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Oklahoma (Ok): State Guide and Fun Facts


When did Oklahoma become a state?
November 16, 1907

Who was the first European explorer in Oklahoma?
Francisco Coronado

Who were the first Native American settlers?
Jicarilla, Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Kiowa Apache, Osage, Wichita, Caddo

Square Miles:
69,903

US Rank:
20th

State Flower:
Mistletoe

State Bird:
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

State Motto:
“Labor Omnia Vincit” Labor conquers all things

Capital City

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City was first settled by Anton Classen and Henry Overholser in April of 1889. The population of the city grew quickly and became the capital city in 1907, when Oklahoma gained its statehood. Early in the 20th century, the economy centered around the government and oil production. Today, Oklahoma City works hard to ensure that urbanites want to remain living within the city, in order to prevent more of the urban flight that occurred in the late 20th century. Several redevelopment programs have helped to revive the downtown and make it a desirable place to live.

What is Oklahoma famous for?

1. Oklahoma the Musical
The musical Oklahoma is set in the town of Claremore in the Oklahoma Territory in 1906. The play follows the development of a relationship between a young cowboy and a farm girl. It was written by famed playwrights Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The original production was introduced to Broadway in 1943, and it became an immediate hit. It ran for over 2,000 performances before being semi-retired. However, the play was revived on Broadway and at the West End Theatera number of times, first in 1947, and again in 1951, 1979, 1980, 1998 and 2002.

2. Tornadoes
Oklahoma is surrounded on all sides and included in the area of the United States known as “Tornado Alley”. The area received its name as designation because of the frequent tornadoes that the areas within its boundaries endure.
Tornadoes are one of earth’s natural disasters, among the likes of hurricanes and volcanoes. The storm includes a long column of air that spins very quickly due to the surrounding storm, reaching down from the cloud formation to touch the ground below in a large funnel share. The storms are extremely dangerous due to the power of the wind and the path of the funnel, which is very unpredictable. Some tornadoes are 200 feet across, while some are up to two miles in diameter! These larger storms travel very quickly, destroying everything in its path.
Oftentimes, the storm that brings the tornado has bizarre combinations of thunder, lightning, changing winds, snow, hail, sleet and blinding dust storms.

3. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum was founded in 1955 in Oklahoma City. It was begun in order to have a place to honor Western history through local art, both old and new, and by artifacts that have been excavated from early Native American and European settlements. Permanent galleries include the American Cowboy Gallery, the Fine Arms Gallery, the Silberman Gallery, Prosperity Junction, the American Rodeo Gallery, Museum of the Frontier West, Western Performers Gallery and Native American Gallery, among others.

What is Oklahoma’s economy?

1. Agriculture
Oklahoma has an important agricultural sector that generates income for farmers throughout the state. The leading livestock raised by animal farms include cattle for beef, young chickens, and to a lesser extent, hogs, sheep and turkeys. Many other cattle are designated for the use of dairy products, while chickens are also raised to lay eggs.

The highest income producing crops in the state are wheat, nursery products, hay, cotton, soybeans, corn and grain. Peaches are one of the primary fruit crops in Oklahoma.

2. Manufacturing
Oklahoma is a large manufacturing state for machinery used in oil fields. Other large machinery produced includes construction equipment, parts for larger machines, heating products and transportation equipment. The state is a smaller producer of computer and electronic equipment and processed foods.

Oklahoma Historical Landmarks

1. Sequoyah’s Cabin
Sequoyah’s Cabin, located in present-day Akins, Oklahoma, was the home of Sequoyah, also known as George Gist. Gist was part of the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans in Oklahoma. He thought it was time that the Cherokee nation should have not only a spoken language, but also a written language. It was not without struggle that Sequoyah was able to accomplish this feat. Neighbors and family thought he was crazy. He himself thought at certain points that the invention of written words could not be accomplished. He eventually managed to devise an alphabet and began to teach it to the people. It took them about four years to pick up the written characters, and once they did, they became extremely literate.

2. Price Tower
Located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the Price Tower was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1952. Construction was completed four years later. The Tower was originally commissioned by the HC Price Company. The tower is 19 floors high, rising above the other buildings in the cityscape. It is Wright’s tallest design ever realized, a diversion from his typical prairie horizontality, characteristic of the majority of his work.

The tower was donated to the Price Tower Arts Center in 2000, and it is now home to a museum, restaurant, bar and museum store.

3. Boston Avenue Methodist Church
The church was built between 1927 and 1929, designed by architect Bruce Goff. He conceived of the design during the height of the Art Deco period that overcame many architectural methodologies during the time. It is one of few religiously affiliated Art Deco designs, as many churches retained traditional architectural designs. While many architectural critics had nothing bad to say about the overall design itself, many were confused as to why it was applied to a Methodist Church.

Today, the church is still in use. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August of 1978, and it was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in January of 1999.