Conferences

Historic Homes of the Wild West

Posted on: July 2nd, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Catherine Montogomery, architect with the Oklahoma Historical Society, has put together a glimpse into life on the prairie. The first stop of the day is in Hominy, Oklahoma home of the Drummond home.

Built in 1905 it is one of the few Victorian homes built on the prairie. Built by Frederick Drummond in 1905 this is one of the few remaining, dscf0024.JPGintact Victorian homes on the prairie. Drummond was Scottish and trained with the Osage in Pawhuska where he met his wife, Addie Gantner. Shortly after marrying Addie they moved to hominy where Drummond had a 1/4 share in the Hominy Trading Co. He was a man of many trades - he started the Drummond Cattle Co. and served as mayor of Hominy as well. Remarkably the home was left intact and after the last relative passed away in the 70s the property was transferred to the OK Historical Society. They have taken great pains to maintain this property. Beverly, Director of the Drummond home, will take you on a journey through the life and times of the Drummond family.

dscf0038.JPGAfter winding our way through rural Oklahoma we found ourselves in Pawhuska, gateway to the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. Originally the Barnard-Chapman Ranch, the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. (As a side note Ben Johnson's dad was the ranch manager. Johnson was known to return to the ranch annually. At times he brought John Wayne with him. It is reported that Wayne tried to buy the ranch, but could never entice Barnard and Chapman to sell) There are a number of original buildings thatdscf0031.JPG still remain and are primarily used for continued ranch operations. There is a bunkhouse that has been updated and is used for trustee and development functions, but really it isn't about the remaining buildings. The best part is the drive through the prairie. This is a feast for the senses. The color, life, and sounds of the wildlife are astounding. Harvey Payne, Executive Director of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, shared a wealth of information about how the preserve was created and how it is managdscf0027.JPGed and maintained. According to Harvey the prairie was originally a forest of spruce and jack pine. However, over the course of many generations of burning - probably three times a year - the prairie was created. Harvey calls it a "human induced landscape". The three burns took place during the spring and late summer - most likely lightening strikes and occassionally some Native American burning. In the fall and mid-October Native Americans set the fires for a controlled burn.  Given these changes to the landscape this is extremely fertile land. A head of cattle can gain up to 4 pounds a day grazing on the prairie. This takesme to what I think is the most remarkable sight. We had an opportunity to see the buffalo - not up close and personal, but close enough for this city girl (I still have a healthy respect for my larger than life fellow creatures) Anyway, I could have easily been enticed to "stay and set a while", watch the buffalo, the birds and the horizon forever. However time stands still for no one and after a while we were off to our next stop,  Pawnee Bill's Ranch.

Pawnee Bill, was so named by the Pawnee Indians with which he lived and worked. In his early years he worked as a teacher with the Pawnee. In 1883 Pawnee Bill created his wild west show. Not only was he was the creator, he was also the business mind behind "Pawnee Bill's Historic Wild West ~ America's National Entertainment!" It was a very diverse family affair - his wife Mae was a main character in the show for practically the entire run of the show. He also included Sioux, Pawnee, Russians, Cossacks, an Aborigini, and African-Americans to name a few. In its heyday the show required 52 rail cars, would spend one day in a town, do the show and then pack up and head on to the next destination.

The ranch was originally 2,000 acres - the OKHS has been able to retain 500 acres. There are a number of buildings, including a museum which explains the Wild West Shows history, but really the piece de resistance is Pawnee Bill's home. Built in 1910, and designed by James Hamilton out of Philadelphia, the home took a year to build. The home has 14 rooms and has an interesting mix of local and exotic materials.

The day is a great prairie adventure, a unique blend of building preservation and cultural landscapes. This is a must see session!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Okmulgee: Diverse Cultures/One Community

Posted on: July 1st, 2008 by Farin Salahuddin

 

img_3980.jpgWhat do you think of when you think of a small town in Oklahoma? Pioneers, American Indians, maybe a general store?  Well, you may find all this and more when you visit Okmulgee.  A town located 40 minutes south of Tulsa and home of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Benefitting from the oil industry, Okmulgee (winner of the 2002 annual Main Street Award) enjoyed prosperity in its past and was host to European settlers, Native Americans and African Americans alike. This rich social tapestry is evidenced through much of Okmulgee's preserved built environment.

img_3978.jpgBegin your history lesson at the Creek Nation Tribal Complex where you will meet a Muscogee Nation Supreme Court Judge.  Move on to the Creek Council House Museum and learn more about the culture of what is referred to as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" that are recognized  by Oklahoma. (The other four tribes are the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Seminole and Choctaw.)

Though there is much to be learned here regarding the relationship between the Native American and Eurpoean settlers, there was a strong African American presence in Okmulgee as well. Visit many of the buildings that were vital to their everyday life and how those buildings endure and function today.

Not only will this Okmulgee tour offer historic reenactments, colorful anecdotes and cultural insight...there will be tasty offerings as well.  Massey's BBQ restaurant is some of the best eatin' I've had in my time in Tulsa. They'll be catering the lunch offered at Okmulgee's first church, The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Getting Kicks: Route 66 East to Galena, Kansas

Posted on: June 30th, 2008 by Lori Feinman

 

The Original Tow Mater!Ever see the movie Cars? It's an animated feature film done by the magicians at Pixar Studios, and it rocks Route 66. Everyone considering coming to Tulsa for the conference should go down to your (local, independent) video store and rent it, then sign up for the Route 66 West and Route 66 East field sessions. Because when I rode along last Monday with Kaisa Barthulli, the Park Service's Route 66 Empress (not her real title), I actually met people who inspired the Pixar team and influenced the characters, AND was able to see the real vehicle on which the character of Tow Mater was based (and met the colorful local resident who inspired its personality).

tow_mater.jpgWe saw the original roadbed, several excellent bridges, and heard from our tour guide, author of several Route 66 Travel Guides, Jerry McClanahan, the stories of the rise, fall, and resurgence of this only-in-America landscape.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Pillars of Preservation: Oklahoma's Federal Courthouse Buildings

Posted on: June 27th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

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Near the heart of downtown Tulsa sits the Federal Courthouse. Recently renovated, this small town gem has been returned to its former glory. Join Steven Kline, U.S. General Services Administration, and other members of the restoration team to learn about G.S.A.'s committment to reinvesting in downtowns across the United States. Steve will take you through the painstaking process of paint analysis as well as how 21st century security, life safety and technology requirements have been sensitively incorporated. Steve will also discuss the G.S.A.'s "Art in Architecture" program. In addition, there will be an opportunity to learn about other G.S.A. projects across Oklahoma - with your own view from the jury box! Don't miss this opportunity to learn about G.S.A.'s commitment to historic preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Sapulpa, the heart of Route 66.

Posted on: June 26th, 2008 by Lori Feinman

 

img_2129.jpgSapulpa is a very close-in suburb of Tulsa, but when you get there it's like you're in another time. It's a classic Main Street community, with shops and cafes along the main drag, which is Route 66. We parked in Sapulpa and opened the car door and we heard... music? We weren't crazy, the Chamber of Commerce pipes music that you can hear all up and down the boulevard. Pretty cool, and really heightened that otherworldly feeling. Our tour guide Janet showed us how this small community is revitalizing their downtown using tax credits and other incentives to encourage investment by current owners as well as new investment in the community. One of the anchors of the street is an apartment for seniors (or, rather, 55 and up, it's debatable whether being 55 should qualify you for senior housing!) in a adaptive use of an office building. You'll get to see one of the sunny, comfortable apartments in the building and hear the building's story.

Another stop is the Sapulpa Historical Society, a surprisingly large museum with all sorts of interesting artifacts, but its strength is its collection of town models. A local resident lovingly recreated Sapulpa in different eras, so you can clearly see the evolution of the town - its growth following the upward trajectory of the oil industry and the railroad.

Look at my pictures to see the cross truss bridge, one of the great icons of Route 66, as well as all the other treasures. The video gives you a funny glimpse at the Sapulpa home of the founders of Frankoma Pottery, designed by Bruce Goff. I am a fan of mid-century architecture, and I love Goff stuff for it's personality and quirkiness. This house shows how he worked closely with the Frank family and used the house to showcase their business (the bricks are pottery) and their style. It by itself - and the tour guide, one of the family's daughters - is worth the trip.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.