Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plains

I didn't grow up in Oklahoma, so unlike my own children, I didn't have the benefit of years of Oklahoma history in school.  It's a shame, really, because the interesting lore and culture of my adopted state endears it to me more and more all the time. 

I mean, there are 306 million people living in the United States, but only three-and-a-half million of us get to live in a state that actually inspired a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.  Not to mention a Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie.  (I loved that movie.  It came out in 1992, before I was a married woman and before Tom was a couch-jumper.  And let me tell you that it was very pleasant sitting a dark theater, watching a close-up shot of Tom whispering "Marry me, Shannon."  "Okay," I whispered back.)

When Hubs first told me we'd be having a romantic anniversary getaway a few miles outside of Guthrie, Oklahoma, I was skeptical.  "What's in Guthrie?" I asked.

A lot, it turns out.  It was the original state capital of Oklahoma, and it was the headquarters of the famous Land Run of 1889.  This picturesque little town is home to a huge historic district, meticulously maintained and restored.  During our trip, Hubs and I spent an afternoon taking in the history.




I have an unhealthy obsession with historical markers.  My idea of a dream vacation is to stop at every single one of them:


100_4092 We stopped at an old drugstore that had been turned into a museum.  It was an interesting look at the  pharmaceutical history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Half the remedies in there included "cocaine" and "heroin" as ingredients.  No wonder Aunt Eller was so moody. (I also saw with my very own eyes a particular piece of turn-of-the-century medical equipment that is horribly seared into my brain for all eternity.  I'll spare you the details, but let's just say we should all thank our lucky stars not to have been constipated in 1903.)


100_4101 Parts of the original brick sidewalks and streets could be seen throughout the district.  Together with the old buildings, it was hard not to let the imagination run wild.

I turned to Hubs.  "Do you realize there might have been a gunfight RIGHT HERE?  Somebody might have been shot to death RIGHT HERE." 

Hey look, another historical marker, and this is a good one:


Hubs turned to me.  "Do you realize Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staked their claim RIGHT HERE?"


37 thoughts on “Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plains

  1. Megan@SortaCrunchy says:

    Oh, yes! Guthrie really is such a neat little town. Yep, just chock-full of history, it sure is. There are actually a lot of towns in Oklahoma with pretty fascinating history. Have y’all ever been down to Sulphur? Purdy.
    I love Far and Away, too. I have probably seen it twenty-eight times. You’re a corker, Shannon. What a corker you are. I wanted to change my name to Shannon immediately after my first viewing of that fine piece of American cinema!

  2. k&c's mom says:

    I’d have to come north and cross the Red River to get there, but Guthrie sounds like a great place to visit. And Texas is way too hot these days. Hope you had a very happy anniversary!

  3. Gwyn says:

    I love those historical markers too! I think hubby and the kids groan because they know I’ll want to stop and read them ALL and that they might actually learn something.

  4. Alli says:

    Well, that does it. Hubby and I were already thinking about spending our 10th anniversary (next year) in the little cottages you posted about last week. Now you show the little town??? I think you just sealed the deal. I LOVE it…and Hubby will, too.

  5. kisatrtle says:

    Alas, I have never been to your dear adopted state. I keep telling myself that someday we will see them all, but now I’m not so sure.
    Here’s hopin?

  6. Deborah says:

    Our famiy is going to be driving through the middle of Oklahoma at the beginning of August (on our way from Chicago to south Texas). We’re going to be in the car FOREVER, so I’m trying to plan a few fun stops. While Guthrie would be fun for me, I’m not sure that my toddler and 4 year old would enjoy the sightseeing. Any suggestions for family-friendly stops or activities?

  7. Kimberli says:

    We love Guthrie, we actually stayed there for our anniversary in January and I blogged about it too. We will be going back soon for the farmers market and antique shops.

  8. Jenni says:

    I absolutely love Far and Away…and I must grudgingly admit that Oklahoma has its share of cool corners. Right now I’d trade them for just about any beach, however. *sigh*

  9. Marian says:

    One of my absolute favorite movies! I’m so with you on historical sites– “so much scope for the imagination”. (We just watched Anne of Green Gables last night. Are you a kindred spirit, too? That and Anne of Avonlea each end with the most intensely romantic scenes EVER, and they pull it off with barely a kiss. Ahhh… Take that, Hollywood!)
    I’ve learned to keep my historical romanticism under control for my family’s sake. Last week as we road in a wagon along what was the Santa Fe Trail in Independence, MO, they got away with only one short speech about all the hopes and dreams that had set forth under our very feet… Guthrie looks like a gem. =)

  10. Heather@WoolandFlax says:

    I grew up in Oklahoma, watching the outdoor musical in “Discoveryland” every summer, and dressing up like Laura Ingalls and running across the playground with my classmates on Land Run day at school. Yee-ha!

  11. Headless Mom says:

    I love the Bonfils historical marker. Being from Denver I am familiar with him. Mostly the Bonfils Blood center-the largest blood bank in the Rocky Mtn. region (or at least was.) I used to have a bff that was from Guthrie. Thanks for the history lesson! It’s charming!

  12. Christy says:

    I can tell you all about Mockingbirds, Apple Blossoms and Diamonds but I have no idea what my new state’s symbols are! I even took a class in college about Arkansas History. What am I going to to about learning Michigan history now?!

  13. R.McLellan says:

    Guthrie is a neat town to visit and your post is a great one. I would encourage anyone wanting to visit Oklahoma soak up the history to not forget where the land came from nor the people who were robbed of it. Always another side to the coin.
    There are many museums across Oklahoma run by tribes now local to the area which are most interesting.

  14. Runningamuck says:

    I LOVE it! Historical markers grab me too. Even as child, growing up in England, I can remember walking through castles and being awed by the thought of people centuries prior having walked the exact steps as me. Hee hee, Hubs is a smart alec just like my Hubby. Gotta love it. And I love Far and Away also. Can’t stand Tom Cruise now but back then I could actually enjoy his films without being bombarded mentally with all his real-life weirdness. =0)

  15. Miche@CoordinatedChaos says:

    I loved this; too funny! AND I LOVED LOVED LOVED “Far And Away”. That is my all time favorite move still; I just pretend I don’t know that Tom Cruise is “crazy”. πŸ™‚ I’m an adopted resident of Alabama and though at first I kinda rolled my eyes about it, there are quite a few historical interests that make this state pretty cool, even with the crazy humidity.

  16. Karen (KayKay) says:

    We lived in Tulsa for about a year and a half. My son was had Oklahoma history in school – I definitely enjoyed learning about the state more than he did. Very interesting. Never visited Guthrie though. It looks like a wonderful little place.

  17. Steff says:

    There are so many amazing things to see in OK that are not well publicized outside our fair state. While in Guthrie did you by chance check out the masonic temple? it is supposed to be fabulous.
    Claremore is also a good place wth much of the will rogers era history there.
    Pawnee Bills home at Pawnee is cool to see the relics from his wild west show and things like annie oakleys guns.
    There are also the Mounds indian ruins.
    They are part of a triangulated set, one is in southern IL and the last is in Louisiana I think(hubby knows for sure). The three are equadistant from each other and the exact same height above sea level….
    Muskogee is home to the 5 Civilized Tribes museum and the boyhood home of sequoia is around Vian.

  18. jenx67 says:

    There is a great book out you might really enjoy. It’s called Sooner Cinema and its about different Oklahoma films/Oklahoma characters. If you’re interested in having a peek, I might be able to get you a review copy. It’s really an awesome book by an Oklahoma publisher – http://www.fortysixthstarpress.com.
    If you’re interested e me! jenx67[at]cox[dot]net.

  19. Jean says:

    I am glad to see that I am not the only one who takes photos of historical markers. How else am I going to remember the story (or even what the other photos are) when I eventually start to put the pictures in a scrapbook about 10 years later?!

  20. Sheila says:

    I literally laughed out lough at the last part of your post! I was totally picturing Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise while reading your post…so funny!! I love historic towns like that, cool to think about how things were way back when!

  21. PollyS says:

    When I visited Dallas about 10 years ago, the local news did an “up close and personal” piece on a state employee who’s job was to visit EVERY historical marker in the state to make certain it was clean and in good condition. He was a 20-something guy and seemed to enjoy every minute of his “dream” job. I was jealous. I wished (and still do) that I had a neato job like that. Maybe when I’m an empty-nester.

  22. Shannon says:

    My 4 and 2 year olds watched the musical just last week, bein’ that we were stayin’ with Nana and Poppi in good ole Oklahoma. At the end, we all (Nana and Poppi included) belted out “O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma, OK! YEAH!”
    In college, a friend constantly annoyed me with the phrase, “You’re a corker, Shannon.”

  23. Erin says:

    Ah, yes. It’s so nice to see someone who didn’t grow up here but still appreciates this great state. I love Oklahoma. And you’re right about that movie. Soooo good!

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