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Oklahoma City at Night
Oklahoma City at Night

Dunaway Productions

URL: www.unm.edu/~rt66/chic/trvl.html
Modified: July 19, 2001

University of New Mexico

Oklahoma City began quickly, found many prosperous industries, and worked to grow in all ways.

In 1889, people flooded the unassigned prairie lands, settling their homesteads in the time span between noon and sundown. Many claims were made in the one afternoon, and 10,000 of them surrounded a Santa Fe Railroad station—Oklahoma City was literally born in an afternoon.

The city was officially named state capital in 1910, and the population grew enormously as thousands of government employees moved in. Because of this, it’s visions were able to grow just as enormously; both the manufacturing industry and developing natural resources became primary focal points for the city’s economy.

On December 4, 1928, the city’s economic future was secured when the first well within the city limits struck oil. The most well-known strike was the Mary Sudik, which surged in 1930 for eleven days, gushing oil as far as fifteen miles. Productive wells still exist in Oklahoma City itself, and more than 2,000 wells are within or adjacent to the city limits. The area is considered among the richest oil fields ever developed in the United States.

During and after World War II, Oklahoma City opened up its gates to another industry: aviation. The Douglas Aircraft Co. and Tinker Air Force Base, the largest supply and repair depot in the world, were soon established. Today, the FAA Aeronautical Center and the Civil Aeromedical Institute are both located in the city’s international port, the Will Rogers World Airport.

In addition, the city ranks among the eight primary livestock markets in the country. It is the state’s leading wholesale and distribution point. More than 855 manufacturing concerns are in operation.

The city appears as well off as its industries prove. Its Civic Center covers six blocks of downtown territory and includes the city hall, county building, police department, and Civic Center Music Hall, which seats 3,200. Another important site downtown, the Myriad Convention Center includes an arena that seats 15,000, an exhibition arena, and numerous meeting rooms. The Myriad Gardens is located nearby and offers seasonal festivals and events, such as Fourth of July activities.

Much of the city’s beauty can be attributed to the urban architect I.M. Pei. In 1964, city leaders asked Pei to create a redevelopment plan. The plan rejuvenated the downtown area, bringing lakes, water concourses, landscaped hills, and an amphitheater. Later, the Metro Conncourse System was introduced to the, and today it connects major hotels, office buildings, restaurants, and retail businesses via tunnels and skywalks.

Though successful in business and sophisticated in appearance, Oklahoma City remembers its roots. Having sprung from American Indian territory, the city is host to regular gatherings and activities by the 39 tribes still represented in the state. In addition, the city pays homage to its cowboy beginnings by welcoming rodeos and horse shows. Also important are the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.

Oklahoma City is a place where one is as likely to see a businessman in a suit as a cowboy in Western wear, and this reminds travelers that it is a city full of both prosperity and heritage.

Oklahoma City has been alerted that if ozone levels continue to rise, the federal government will recommend mandatory rationing not just of watering--currently allowed every other day--but of driving.

This scared the largest city in acreage between Chicago and L.A. Oklahoma City is built on a Western-style spread, a bus ride can take 45 minutes to cross town. Residents complain that ozone is blown in from Dallas, and there’s no keeping up with it.

The news had suffered suns stroke. In one bizarre incident, an 83-year-old, legally blind man was killed in his driveway when his wife backed over him. The man, Franklin Gray, was going for one of his regular walks along the driveway, when his wife Leda, 87, saw him fall. Too weak to lift himself up, Gray asked his wife to drag him back to the house with a rope attached to the couple’s car. She came back with an extension cord and tied it around his belt. The car started making its way up the 44-foot driveway when Gray’s belt broke. Gray then asked his wife to tie the cord around his ankle, and slowly, slowly, the car pulled him back to his front door. But then the extension cord broke. The man asked his wife to back up closer to him, so he could reattach the cord. Unfortunately, her foot was on the accelerator instead of the brake.

Today, 66 is not so much a road of flight as a road of blight. Town centers become ghost towns; Route 66's subsurface has been wasted and scarred.

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