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.

Notes from New Orleans: Charity Hospital Update

Posted on: July 1st, 2008 by Walter Gallas

 

Contractors examine the limestone cladding of Charity Hospital.The structural assessment of the Charity Hospital building is proceeding at a steady pace. The study, supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and under the direction of the Foundation for Historic Louisiana, is a response to the call from Louisiana legislators in a resolution passed in 2006. The mandate was unfunded, and the Foundation has been raising the money to ensure that the effort produces an independent report on the condition of this 1939 Art Deco landmark. I had the opportunity last week to visit the hospital site on Thursday. Sandra Stokes of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and I were able to go up in the lift with one of the contractors to see how the exterior limestone cladding is attached to the building frame. Final results of the study are scheduled for release on August 21.

Contractors examine the limestone cladding of Charity Hospital.

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.