Friday, April 28, 2017

Guthrie, Oklahoma and the Land Run

April 23 - 24, 2017:

I had three potential travel routes today, the faster route going through Oklahoma City,  the next faster route taking a toll road around Oklahoma City or the slower more country route going through a couple of towns.  I took the slow road, but no big deal as it was only a two hour ride.  I had to make one stop in the town of El Reno, on original route 66 for this very cool Oklahoma route 66 mural.


Classic Route 66

This route went through miles and miles of green farm lands peppered with oil rigs.  There was a small very acrobatic crop spraying aircraft flying at low level over the fields, with a very quick lift over the highway followed by a sharp turn and another dive down over the fields.  It looked like a risky business to me.  Also several dead Armadillos along the highway, they seem to be like rabbits, not very street smart.

Our destination, Guthrie, Oklahoma started out as the Deer Creek station of the Southern Kansas Railroad in 1887.  In 1889 when Indian reservation land was opened up for settlers in the "Land Run", approximately 10,000 settlers arrived to homestead in a very short period of time time.  The town name was changed to Guthrie for jurist John Guthrie, absolutely nothing to do with Woodie Guthrie.  Guthrie immediately became a bustling city and the Capital of Oklahoma Territory and then the Capital of the State of Oklahoma in 1907.  As a result, Guthrie has a huge number (they claim 2,000) of impressive brick and stone buildings built mostly in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and is one of the largest designated Historic districts in the country.  Eventually, nearby Oklahoma City  developed more industry and political clout and was elected the Capital of Oklahoma in 1910.


The Victor Hotel

The Pollard Theater

The State Capital Company building

Downtown view

The DeSteiguer Building


Relieves fatigue !

The Temple of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is huge 
and one of the largest in the country

The Gaffney Building

The DeFord Building

It had to be absolutely insane and out of control on April 22,1889 when the "Land Run" was conducted. The cattle ranchers had battled against the policy to open the land for settlement as they had been grazing their cattle on this land. The land run was started with a canon blast and then everyone with map in hand rushed off to claim an open parcel of land.  The “sooners” jumped the gun and went out ahead to claim choice parcels, hence the “Oklahoma Sooners” monicker. 


Site of the Land Office that was a small wooden frame building
on a hill top where thousands of settlers lined up to register
their land claims


We didn’t do much on this short two day stop as most of the downtown businesses and museums were closed on Sunday and Monday.  Many of the antique stores  were open on Monday enabling me to wander around buying some old post cards.  I also bought a 1988 commemorative pin for the 89er celebration in Guthrie.  Each year they have a new pin for this annual event commemorating the1889 land run that started the city of Guthrie.


I found a rustic bar, the Roc-A-Way Tavern, close to the campground totally by accident, love it when that happens.  It is an old stone building built in 1932 by a Federal Marshall and his prisoners.  It's actually a beautifully constructed building.  According to on line reviews it is sort of a biker bar and a the place to partyin Guthrie, although on this evening it was quiet.  National Geo's Mudcats was filmed there in 2012 (something to do with fishing) and they hold a Catfish noodling ? tournament here each year.  I guess I need to get up to speed on "Noodling".


The Rock-A-Way exterior

And the unusual entrance sign

We would have liked to explore more in Oklahoma City and northern areas of the state, but Tornado season is approaching and I don’t want to be here.  As a result we are moving on into Kansas.

Next stop is the Lake Afton County Park near Wichita, Kansas;
Twinkles and Slick

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