‘Oklahoma City’ Category


Out Of The Ordinary

Linda Burton posting from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – There are two out-of-the-ordinary things about the Oklahoma state capitol. No other state capitol once had a working oil well on its front lawn named Petunia. And no other state capitol sat without a dome for 85 years, and then added one. It was designed to have a dome, but budget overruns forced a change of plans. “How can we save money?” became the pressing question; postponing the dome was the most logical answer. When the capitol was officially opened for business June 30, 1917, ten years into statehood, it had an almost flat roof. Inside an inverted bowl-shaped construction decorated with a painted plaster seal did faux-dome duty. Fast forward to 2001. With private donations in the coffer, the time for the doming of the capitol had arrived; workers removed the two million pounds of brick and concrete that made up the old flat roof. Because the original plans called for a dome, the existing building was ready to carry the new five-million-pound construction; it was completed in 2002. Outside, it looks the way it was always meant to look. Inside, everything above a narrow purple ring is new construction, offering a visually stunning upward-sweeping view to a state seal now surrounded by shimmering glass. Beautiful! Now, about that oil well named Petunia. » read more


Afternoon in Paris

Linda Burton posting from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – “No, we have a house,” was the deadpan answer. The young Dad held his little boy mid-air over the stroller while the Mom re-arranged jackets and diaper bag. She laughed, and I did too, amending my question from “Do you live here?” to “Do you come here often?” The Mom affirmed that they were frequent visitors to this beautiful park. The mood was light and why wouldn’t it be – we’re in a magical place where a fairy-tale lake disappears beneath a curving crystal tube that’s filled with jungle orchids; outside it’s Paris. Indeed, parts of this 17-acre oasis were inspired by the Tuileries Gardens of Paris, where Parisians celebrated, met, promenaded, and relaxed. Which is what I’m doing this afternoon in downtown Oklahoma City. If I were designing a place for people to gather in the heart of the city I’d do it just like the Oklahoma City planners did. I’d start with I M Pei. And I’d wind up with something like the Myriad Botanical Gardens. » read more


Here’s The Beef

Linda Burton posting from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – “Just climb those steps and walk the walkway over the pens. The auction is in that red barn over yonder.” Those directions were followed by a good squirt-through-the-teeth spit onto the ground and a nod towards a large red barn. Way over yonder. I climbed the steps as high as the walkway, but vertigo took over then. A small group of handsome black cattle stood penned below me; ears tagged; beyond them more cattle in brown; and way beyond that, the red auction barn. They stared at me and I stared back, each of us wondering where they were headed next. A man approached the steps wearing a long pony tail and a high-powered camera; I asked what he was planning to shoot. “Cows and cowboys,” he answered. “I’m just looking for something interesting.” He proceeded along the walkway over the cattle pens, headed for the red barn. The morning auction went on without me; I more sure-footedly explored Stockyards City from a ground-level view. Later I caught up with the crowd at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, where cowboys and cattlemen have been going since 1910. » read more


Divide and Conquer

Linda Burton posting from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Divide and conquer. An old expression, still good advice. There’s an Oklahoma windstorm going on outside, promising a temperature drop from 80 to 30 degrees, so I’m reading up on Oklahoma City and making my list of Things To Do when the weather calms. I don’t know much about OKC; is it a cowtown of the west, or a modern metropolis? Or both? I do know it’s the 8th largest capital city with a population of 580,000, and there’s an oil well on the capitol lawn. The literature I picked up at the Oklahoma Welcome Center includes the 2012 OKC Visitor Guide, titled Bold & Beautiful and subtitled Cool & Warm (published by the Convention & Visitors Bureau). Inside I read, “Over the past two decades we’ve transformed our city through more than $5 billion of public and private investment in quality-of-life improvements….There’s an energy here….It’s the kind of place you want to be.” The letter from Mayor Mick Cornett suggests a perfect day in Oklahoma City: start at the OKC Museum of Art to see Chihuly Glass, stroll through the Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge, lunch at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, afternoon at the Plaza District and then head to Classen Curve for shopping and dinner. End the day with a sunset at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. I can’t do all that in a day! Divide and conquer to see it all, that’s my plan. » read more


The Promised Land

09 oklahoma logoLinda Burton posting from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma –Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say, but Oklahoma City almost was. And Guthrie too, Oklahoma’s first capital city. At high noon on April 22, 1889, the resident population of Guthrie was nothing; before sundown it was at least 10,000. In that time streets were laid out, town lots staked off, and steps taken toward the formation of a municipal government. The same thing was happening in Oklahoma City, which would later become the capital. Within a month of its beginnings, Oklahoma City had five banks and six newspapers. This phenomenal development is known as The Land Run, or, as some called it back then, Harrison’s Horserace. You see, President Benjamin Harrison announced on March 3 of that momentous year that almost two million acres of “unassigned lands” in Indian Territory would be opened for settlement on April 22. With 09 land run paintingonly seven weeks to prepare, land-hungry Americans quickly began to gather. By the appointed day more than 50,000 hopefuls were living in tent cities on all four sides of the territory, waiting for the signal to claim their land. Precisely at noon in one of the most dramatized and chaotic episodes in western history, the cannons were fired. » read more