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OKLAHOMA!


STATE SEAL OF OKLAHOMA

Centered by a five-pointed star, each ray contains the seals of the Five Civilized Tribes. In the center of the star are an Indian and pioneer shaking hands under a figure holding balanced scales, representing Justice. The star is surrounded by 45 smaller stars representing the other states admitted to the U.S. before Oklahoma. Oklahoma's state seal has a dark blue background. The large center star is white, the smaller stars are gold and the ring around the edge of the seal is gold. The letters within it are dark blue. 

State Flag of Oklahoma
STATE FLAG

An Osage warrior's buckskin shield, decorated with pendant eagle feathers is the basic design. In crossed positions over the shield are an Indian peace pipe and an olive branch, the white man's symbol of peace. The flag is a rich sky blue. The word "Oklahoma" is white. The Osage war shield is tan, outlined in red, the peace pipe is white with red tips and the olive branch is green.

 

Once called Indian Territory because it was home to the five "civilized" tribes, Oklahoma was one of the last states to join the United States (1907).  Oklahoma is situated in the southern edge of the Great Plains.  Though most think of Oklahoma as being treeless and flat, this is far from the truth in many parts of the state.  The area around Tulsa, located in northeastern Oklahoma, at the edge of the Ouachita Mountains with it's many scenic reservoirs and rolling hills, looks much like the Hill Country area of central Texas.  Oklahoma has over 7 million acres of woodlands, so this cancels the rumor of the state being a treeless plain as well.

Before whites settled the area in the late 19th century, Oklahoma was the home of various Native American tribes, such as the Commanche and Osage.  The "five civilized tribes", Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole, moved into the region from 1828 to 1848 after they were forced to leave the eastern United States.  Once settled by these tribes, Oklahoma became known as Indian Territory.  Oklahoma has the largest American Indian population of any state - 8% of the state population.   Many of the 252,420 American Indians living in Oklahoma today are descendents from the original 67 tribes inhabiting Indian Territory.  After most of the surrounding territories became states and the "wild west" had become "tamed", settlers started homesteading the area in larger numbers, especially after the US government sponsored several "land rushes", the most famous in 1889.  Settlers that had placed their claims on plots before the official land runs were called "Sooners", thus giving Oklahoma its nickname, the Sooner State.

The discovery of oil helped bring Oklahoma into the 20th century.  Tulsa grew from a small village to become the oil center of Oklahoma and derricks soon sprung up everywhere.  Poor farmers and ranchers in the region became millionaires almost overnight.  As Oklahoma's population grew, its economy grew.  It's capital, Oklahoma City, now has a population of over 500,000, and its metropolitan area is well over a million.  Tulsa, its second largest city, is not just an oil town but the gateway to the Ouachita Mountains.

Today, Oklahoma is a land filled with vast open spaces, farms, ranches, oil fields, vibrant cities, small towns and proud people.  Oklahomans are survivors as well.  Living in what is known as "Tornado Alley", they have survived many deadly tornadoes.  They have survived the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, when much of the state was stricken with drought and the nation was crippled by the Great Depression.  They are a people that came together after the tragic bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and again with the devastating tornado that destroyed a large area of southwest Oklahoma City and nearby suburbs on May 3, l999.  As a proud people, they fiercely resist being stereotyped with their neighbor to the south, Texas.

The capital of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, was established on the open plains of Oklahoma after the great land rush of 1889.  Oklahoma City could very well have remained a small town had oil not been discovered in Oklahoma: an oil boom that rivaled that in Texas during the same period.  Oklahoma City soon became the largest city in Oklahoma and has continued to be a vital center for the state of Oklahoma.  The city remains the largest city in Oklahoma, and its metropolitan area, which has a population of slightly over 1,000,000, contains nearly 1/3 the population of the state.  This vibrant city is home to such sports teams as the Oklahoma Redhawks (baseball) and the Oklahoma Blazers (hockey).  The city is also host to the Oklahoma State Fair, the Oklahoma Zoo and the Cowboy Hall of Fame.  If you're simply interested in the great outdoors, the city has many fine parks and golf courses as well as the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  For the "cultured tourist", one can visit the local museums of the city as well as listen to the sounds of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra.  Because Oklahoma City is in the center of the state, it's not too far from most of the other interesting sites in Oklahoma.  This makes the city a great jumping-off point for touring the rest of the great state of Oklahoma.

During the past few years, Oklahoma City has been renovating its downtown area, "Bricktown", and building new structures or remodeling the old ones.  Like many big city downtown areas, it fell out of favor with shoppers and their families once the shopping mall became popular many years ago.  However, new businesses have now opened up including restaurants - both fine dining and casual, nightclubs, galleries and unique retail stores hoping to attract families, shoppers and tourists back to the area.  Several major hotels have either built in the area or refurbished their present building in order to attract tourists and the many conventions that come to town.  Although the renovation is not yet complete, former major building projects are already in use, such as the "Bricktown Canal", a local favorite which includes a boat ride, the Oklahoma Redhawks' (formerly the "89'ers") new baseball stadium (photos below), and the Ford Convention Center, where many large-seating events are held.  Like many other downtowns too, the availability of parking spaces has not yet been solved so much walking is involved if you want to walk around the area or head to a ball game when it's baseball season.  Small parking lots are available but there is a standard fee of $5.00 for any length of time.

For more detailed information about Oklahoma and it's history, go to: Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department web site.

The following 4 photographs below and the 4 linked larger photos are personal ones belonging to me and cannot be reproduced, copied, or obtained in any manner without requesting and being granted permission to do so.  Click directly on photograph to see a larger view.


 

Other images of Oklahoma

Downtown Oklahoma City (presently undergoing major renovations)
One of Oklahoma's lakes


Facts About Oklahoma

    ORIGIN OF NAME:

Choctaw word for "land of the red people".

    NICKNAME

The Sooner State: a name given to those settlers who jumped the gun during the great Oklahoma land rush.

    GOVERNMENT:

Capitol............................................................ 
Admitted to Union...........................................
Motto...............................................................
StateFlower.................................................... 
State Bird........................................................
State Tree....................................................... 
Oklahoma City
November 16, 1907 (46th)
Labor omnia vincit (labor conquers all)
Indian Blanket
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Redbud

    POPULATION:

2000.................................................................
7/1/97...............................................................
5 Largest Cities (2000 census)..........................
 
 
 

Number of Counties:.......................................

3,450,654
3,317,091
Oklahoma City (506,132)
Tulsa (393,049)
Norman (95,694)
Lawton (92,757)
Broken Arrow (74,859)
77

   MISCELLANEOUS:

Area:...............................................................
Highestpoint:...................................................
Lowest point:...................................................
69,957 sq. mi.
Black Mesa (4,973 ft.)
Little R (289 ft.) 


Oklahoma Links:
Local Weather
History of the Cherokee
Trail of Tears - Choctaw
Shop Oklahoma
Oklahoma Department of Commerce
Oklahoma's News Channel 4
KOCO-TV Channel 5 Eyewitness News
NewsOK (KWTV) & The Daily Oklahoman


 
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Updated: 3/21/2003