Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sightseeing in Oklahoma

Monday and Tuesday was spent exploring the towns and countryside of nearby Oklahoma. I think I mentioned before that the Oklahoma border is just 3 miles outside of Coffeyville so we decided to check out the tourist attractions in this nearby state. On Monday we took a loop down to Pawnee, Ok and came back through Hominy and Barnsdall. The trading post we were looking for in Pawnee is no longer in operation but we had a great meal at Kacie's Diner while we were there. In Hominy a local artisan has created 18-20' sculptures, visible on a ridge just outside of town but too far away to get any pictures of. Our last stop, as nightfall set in, was to the town of Barnsdall...home of Anita Bryant and Clark Gable and the Worlds only main street oil well. It sits right in the middle of the street but appears to not be operational anymore.

On Tuesday we went to Bartlesville, OK. Our first stop was to Yocham's leather shop. What a neat place it was. Lots of cowboy memorabilia, custom saddles and furniture. In the rear of the retail area there is an area where three guys work on making the saddles and other custom items. They explained what they were doing and showed us some of the pieces they've made, that were in the back store room.

It was very interesting talking to them and learning about their craft. From there we went to the Tom Mix museum where I was surprised to see so much memorabilia. All of the items were purchased from the heir to the estate and the collection is extensive. We watched a movie in the little theater set up in the back and the saddle he used in the movie is shown here from one of the displays.

Tom's third wife was from Dewey (the town just outside of Bartlesville where the museum is) and he was also the town marshal for a short time in 1909. While in Dewey he worked on a local cattle ranch. His skill with horses is what got him a part in a movie that was being filmed near Dewey. That was the beginning of his movie career. The horse shown in this picture is in the likeness of Tony, the wonder horse that Tom rode. He was one of four horses that Tom owned throughout his career. Tom paid $600 for Tony when he was a young, undernourished colt. Tom Mix fattened Tony on oats soaked in milk. Together they made $7,500,000.
Next we went to the Price Tower, which is a Frank Lloyd Wright design. We took a tour of the building, which allowed us to see some of the private areas of the building, where the executive offices were and we also got to see one of the apartments, which has been left in its' original condition with period furnishings from the 50's. The building's uses a cantilevered design to suspend areas of the building. It was interesting to see the different Wright components and to also see the current exhibit that was in the museum. It featured artists who recycled common items into new art objects (items such as newspaper, milk cartons, plastic bottles and cassette tapes). It was fascinating to see the beautiful objects that had been created from "garbage".
Our last stop was to the Phillips petroleum museum. A lot of wonderful artifacts from the company's history in oil exploration. What I found interesting were all the items that Phillips has developed (resins, different types of plastics, etc.) that has led to them amassing over 15,000 patents and the development of many of the products we now enjoy.
We had two great days of sightseeing to see many of the interesting things that Oklahoma has to offer. Back to work tomorrow.....we have other trips planned for our upcoming days off.

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