponca City in August 1975. She wanted an emphasis put on garden activities for the citizens of Ponca City to enjoy.
The above photo on the top left is Elsie (Cann) Brown. I am not sure who the other people in the photos are… If you know and would like to tell me so I can update this article – please send me a message on my contact page!
Inside the Cann Farmhouse
The Cann home was built in 1908 and the interior has been renovated. Below are some photos from the first floor of the home. I loved the stained glass window in the staircase – it was unexpected, but added a nice pop of color to the space.
TRAVEL TIP: You can schedule an appointment to tour the turn-of-the-century homestead farmhouse.
The Gardens are maintained by many of the local garden clubs. If you walk through the gardens, there are several benches, plaques, and tiles on the pathways honoring these clubs. There are over 2,500 feet of walkways in the Cann Garden according to the Kay County Master Gardener bench in the gardens. Make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes!
TRAVEL TIP: Here is a map of the Cann Memorial Garden Walking Trails. The garden is open daily to the public from daylight until dark!
In addition to being a garden, Cann is also a dedicated arboretum! An arboretum is a space dedicated to growing multiple types of trees.
Events at the Cann Gardens
The Cann Garden hosts an annual plant sale in May. For more information about the plant sale please contact the Cann Garden.
The Annual Herb Festival is held the first Saturday of June every year. Their mission is to “educate about herbs, gardening and to provide tools and crafts for outside. Also, to share the beauty of Cann Gardens and to invite guests to Ponca City while supporting the programs of the Survivor Resource Network along with increasing awareness and knowledge of services provided to Kay and Noble County survivors of domestic violence.” (Ponca City Herb Festival Website) For more information about the herb festival or to visit their website – CLICK HERE!
Saturday, June 4, 2022, will be the 29th Annual Ponca City Herb Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be vendors from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. You will have an opportunity to purchase plants, herbs, handmade items, jams, and more. There are also children’s activities, seminars, and entertainment for everyone to enjoy.
I really enjoyed having an opportunity to walk around the Cann Memorial Gardens and Estate. The walking trails were well-kept and the landscaping was beautiful. There are several gazebos where you could easily host a picnic! Next time I go back, I know I’ll be packing my picnic bag!
I hope you’ll go check out the Cann Garden in Ponca City. If you can’t make it to Ponca City – go check out your local botanical garden! Ask about the history of the garden – you never know what you might learn!
Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂
1500 E Grand Avenue
Ponca City, Oklahoma 74604
TRAVEL TIP: This is located at the Corner of 14th & Grand Avenue.
Hey friend! Welcome back to another post. Today, we’re talking about the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond, Oklahoma. I had driven by it before, but had never been inside – so it was really cool to finally be able to see it! Let’s go look around and talk about the fascinating history!
*All photos used in this post were taken by myself at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse or the Edmond Historical Society Museum. Please see the captions for photos taken at the Edmond Historical Society.
This Territorial Schoolhouse opened in 1889 in Edmond, Oklahoma Territory. Some have suggested it may have been the first schoolhouse built after the Land Run on April 22, 1889. This Land Run was for the so-called Unassigned Lands. U.S. President Benjamin Harrison ‘opened’ the lands at noon on April 22, 1889 and approximately 200 people staked their claim in Edmond. Hundreds more went to Guthrie and Oklahoma (City) Station, but I’ll talk more about the Land Run in my post about the Oklahoma Territorial Museum (I’ll link it here when it’s finished!)
The Ladies School Aid Society organized in June 1889 to raise funds to build the school and hire a teacher. The Ladies School Aid Society purchased lumber on credit in Edmond, Oklahoma Territory to build the schoolhouse. Jennie Foster was the president of the society which had 15 members. Julia Pfaff, Ellen Wilderson, and Fannie Morrison were active members named in James L. Crowder’s The History of Edmond’s 1889 Schoolhouse (2011). These women were able to pay back the credit and raise money for the teacher’s salary. This was to be a free school for students to attend which wasn’t normal at this time, as most schools required some form of tuition. The first class took place on September 16, 1889 and was taught by Miss Ollie McCormick who was paid $30 per month ($240 per year).
The schoolhouse was repainted for the 1890 school year costing a total of $20 (that is roughly $630 today). Miss McCormick left after her first year in Edmond and three other people volunteered to take her place. Col. H.H. Moose, Lucy E. Twyford, and Phoeba L. Bowen would be the temporary instructors. Ten students graduated from the eighth and final grade in 1890 – so a graduation ceremony was held! How exciting! 🙂
In 1891, Lucy E. Twyford and Ethel Gregg were the schoolhouse teachers. A bell tower was added to the schoolhouse building in February – it weighted 325 pounds! It was added to the north end of the structure.
The building wasn’t large enough to accommodate all of the students and had to be expanded in 1892. A 24′ x 24′ addition was built on the south side of the building. It was now officially a two-room schoolhouse! Estella Thompson and Ida Belt were the new teachers.
Events at the Schoolhouse
In addition to holding classes, the schoolhouse was considered to be the center of the community and many meetings were held there. Church services, funerals, and weddings are just a handful of events that took place at the schoolhouse in addition to classes.
There are four recorded churches that met in the schoolhouse. The Methodist Episcopal Church began meeting on November 9, 1889. The Christian Church held their first meeting on January 19, 1890. The Presbyterian Church met for the first time on April 6, 1890. Finally, the Baptist Church began meeting on May 11, 1890. (Crowder, 5)
Selling the Schoolhouse
The schoolhouse was sold in 1899 and it became a private residence. Hardy “Pete” Anglea bought the schoolhouse and some of the surrounding area. He had the 1892 addition taken off of the building because he didn’t like. In 1903, he moved the ENTIRE building 50 feet to a new foundation. He also added some new windows to the building.
In April 1908, Daniel McGowan bought the building from Anglea.
W.G. Pledger bought the home in 1919 (I assume from Pledger, but I am not sure).
The final owner – P.R. Sanders – purchased the home in 1927 for his family. The Sanders family lived there for many years and eventually opened a business on the first floor in 1950. This was known as “Sanders Camera Shop.” The business closed in 1975 and the building sat empty for the next 25 years… Paul Sanders loved the building and didn’t want to sell it to someone who would just knock it down. Interestingly, Sanders didn’t know about the building’s history as the original schoolhouse. Keep reading to find out how they discovered the building’s unknown history!
Saving the Schoolhouse
Lucille Warrick is credited with discovering the schoolhouse’s history! It is believed the schoolhouse is the final structure built in 1889 that is still standing in Edmond and this made the preservation efforts so much more important. The city of Edmond began the process to acquire the building in 1998. Several companies and foundations made contributions to the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust to help purchase the building from Sanders. In May 2001, the building was officially purchased from the Sanders Family Trust for $100,000.
In 2001, the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust began renovating the building. The inside of the schoolhouse was discovered after years of being covered up by wallpaper. The original wall paint was made from burnt sweet potatoes and milk – that’s interesting. During the restoration process, the original blackboards were discovered on the walls (see photos below). This put to rest any claims that the building wasn’t the original schoolhouse!
The restoration was finished in time for the Oklahoma Centennial Project by the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust in 2007. The schoolhouse was officially opened to the public for tours in 2007 as a result.
The 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond, Oklahoma was a cool place to visit. The historical interpreters working were very kind and gave a presentation for all visitors who came through the door. They personalized their presentation based on the knowledge you had when you came in the door. It was very cool! I hope you’ll go check this place out!
Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂
124 East 2nd Street
Edmond, OK 73034
TRAVEL TIP: The 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse is open on most Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. in the afternoons. Admission is free!
James L. Crowder. “The History of Edmond’s 1889 Schoolhouse.” Edmond Historic Preservation Trust. (2011).
“Welcome to Edmond’s 1889 Schoolhouse” – Flyer/Handout