Travel Destination: Stillwater
For a fun, history-packed
day in Stillwater, follow this itinerary:
With a population of more than 40,000,
Stillwater is not small by any means. It does, however, have plenty of
little-known, yet historically significant, places that make it a
worthwhile day trip from any corner of the state. Founded in 1884,
Stillwater was the first settlement in the Unassigned Lands region
following the Civil War. The first post office opened on August 28,
1889. It is home to Oklahoma State University, which opened in 1890, and
boasts a large contingent of college students during the school year.
Stillwater got its name from the nearby Stillwater Creek, a tributary of
the Cimarron River.
Did you know?
“Red Dirt” refers to
the musicians who grew up in areas, such as Oklahoma and Texas, where
red, iron-rich, dirt is a defining feature of the natural landscape.
The “Red Dirt” sound features strong influences in country music, rock
& roll, bluegrass, the blues, folk, and even reggae. Stillwater was
one of the breeding grounds for Red Dirt music and many acts return
every year to celebrate the Red Dirt’s success and ever-growing fan
has much to offer. The City of Stillwater Public Library has put
together a great historic walking tour of the downtown area, which can
be found online here. The tour starts at
the intersection of Ninth and Main and takes you back in time to learn
about the first store in Stillwater, a theater that raised money for the
fire department, the oldest extant commercial building downtown, the
first paved street (still visible), and more!
One highlight on the
tour is the Santa Fe Depot, located at 401 East Ninth. The headquarters
and museum for the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, the National
Honorary Band Fraternity and Sorority are located in the depot. The
Station was purchased from a group of five Stillwater citizens, who
bought the station at auction to insure that it would be preserved.
Three of those men are alumni of the Alpha Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi.
The original plans for Stillwater Station are dated June 15, 1911, and
construction was completed in 1917 with the formal dedication ceremony
being held in 1918. In 1980 the Station was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places, and it is visited by many train enthusiasts
on a regular basis. For more information about the Kappa Kappa Psi or
Tau Beta Sigma National Headquarters, visit this website.
Stillwater offers a
healthy variety of hotels and accommodations to choose from. One of the
most historic places in Stillwater to stay is at the Atherton Hotel,
located at the Student Union on the OSU campus. It is also on the
National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of Historic Hotels of
America. The Student Union and Atherton Hotel were completed in the
early 1950s and, at the time, was one of the top ten largest student
unions in the country.
Oklahoma State University’s historic campus
offers a variety of options, to include tours of the campus and Old
Central, one of the oldest buildings in the state. Old Central houses
the Honors College and has just finished a rehabilitation certified by
the National Park Service. Another place to visit is the Edmon Low
Library. Its lobby features a grand staircase and marble columns,
guaranteed to impress! There’s bound to be something happening on
Library Lawn, and please tour the Centennial Gardens just west of the
Student Union. OSU’s campus has a large concentration of Public Works
Administration architecture, built during the 1930s in conjunction with
former university president, Henry G.Bennett’s, 25-Year Master Plan.
North and South Murray Halls, Willard and Cordell Halls, the Campus
Fire Station, and the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory were all built
using funding from the Public Works Administration. For a wonderful
walk, visit Theta Pond, across Monroe St. from South Murray Hall.
Originally a watering hole for horses, Theta Pond features large
cypress trees, foot bridges, and a family of ducks and geese.
While many choose to
dine at Stillwater favorite Eskimo Joe's while in town, you won't want
to miss the many other great establishments the city has to offer.
Oklahoma's oldest pizzeria, Hideaway Pizza, was founded in Stillwater
in 1957. The restaurant is a favorite of OSU students and offers six
sauces and 35 toppings to choose from. The original Hideaway is located
at 230 South Knoblock, so check it out. Main Street also
offers a variety of dining and shopping options in its historic
buildings, including Louie’s Bar and Grill, Cafe Bella, and Rival’s.
For something a little more sophisticated, check out Zannotti’s, the
local wine bar on 7th Street, also located in an historic downtown
building. Just down the street from Zannotti’s and Rival’s is the
Sheerar Museum and Cultural Center. This museum is the perfect spot to
learn about Stillwater and Payne County. Its current building was
constructed in 1928 to house the First Church of Christ Scientist, the
first such congregation west of the Mississippi River.
If you're out late and
craving some great, greasy food before heading home, go to Shortcake
Diner at 219 N. Main, open 24 hours a day. Fan favorites include
chicken fried steak, waffles, and of course, shortcakes! And like any
good diner, it's easy on the wallet. The diner has been in business for
more than 30 years, so join in on the Stillwater tradition and order a
We hope you enjoyed
this trip to Stillwater.
http://www.kkytbs.org/stillwater.html, yelp.com, and
Travel Destination: Wichita Mountains, Cache and Lawton vicinity
with us to the Wichita Mountains, located in southwest
Oklahoma. The Wichita Mountains is an area with a lot to offer for many
different age groups. Hiking, rock climbing or taking a scenic drive are
just a few of the things you can do in the area. While on the wildlife
refuge you may encounter American Bison, or White-tailed Deer along with
many more animals. the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Visitor Center offers
free admission to exhibits that will give you a detailed history of the
are. From the Visitor Center, feel free to roam and make your own
Situated in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance of the Wildlife
Refuge, the vintage cobblestone resort town of Medicine Park is a
must-see when visiting the area. many of the town's original buildings
are constructed from naturally formed red granite cobblestones, unique
to the Wichita Mountains. Medicine Park was Oklahoma's first planned
tourism resort, founded on July 4th, 1908 by Oklahoma's first Senator,
Another point of interest is the Wichita Mountain Winery. The winery is a
great place to take in the scenery while enjoying a wine tasting.
While just a short drive from Lawton, Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountains
seem like another world away. The beautiful scenery, as well as the
numerous activities, provide a great getaway.
Photos courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Travel Destination: Clinton
Clinton is a town of approximately 8,800 people in western Oklahoma.
is known for its proximity to the Mother Road and the town became home
to the first state sponsored Route 66 museum in the Nation. Also located
in Clinton is McLain Rogers Park. The park was built in the 1930's by
the Works Progress Administration. The Art Deco east gate of the park is
situated directly on old Route 66 and is still shining with its
original glow. McLain Rogers Park features a variety of recreational
attractions. Both the museum and the park are just a few of the things
that bring people from all over the nation to Clinton, Oklahoma.
City Architect Rand Elliot is from Clinton, our Travel Destination of
the month. Visit Pops Restaurant on Route 66 to see his futuristic
designs for yourself. Or visit his website.
Travel Destination: Freedom
Freedom is located
in western Woods
county, about 35 miles northeast of Woodward. Settled in the late
1800's, it was named Freedom with the opening of the post office in
1901 and incorporated as a town in 1925, It is home to the Alabaster
Caverns State Park, the Burnham archeological dig, the Cimarron Cowboys
Monument and the Salt Haulers Grave. Freedom is in Cimarron county in
the Oklahoma panhandle which was part of the epicenter of the dust bowl
that decimated the Great Plains from 1930-1936. Today, The entire area thrives from industries in agriculture, livestock, education and tourism.
Did you know?
"Okies" is a term that was given to all the migrant peoples of the dust
bowl period of the 1930's, not just the ones from Oklahoma. The Great
Migration, some 2.5 million people, left farms and homesteads in
Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska
Activities, Lodging and Dining
Alabaster Caverns State Park is the largest natural gypsum cave open to
the public in the world. Alabaster colors in the caverns range from
white to pink even a rare black strain that
is one of only three in the world including Italy and China. There is a
wide range of amenities available including picnic areas, concessions,
playgrounds and complete camping and RV areas and facilities. Guided
tours are given daily and free caving is available. Visit the TravelOK website for more information.
The Burnham Archeological Dig located approximately 12 miles northwest
of Freedom turned the archeological world on its head according to Dr.
Kay Decker, Department Chair and Professor of Sociology at Northwestern
Oklahoma State University and board President of Preservation Oklahoma.
The dig revealed artifacts suggesting humans had inhabited the area
thousands of years early than previously thought. Artifacts from the dig
can be viewed at the Freedom Museum located on Main street. Antique
saddles, a large barbed wire collection, and a fabulous collection of
pioneer memorabilia are also on display Dr. Decker says. The Museum is
open daily except Monday from 2:00 to 4:00pm. Call 580-621-3583 for more
Salt Haulers grave is a must see for anyone interested in stories of
the old west. Located 13 miles north of Freedom, it is a monument to the
last known engagement between the U.S. Cavalry and American Indians in
pre-statehood Oklahoma. The story of the battle of Turkey Springs and
Red Hills, also known as the Cheyenne Outbreak or Dull Knife's Raid, can
be read here.
If your "Wild West" interests are a little more casual, strolling along
Freedom's main street amidst Old West themed store fronts or lodging at
the Cedar Canyon Lodge at the entrance to Alabaster Caverns State Park
where you can dine at the Stables Cantina might be just for you. Visit
for more information and to make reservations. For a bit more
excitement, be sure to attend the Old Cowhands Reunion and PRCA Rodeo
held the third week of August each year.
There's lots more to do and see in Freedom and the surrounding area of
Woods County Oklahoma. For more information contact the Freedom Chamber
of Commerce at 580-621-3276. Or visit www.freedomokla.com and www.visitwoodscounty.com
Photos courtesy of Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department at www.travelok.com
and the Freedom Chamber of Commerce, www.freedom.com.
Special thanks to Dr. Kay Decker for providing information and inspiration for this story.
Travel Destination: An Oklahoma Christmas
For the Holiday season
we featured Holiday activities going on all over Oklahoma. If you
are feeling like a day trip or even a weekend getaway, here is a list of
some of the fun activities we found.
**Please keep in mind that these events are subject to change yearly, so please visit the websites we have provided in order to find the most up to date information.**
Devon Ice Rink at the Civic Center
Downtown, Oklahoma City, OK.
For more information about these events such as locations and hours visit the Downtown OKC website.
Snow Tubing at the Bricktown Ballpark
Sponsored by Chesapeake Energy. Oklahoma City, OK
2 South Mickey Mantle Dr
Cruise down the slopes of one of the largest man-made snow tubing slopes.
Wimgo Holidays on the Canal
Oklahoma City, OK
During the Holiday season enjoy a free boat ride down the Bricktown canal. Hours are 6:00pm-9:30 pm Thursday-Sunday (closed Christmas Day).
OKC Community Foundation’s Free Museum Sundays
Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma City Museum of Art - 415 Couch Drive
American Banjo Museum - 9 E Sheridan Ave.
Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum -1400 Classen Dr
The Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum - 620 N. Harvey
Sunday Dec. 19th All Four Museums 1pm-6pm
Sunday Jan 2nd, Oklahoma City National Memorial 1pm-6pm
Skate Under the Skyline, Winterfest
Near the BOK Center 200 S. Denver Ave.
Open until Jan 2nd (including Christmas Day) rent or bring your own skates, spectators can keep warm in a warming tent adjacent to the Ice Rink.
Oklahoma’s Tallest Outdoor Christmas Tree
Near the BOK Center 200 S. Denver Ave.
44’ Christmas tree that glows with over 35,700 lights, the base measures nearly 25 feet in diameter. Located next to the Ice Rink it provides the perfect backdrop for Holiday Photos.
Amusement Rides at Winterfest
Near the BOK Center 200 S. Denver Ave.
A Holiday Carnival located on Frisco Avenue offers four rides, a Farris Wheel, Carousel, Gravitron, and Windjammer. For more information go to the BOK Center website.
Christmas in the Park
Located at these three City Parks:
Yukon City Park, Jim Watson Drive off of S. Holly Avenue
Freedom Trail Park, 2220 S. Holly Avenue
Kathryn Kroutil-Wright Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W. Vandament
Open 6pm-11pm nightly
Chicasha Festival of Lights, Shannon Springs Park
Chickasha, OK 73018
For more information contact 405-224-9627
Holiday Lights in Central OK
Broken Arrow OK
1500 S. Main
For more information call 918-251-1518
Rhema Bible College Christmas Lights
Broken Arrow, OK
1025 W. Kenosha
For more information call 918-258-1588
A Territorial Christmas and Victorian Walk Evenings
Guthrie celebrates in grand Territorial style! Live performances, Candlelight Trolley Tours our famous Victorian Walk Evenings featuring live window scenes celebrating life in Territorial Guthrie. Carolers, peanut vendors and lights galore illuminate the Historic District. For more information call 405-282-1947
Travel Destination: Duncan
Duncan is located in Southwestern
Oklahoma and has been associated with its proximity to the Chisholm
Trail. Duncan was put on the map by the cowboys and cattlemen that drove
their herds North and South along the Chisholm Trail.
the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is a great way to discover what life
was like on the trail. The mission of the Heritage Center is to celebrate and perpetuate the history, art and culture of the Chisholm Trail, the American Cowboy and the American West.
Additionally, the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is home to one of the
largest bronze statues in Oklahoma, "On the Chisholm Trail," depicting a
scene from life on the trail and honoring the pioneers of Stephens
Duncan is also known for its antique stores, outdoor activities and museums. The Stephens County Historical Museum features authentic
room vignettes filled with treasured antiques, memorabilia, and other
artifacts characterizing pioneer life in Oklahoma. Another must-see is the W.T. Foreman Prairie House, one of the earliest examples of the Prairie Style Home. It has been restored and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
With so many things to offer, Duncan was voted the best weekend getaway
in Oklahoma in 2010, and we agree that the history and spirit of the
town makes it a great place to visit. But don't take our word for it,
see for yourself!
For more information, please visit www.duncanok.org or www.duncancalendar.com.
"On the Chisholm Trail," by artist Paul Moore
Travel Destination: Washita Battlefield National Historic Landmark Site, near Cheyenne
The historic Washita Battlefield site
is located near the town of Cheyenne, in western Oklahoma.
protects and interprets the setting along the Washita River where Lt.
Col. George A. Custer led the 7th U.S. Cavalry on a surprise dawn attack
against the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle on
November 27, 1868. The attack was an important event in the tragic clash
of cultures of the Indian Wars era.
Visitors Center, located one mile west of Cheyenne, is a great place to
learn about the history of the battle, as well as history of Oklahoma
itself. The visitors center offers a variety of activities year round
for people of all ages, featuring exhibits and a short film about the
battle. There is a 1.5 mile trail which runs through the site and rangers offer guided tours in the summer. Call 580-497-2742 for more information or visit www.nps.gov/waba/index.htm.
Visitors Center, copyright 2009 Robert Spude/NPS Photo
Washita Battlefield was at one time a part of the Oklahoma's Most
Endangered Historic Places list. It is now a National Historic Landmark Site.
Travel Destination: Muskogee, OK
This month our travel destination is Muskogee, OK, located fifty miles southeast of Tulsa at the intersection of Highways 62, 64, and 69. Established as a railroad depot in 1872, Muskogee became home to the first federal district courthouse in Indian Territory in 1889. At the time of statehood in 1907, Muskogee was the second largest town in Indian Territory. The town also witnessed the conferment of the first post-secondary degree in Oklahoma at Henry Kendall College in 1898, and hosted the 1905 constitutional convention for the proposed State of Sequoyah, which was opposed by President Theodore Roosevelt and never came to fruition.
Historic homes featured on a vintage Muskogee postcard. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society
Travel Destination: Roman Nose State Park, Watonga, OK
Roman Nose State Park outside of Watonga is a beautiful and unique recreation area. Built by the National Park Service with labor from the CCC, it pays tribute to the man whose name it carries; Chief Henry Roman Nose. The park was opened to the public in 1937 and since then has been a favorite travel destination of Oklahomans across the state. The Oklahoma Department of Tourism, which manages and operates the state parks, began a restoration of the park's structures starting with the redesign of the Roman Nose Lodge.
Roman Nose lodge during the 1950's
The lodge, originally built in 1956, sustained damage to an addition built in the 1980's from tropical storm Erin. The damaged addition was removed and a new façade was designed in its place with an emphasis placed on the original 1950’s design. The original footprint of the lodge was restored and to that was added two new ADA guest rooms. The colors chosen for the renovated spaces are based on those found in the nature of the park. Elsewhere in the park, cabins have been renovated and returned to the rustic style in which they were built.
Roman Nose Lodge during the 1980's
The park also boasts other recreation amenities including an 18 hole golf course, a swimming pool, hiking trails, two lakes and numerous sporting opportunities for both water and land. There are abundant lodging options including the lodge and cabins as well as RV stations, tent camp sites and picnic areas. This beautiful and scenic park should be on everyone's "Must See" list when traveling this year.
Thank you to Buffy Hughes of the Oklahoma Department of
Tourism for contributing information to this article. Photos were
provided by Oklahoma Department of Tourism
Roman Nose State Park after its recent renovation
Please send us any ideas you have for future