This week we’re going to take a little trip to one of my favorite Oklahoma historical markers.
Welcome to Blog Oklahoma
Back during the summer of 2006, our family decided to take a short excursion through western Oklahoma. Besides having a fun family afternoon drive and an enjoyable picnic by an area lake, we set out to find a few historic places north of Cheyenne, Oklahoma. During this trip we came across an historical marker on U.S. Highway 283 in basically the middle of nowhere between Cheyenne and Arnett, Oklahoma. This lonely green metal sign has become my favorite Oklahoma historical marker. The picture I took of it that day has become the signature image I use over at the Exploring Oklahoma History website to represent exploring Oklahoma history.
The reason I love this marker, is not really for the history it represents, even though it is quite fascinating. In the large scope of Oklahoma history it's even kind of a minor footnote. Why I love this marker is for one, I discovered it with my family, so that’s a precious memory. This marker’s location to me is a wonderful representation of Oklahoma, or at least the western half of it.
With the exception of the occasional pickup truck driving by, it’s quite. It’s just you, the wind, and nature itself. The marker sits on the western side of the highway next to a plowed field. The other side of the highway is pasture land. Three of Oklahoma’s major industries are represented in this area: farming, ranching, and energy. Along this long stretch of highway you’ll see fields of wheat, herds of grazing cattle, and tank batteries and pumpjacks scattered across the rolling plains. In this general area you see great examples of us using one of Oklahoma’s greatest natural resources, it’s wind. From lone old windmills pumping water for cattle to fields of tall white turbines generating electricity.
You can use this historical marker as a starting point to explore Oklahoma history. To the west of this marker you see one of the area’s landmarks, the Antelope Hills. Just beyond that is the 100th meridian, the imaginary line in the dust that runs from the Red river in the south to the southeastern corner of the Oklahoma panhandle in the north that separates Oklahoma from our neighbor Texas.
To the north of our historical marker is the town of Arnett with their historic courthouse. A little bit further north of there of there is Shattuck with there great windmill museum. Traveling east of Arnett toward Vici you’ll find a wonderful historic marker noting the Great Western Cattle Trail. A little further north from there you’ll be in Woodward with their highly recommended Plains Indians & Pioneers Museum, and a little further north of there you’ll be in Boiling Springs State Park, a real jewel in northwest Oklahoma.
To the south of our historic marker is the town of Cheyenne with their nice city park and museum complex where you can see a one room school house. To the west of there is the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site where you can learn about Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s attack on a Southern Cheyenne village. To the east of Cheyenne you’ll journey to my home town of Elk City, where you can see the National Route 66 Museum and Old Town Complex. That’s is just some of the Oklahoma history you can experience from our historical marker.
Now you might be wondering what historical marker am I talking about. It’s Grand. A very fitting name.
The Grand historical marker reads: “Site about 4 miles northwest. On Nov. 13 1892, Grand was established as county seat of Day County, Oklahoma Ter. This was County 'E' when organized at the opening of Cheyenne and Arapaho lands April 19, 1892. Day County and county seat were abolished at statehood in 1907. Many citizens of Grand became noted as leaders in the new state of Oklahoma.”
Well there you have it. My favorite historical marker notes a ghost town. The town of Grand no longer exists except in memory, but it’s a grand memory.
If you would like to know more about this and the other Oklahoma historical places I mentioned, please visit Exploring Oklahoma History at blogoklahoma.us. And thank you for taking this trip into Oklahoma history with me.
This episode's writing suggestion
is to write an article about your favorite Oklahoma historic place.
And if you would, please don’t forget to share your article with the hashtag #blogoklahoma so that we all can read it. I look forward to what you come up with.
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