Lesser Known Facts About Oklahoma
When if comes to Oklahoma, most of the country considers it "flyover territory." As if there wasn't a single interesting thing about USA's most ecologically diverse state. I'm not going out on a limb to convince them otherwise, look what it's done to Texas with all them West-Coasters moving out there, ruining the most ruggedly solid state in the union... So instead, we're going to talk about the lesser known, yet interesting things about Oklahoma.
When it comes to Oklahoma history, people talk about "the land run" as if it was just one crazy event prior to statehood. Truth be told, there were seven land runs in what is now Oklahoma. The first and most famous was the 1889 Land Run that opened up central Oklahoma to settlers looking for their own piece of America.
There were land runs also in 91, 92, 93, 95, and two smaller runs in 1901 with the last remaining unassigned lands in the Sooner State.
Ironically, the biggest of all the land runs in Oklahoma, and the one they depict in movies was actually the fourth land run on the Cherokee Strip in 1893. It still remains the largest land run in the history of humans, over 8million acres of land given to those who got there first.
When someone asks you "What's the oldest town in Oklahoma?" Most people assume it's Oklahoma City. After all, that's the first town that came out of the first land run in 1889. It literally boomed up as a tent city overnight jam packed with people looking to strike it big.
If you google the question of which city is the oldest in Oklahoma, people like to point to Vinita. A small little town up in the Northeast corner of the state, but that's not it either.
The oldest town in Oklahoma is actually Fort Gibson. Established as a military garrison in 1824 to support the US policy and relocation of Native Americans. Ironically, the town sprang up around Fort Gibson made up of not only military families, but Native Americans needing military protection, and free African Americans looking to escape the South. Most find it surprising that the first town in Oklahoma would be so diverse, but that's Oklahoma.
Just outside of Tulsa, there's a little shipping community called Catoosa lining the banks of the Virdigris River. That little river flows Southeast of Tulsa until it meets and joins the mighty Arkansas River. It then traverses it's namesake of Arkansas and joins the Mississippi River that flows down to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Knowledge bomb, I know.
You might not think that there's much call for marine shipping in Oklahoma, but you'd again be wrong my friend. Years ago, before pipeline technology became what it is, oil was shipped out of that port supplied by the countless refineries and wells in NEOK. When people think Oklahoma oil, they focus more on Western Oklahoma, but the Northeastern part of the state really pumps out the good stuff. There just isn't much call for drilling out there anymore as most areas were tapped by the mid 20th century. They also ship a lot of chemicals, agriculture products like harvested grains, and fertilizer out of that port. More than enough to make it king of the mountain in terms of America's inland marine shipping ports.
If you've been here a while, you know that our largest city is often just referred to as "The City." Only visitors and transient people to our state call it Oklahoma City. It's been there forever. It was one of the original tent town that sprang up from the first land run in 1889, but it wasn't the capital city until a few years after Oklahoma became a state.
The original capital city of Oklahoma was Guthrie. A cool little meth town where the local politicians actually chose long ago to save the historic atmosphere and architecture. You can literally have a meal and a drink in a tavern that's almost as old as Oklahoma. Even the old historic houses still stand in that town. It's really a place to behold, especially this time of year when the decorations start popping out.
If you're a musician, you probably believe the tale that Les Paul invented the electric guitar by putting copper-wound pickups on a log. That's just an old wives tale... Truth be told, the electric guitar was built by a man named Bob Dunn from Beggs, OK way back in 1935. So, in a manner of speaking, rock-n-roll wouldn't be as great as what it once was without Oklahoma. For without the Sooner State, Bob Dunn might not have been bored enough to toss scary electricity into a musical instrument.
I know this is kind of niche to country fans, but name me one person in this country that doesn't know who Garth Brooks is... Come on, even the college crowd knows "Friends in Low Places."
If you've ever traveled West of OKC on I-40, you've probably seen the huge water tower out that way that says "Welcome to Yukon. Home of Garth Brooks."
While Garth may have spent time in his youth in Yukon, OK, he was born and raised originally in Tulsa. Though, Stillwater really gets bragging rights for creating the most dominant musical performer of this century. That's where he discovered his music, honed his craft, left Nashville for once, and came back again to release his first album. Tumbleweed's is the bar that creates most of the successful musical acts in Oklahoma. Without it, we really might just be one of those flyover states after all.