A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, AMISH, & ARCHAEOLOGY
The AMISH way of life largely revolves around working and socializing together as a family and community. The first community founded in Oklahoma was located near the town of Thomas in Custer County. This settlement was quite long-lived, lasting from 1893 to 1960. Currently, Oklahoma has 2 Amish communities. The settlement near Chouteau in Mayes County is over 100 years old, having been founded in 1910. The community at Clarita was founded in 1978 by a relatively conservative group of Amish from Ohio and Indiana.
ARCHAEOLOGY is an important part of the history of Oklahoma and there are many Archaeological Sites, and Archaeology and Palelontology Events. The Oklahoma Archaeological Survey gives a glimpse into the past. Caddo County has over 400 archaeological sites. Bones of a mammoth and several points have been found at a site near Anadarko. The Spiro Mounds is considered the most important pre-columbian archaeological site in the country.
Oklahoma has both native and migratory BIRDS. Bird watching is popular and there are several Birding Clubs Clubs and Audobon Societies. The state has many Birding Hotspots and Birding Trails. Oklahoma is one of the top 10 states for winter eagle viewing and has a resident population of more than 100 bald eagles. The Humming Bird is the smallest bird in the state. Endangered birds include the Whopping crane, the Eskimo curlew, the American peregrine falcon, the Least tern, the Black-capped vireo, and the Red-cockaded woodpecker. Through mid-November, a flock of Whopping Cranes pass through the state en route from Canada to the central Texas coast. Road-runners are seen along the roadsides.
Oklahoma has several thousand BRIDGES including Suspension Bridges and Covered Bridges. The longest bridge is at US-70/US-183 over the Red River in Tillman County. The Swinging Bridge in Pawhuska was built in 1926 and was the only way to get into town during high waters. The Salt Creek Bridge is thought to be the oldest bridge in the state. The longest bridge is Roosevelt Bridge and the second longest is Sailboat Bridge. The Sky Dance Bridge allows foot traffic to cross a highly-congested area of an interstate highway. Many bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma also has several BYWAYS and Scenic Drives. The Talimena Scenic Drive is considered one of the best road trips in the state. The state also has a variety of Trails. The Great Plains Trail was developed to showcase wildlife and the diverse cultural and historical heritage of the state. Rough Canyon Trail is said to be one of the best trails in the state. Oklahoma has Roadside Attractions.
Oklahoma has all forms of COMMUNICATIONS including radio, television, newspapers, telephone, and computer. WKY Radio was the 1st radio station transmitting from west of the Mississippi River. Telephone area codes are 405, 580, and 918. Webcams are located throughout the state. There are also a number of Internet Service Providers.
Oklahoma has 77 COUNTIES. The term county is used for the level of local government below the state government. The largest county is Osage and the smallest is Marshall. Oklahoma City is the largest city in the state. Choctaw is the oldest chartered town in the state. Okmulgee holds the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party. Cimarron County is the only county in the country bordered by 4 separate states. Vinita is the county seat of Craig County and was the first city in the state with electricity. Although Oklahoma was one of the last states to join the Union, many of the oldest towns are loaded with history.
Oklahoma has cattle ranches, and working COWBOYS. The state has Western Events including many rodeos. The International Finals Rodeo is held in Oklahoma City and the National Finals Rodeo is sometimes held there. In the mid 1800s cattle had to be moved from Texas to Kansas, and there were cattle drives across the state over the Chrisholm Trail. Cowboys still use horses, but advanced technolgy in working cattle includes trucks, helicopters, and airplanes. Oklahoma City is called the Cowboy Capital of the World and the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located there. Three of the most popular wild west shows originated in Oklahoma, and Hollywood and rodeo cowboys got their start in the shows.
Oklahoma has many DAMS including Hydropower Dams. The Pensacola Dam was the first hydroelectric facility in the state and is the longest multiple arch dam in the world. Dams and locks on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River allow travel from the Gulf of Mexico to Oklahoma. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains 5 locks on the river that are in Oklahoma. The Cauteau Lock & Dam 17 has a recreation area. The United States Society on Dams is involved in the maintenance, construction, operation, and safety of dams. The state has a Dam Safety Program. Another source of energy is Wind Power. At this time, there are no concentrated solar power solar power plants planned for Oklahoma.
Evidence of DINOSAUR has been found in Oklahoma. The State Dinosaur is the Saurophaganax. In addition to dinosaurs, prehistoric, amphibians and reptiles have been found in Oklahoma. Many other fossils have been found in the state. The Sam Nobel Museum of Natural History has exhibits and educational programs. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
The Oklahoma provides free public schools. The Department of EDUCATION oversees education for children in elementary and secondary schools and attendance is required from age 5 to age 18. In addition to Public Schools the state has many Private Schools and homeschooling is popular. The state has an International Adult & Continuing Education Hall of Fame and a CareerTech Hall of Fame. Information about schools in Oklahoma is available at Great Schools and School Bug.
Oklahoma has many EVENTS during the year. There is a State Fair in Oklahoma City and in Tulsa. Many events are held throughout the year at State Fair Park. There are many County Fairs. There are also a variety of Festivals. Hugo is known as Circus City, USA. It is the winter home for more circuses than any other state, and at one time served as the winter headquarters for 12 traveling circuses. It is the winter headquarters of both the 5-ring Carson & Barnes Circus and its sister circus, the Kelly-Miller Bros. Circus. The Mount Olivet Cemetery has a section dedicated to the circus called Showmans Rest.
Fourteen FLAGS have flown over what is now the state of Oklahoma. The State FLAG honors Native Americans. Some municipalities and counties and Indian Tribes have their own flag. The state colors are green and white. Tom and Jerry are the State characters. The state is the first to have a State Cartoon - Gutsy.
The Oklahoma FOOD Timeline began with Native Americans. Oklahoma was the last of the Great Plains regions to be settled and homesteaded. Drawing from a variety of ethnic backgrounds including European, Native American, and African American, the food is truly a cultural melting pot with a strong Tex-Mex flavor. Try some recipes. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma helps the charitable community feed people in need. The state has Food Festivals, Shows, and Events. Oklahoma is the only state that has an official State Meal. The Will Rogers Turnpike Service Plaza in Venita features a McDonald's bridge restaurant.
Oklahoma has had many FORTS and Camps. Most have been destroyed, but some have been restored. There is a visitor center at Fort Towson, and Fort Washita is a historic site with buildings open to the public. Fort Gibson was one of the oldest non-Indian settlements in Oklahoma and had the first telephone, first drama theater, first steamboat landing, first school for the blind, first highway to Fort Smith, and the first interurban, which connected Fort Gibson to Muskogee. Fort Sill is the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars and is a National Historic Landmark.
Oklahahoma has many GHOST TOWNS. The Driftwood Community is made up of less than a dozen residences and a church with a cemetery. The Doaksville settlement was the Choctaw capital until 1859 and is now an archaeological preservation site. Picher was a major national center of lead and zinc mining. As of 1977, the community of Yewed had an operational grain elevator and a population of two. Oklahoma claims to have many haunted places.
The GLOBAL POSITION OF Oklahoma is approximately 44 degrees latitude north to 99 degrees longitude west. The geographic center of Oklahoma is 8 miles north of Oklahoma City. The topography of Oklahoma ranges from 289 ft to 4,973 ft.The Highest point in the state is Black Mesa and the lowest point is Little River. The state is bordered by 6 states; Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. Geocaching is popular using a Global Positioning System and the state has many Geocaching Sites.
The HISTORY of Oklahoma dates back 12,000 years ago when Native Americans lived on the plains. Recorded history began in 1541 when Spanish explorer Coronado visited the area. The land was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Although Oklahoma was Indian Territory at the time, it was involved in the Civil War. During World War II, the Indian Signal Corps sent radio messages in the Comanche language because it was unwritten and the code could not be broken. Oklahoma celebrates National History Day.The National Trust helps protect historic places in the state.
Oklahoma observes Public HOLIDAYS and other holidays. Oklahoma Day is celebrated April 22 to commemorate the date Oklahoma Lands opened for European settlement. The state has a Sales Tax holiday the 1st weekend in August when shoppers have the opportunity to purchase certain items free of sales tax.
Oklahoma has HORSE and Harness Racing Tracks. The American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show is held in November in Oklahoma City. The state has Riding trails. The Oklahoma State Fair has a variety of horse competitions. There is a Wild horse and Burrow Adoption Center in Pauls Valley.
Oklahoma has a variety of INSECTS including many butterflies and moths. There are a variety of other insects including many species of spiders and several dangerous insects. The State Insect is the Honeybee.
Oklahoma has ISLANDS on rivers and in lakes. Some of them are on the U.S. Islands Directory because they have a ham radio operator. Canal Island was formed when a canal was built to connect 2 lake arms. Monkey Island is a peninsula in the Grand Lake O' the Cherokees. Most of the homes on Ski Island are directly on the waterfront.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Oklahoma judicial system is a unified state court system that functions under the Chief Justice of Oklahoma who is its administrator-in-chief. Under the judiciary, 5 types of courts function: Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Courts of General Jurisdiction, an Immediate Appellate Court, Specials Courts, and Courts of Last Resort. Also, the Oklahoma judiciary contains two independent courts. The 2 Courts of Last Resort arrangement exists only in Oklahoma and neighboring Texas.
Many aspects of life focus on KIDS. The Chickasaw Nation has a special Kids Corner. The Oklahoma Museum of Natural History has a Kids Page. NOAA has a special Kids webpage. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Public and Academic LIBRARIES are located throughout Oklahoma. The state has several Carnegie Libraries. The State Poem is "Howdy Folks". The state has a Poet Laureate and celebrates National Poetry Month.
Oklahoma has several mountain ranges and mountain climbing is popular. Black Mesa is the tallest mountain in the state. The Whichita Mountains has a wildlife refuge and a visitor center. Gloss Mountain is a recreational-educational state park that is accessible for hiking and picnicking.
Oklahoma has a rich history of MUSIC and a history of many fine musicians. The Tulsa Opera is one of the oldest opera companies in the country. Oklahoma has many bands and orchestras. The Oklahoma Youth Orchestras enhance and extend school orchestra and band programs. The State Song is Oklahoma. Muskogee is home to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Bob Dunn, a musician from Beggs, invented the first electric guitar. The Fiddle is the State Musical Instrument.
Oklahoma has a variety of MUSEUMS. The National Lighter Museum in Guthrie is the only museum in the country devoted to the collection of lighters and fire starters. The Museum of the Western Prairie in Altus features pioneer life. Villages of 7 different tribes of Plains Indians are at Anadarko including the only authentic Indian City in the country. Cherokee Village on the historic grounds of the Cherokee Heritage Center has outdoor living exhibits. The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa has both Western and Indian Art.
The first inhabitants of what is now Oklahoma were NATIVE AMERICANS - Paleo-Indians. They were followed by the Archaic Period, the Woodland Period, and the Plains Village Culture. The state has the second largest Native American population of any state and many of them are descendants of the original 67 tribes that inhabited the Indian Territory. There are many Federally Recognized tribes and Indian Reservations. The state has many native american events and Indian Casinos. Famous Indians from Oklahoma include Geronimo and Chief Black Kettle, Great American athlete Jim Thorpe, and Maria Tallchief a well known ballerina. Will Rogers was first an Indian, then a cowboy, and then a national figure.
Oklahoma is part of the OLD West (the area west of the Mississippi River during the 1800s). In the early Days of Oklahoma, law and order was a deadly business and shootouts between outlaws and lawmen were common. Some of the outlaws were infamous and dangerous and lawmen who brought them to justice were made heroes. The Ouachita Mountains around Horse Thief Spring once served as hideouts for outlaw bands. Outlaws and their gang would also hide in what is now Robbers Cave State Park. The Bill Doolin.Dalton Gang included the most famous bad woman - Bell Starr.
Nearly 4 million PEOPLE live in Oklahoma and they are called Oklahomans or Sooners. Many wellknown people have called Oklahoma their home including politicians, entertainers, athletes, artists, and authors. Sylvan Goldman invented the first shopping cart and Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart.
Take a QUIZ about Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has a variety of REPTILES and amphibians including snakes, frogs, lizard, salamanders, toads, and turtles. The Alligator Snapping Turtle is part of Oklahoma’s natural heritage. Oklahoma City has a Reptile Show. Tulsa has Reptile Expos.
Oklahoma has many RIVERS including 6 Scenic Rivers. The largest rivers are the Arkansas and the Red which forms the southern border with Texas. The American Rivers was founded to protect and restore river systems.
Oklahoma has many State SYMBOLS. The State Bird is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. The State Fish is the White Bass. The State Insect is the Honeybee. The State Reptile is the Collared Lizard. The State Animal is the Buffalo, and the state fur bearer is the raccoon.
Oklahoma has all forms of TRANSPORTATION, and the Department of Transportation provides information about transportation in the state. The first parking meter was invented by Carl C. Magee in Oklahoma City in 1935. Clinton Riggs designed the first YIELD sign. The first Oklahoma license plates were issued to horseless carriages in 1913. Many Native American Tribes have a special License Plate. To celebrates its 50th birthday in 2002, Matchbox issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted to the the union. The vehicle for Oklahoma was the Cattle Truck. The Federal Highway Administration provides information about Traffic and Road Closures.
Oklahoma has a variety of TREES. The State Tree is the Redbud. The state has many Champion Trees. Forests cover nearly 24% of the state. Part of the Ouachita National Forest is in Oklahoma. Some of the trees in the Keystone Ancient Forest are 500 years old. The Bald Cypress is one of the largest trees in the state.
The 1st USS Oklahoma was a battleship and won a battle star for service in World War II. The mothballed light cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CL-91) was converted into a guided-missile light cruiser. The 2nd USS Oklahoma City (SSN723) is a submarine.
Oklahoma does not have any VOLCANOES but evidence of volcanoes has been found in the state. Black Mesa consists of a tongue of black basaltic lava, half a mile wide, extending three miles into Oklahoma, which, during a former geological age, was poured out as a hot, molten mass from a now extinct volcano located some ten miles to the west.
The WEATHER in Oklahoma ranges from humid subtropical in the east to semi-arid in the west. Warm, moist air moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico often exerts influence over the southern and eastern portions of the state. Summers are long and usually quite hot. Winters are shorter and less severe than those of the more northern Plains states. Periods of extreme cold are infrequent. Weather is quick to change because of cold air from the north meeting warm air from the south. This results in tornadoes and Oklahoma has more F4 and F5 tornadoes than any other state. The first tornado forecast was from Tinker Air Force Base in 1948. The National Region Climate Center provided information for local needs. Global Warming in Oklahoma is being investigated.
Oklahoma has a variety of WILDLIFE including several species of bats. There are 9 Wildlife Refuges. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has longhorn cattle and buffalo herds. The State Animal is the Buffalo, and the state fur bearer is the Raccoon. The state has several Endangered animals.
Oklahoma has Zoos. The Oklahoma City Zoo has a children's zoo and special programs. The Tulsa Zoo is located in one of the largest municipal parks in the country. The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks has over 200 exhibits.