Day 5: June 17, 2010
Bum Assumption Revealed
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While on my way to what I thought was a state capitol turned museum, I saw a sign for the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and thought that sounded even better. It was. At the Oklahoma Territorial Museum I learned that a capitol had never been built in Guthrie. The building across from the Blue Bell was the home of the State Capital Publishing Company. It had no connection at all with the state government. The museum it now contains is the State Capital Publishing Museum. So yesterday's journal had some wrong information in it. Here is the newly learned truth.

One of the first and finest public buildings in Guthrie was the Carnegie Library. This is where the statehood ceremony and the official swearing in of Oklahoma's first governor took place on November 16, 1907. The ceremony included a fake wedding symbolizing the joining of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory in the new state. That wedding is commemorated in a life size statue and repeated each year. The museum is adjacent to and connected with the library.

The first floor of the museum contains displays and documents on early events such as Native Americans resettlement and the 1889 land rush. All very interesting but not very photogenic. The large 46 star flag hangs at the top of the circular stairs leading to the second floor. It was a gift from the city of Philadelphia on Oklahoma's first Fourth of July following statehood. This date is embroidered into the star at the lower right. Edmund Jacobson took part in the 1889 land rush then lived in this 8 by 11 cabin southwest of Guthrie. E. E. Tallman was another 1889 homesteader. He operated a livery stable, a transfer company, and ultimately a car dealership in what is now Stables Cafe. This coach may have once parked where I ate dinner last night. The last picture is of the main desk in the Carnegie Library. The library contains several fireplaces which Andrew Carnegie reportedly thought were unnecessary luxuries. He really didn't like the fact that his money had been spent to put a useless dome on the building.

I did continue on to the old State Capital Publishing Company building but not for the museum. Instead, I climbed aboard a trolley for a tour. Rick says there's a tape drivers can play that describes the sights being passed but I never heard it. Rick does his tours live and he's darned good at it. Guthrie is filled with historic buildings -- there are over 2000 in the official Historic District -- and Rick probably knows all of them. I can't remember a fraction of what he pointed out as we traveled through residential areas as well as down town. The two buildings I've included tie in with my "State Capital" misunderstanding. The first is the Logan County Courthouse where Governor Haskell (the only governor to serve in Guthrie) kept his office. It has been called the statehouse and is as close to a capitol as you'll find in Guthrie. The town did set aside land for a capitol and that's what is in the third picture. The building is the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple which was eventually built on the open space. The temple is a must-see but I didn't. I was on the trolley for the 10:00 tour and could not stay for the 2:00 tour. Next time for sure.

Several movies have been filmed in Guthrie including Rainman. Rick pointed out this uphill view as one that is in Rainman. I snapped a shot through the trolley's windshield the returned after the tour for a clearer view.

Jennifer & Pat Bremer know all about movie locations. They're attending the Route 66 festival and I joined them at day's end for a Ku-Ku Burger run. They already had Friday blocked out for a trip to Guthrie to checkout a number of Rainman locations including the one I'd just learned about.

I scored my second Ozark Trails obelisk at Langston. There has been talk of restoring this marker but obviously nothing has happened yet.

Tom Mix was killed in a car accident when a metal suitcase (some call it a makeup case) struck his head. I saw the "Suitcase of Death" at the Tom Mix Museum on Tuesday but could find no picture of it. How could that be? It was about the only thing that I knew in advance would be at the museum. I saw it at the museum and stood in front of it with camera in hand but had no photograph. Once I realized I had no picture of the case, I pieced together what happened. On Tuesday, as I reached the display with the suitcase, a museum worker stepped into it to replace an item that had been taken out for study. I joked with him about the odd "cowboy boots" (low cut street shoes) mixed with the saddles and such and moved to another exhibit with every intention of coming back once the display was clear. I simply forgot. I left town thinking I had a picture of the case in my camera.

Thinking I'd probably be pressed for time, my original plan for the return to Baxter Springs was to take the Cimarron Turnpike to Tulsa and I-44 from there. As I drove north on US-177, I realized that, although time was a consideration, expressway speed was not required. I could avoid the superslabs and even add a little more US-60 to my experience by continuing north to Ponca City. That would take me to Bartlesville and I could then follow the same path to Baxter Springs as I had used on Tuesday. And that path led through Dewey and right past the Tom Mix Museum and the "Suitcase of Death". Ta da!

This is my home for the next three days.

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