Oklahoma

Encircle Oklahoma: Your journey through the Sooner State begins in Tulsa towards the northwest corner of Oklahoma, leads to Oklahoma City in the center – the capital and largest city – and ends in Lawton near the Texan border. Along the way, learn how Native Americans, oil and cattle shaped OK’s history.

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1 Downtown Skyline and Phitower Building in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Once calling itself, “The Oil Capital of the World,” Tulsa, Oklahoma also claims to have originated Route 66. Their downtown has one of the largest collections of Art Deco buildings in the U.S. An example is the 1928 Phitower Building on the right foreground.

98 E 8th St, Tulsa, OK 74119
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2 The Golden Driller Yellow Oil Man Statue in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The world’s tallest, free-standing statue is the 76 foot “Golden Driller” in Tulsa. This tribute to the once booming oil industry in Oklahoma was first created in 1953 for a petroleum exposition. This 1966 version of the 22 ton, yellow giant stands next to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. His right hand rests on an actual oil derrick. His shoe size is 393DDD. The statue was commissioned by the Mid-Continent Supply Company of Fort Worth.

Tulsa Expo Center, 4145 E 21st St, Tulsa, OK 74114
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3 Circuit Riders on Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma

In 1784, the founding bishop of American Methodism, Francis Asbury, created Circuit Riding. It required pastors to travel by horseback across the vast emerging frontier. Some preaching circuits took six weeks to complete one rotation. By 1839, there were over 3,500 traveling preachers. Bishop Asbury is one of the equestrian, terra-cotta statues on the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Another is the first, U.S. born Methodist bishop, William McKendree. The 1929 building is a stunning, Art Deco design. On top of the limestone and granite façade is a 225 foot, glass and metal tower with a stylized sculpture of praying hands at the pinnacle.

1301 S Boston Ave, Tulsa, OK 74119
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Guitar Player Mural by Anthony Carrera and Bail Bond Sign in Tulsa, Oklahoma

This mural on a red brick wall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is called “The Tisalale Experience.” The guitar player was painted by artist and tattoo shop owner Anthony “Eratick” Carrera. He tends to adorn walls and human bodies with equally flamboyant designs and colors. The “Rusty Roberts Bail Bonds” sign is a real advertisement that shared the alley with the street art.

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4 World’s Largest Praying Hands Statue at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma

World’s Largest Praying Hands Statue at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma
At the entrance of Oral Roberts University, founded in 1963 by the famous evangelist, are the World’s Largest Praying Hands. The religious artwork is seen here at sunset. The bronze sculpture was created by Leonard McMurry and cast in Mexico in 1980. It was then sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 450 pieces and erected in front of the City of Faith building. Nine years later, it was relocated to the Avenue of Flags, now called Billy Joe Daugherty circle. The sculpture is 60 feet tall and weighs 30 tons.

7781 S Lewis Ave, Tulsa, OK 74136
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5 Tulsa, Oklahoma Composite of Two Photos

Two photos of Tulsa, Oklahoma are: 1) World’s Largest Praying Hands statue. It is 60 feet tall and weighs 30 tons; and 2) The Learning Resource and Graduate Centers. These buildings on the campus of Oral Roberts University were designed to resemble King Solomon’s Temple.

7781 S Lewis Ave, Tulsa, OK 74136
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6 Oklahoma State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Capitol was considered finished in 1917. However, part of the original design was not built for another 85 years: the dome. The building cost $1.5 million yet the dome cost almost $21 million. This limestone plus gray and pink granite, Beaux Arts building with mythological stone lions on the roof has the distinction of being the only capitol built on an active oil field. Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907.

2300 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
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7 Oklahoma State Capitol Building American Indian Warrior Statue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

In 2002, when the dome was added to the 1917 Oklahoma State Capitol, a 22 foot, 4,000 pound bronze statue was placed on top. This nine-foot replica of “The Guardian” is on the second floor of the rotunda. It is a somber remembrance of the “Trail of Tears” when five Indian tribes were removed from their homelands in the 1830s. The artist was Enoch Haney. He was a multi-term legislator and the grandson of a Seminole chief.

2300 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
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8 Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

When a cannon was fired at noon on April 22, 1889, 50,000 people scrambled to homestead their piece of two million acres of available land during the Oklahoma Land Rush. That historic event is commemorated in the Bricktown District of Oklahoma City with spectacular bronze statues by Paul Moore. This photo shows the first pieces created in 2003. By 2015, the Land Run Monument included 45, 1 ½ size sculptures of horses and covered wagons all fighting to claim the choicest land parcels previously owned by Native Americans.

200 Centennial Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
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9 Stockyards’ Welcome Neon Sign at Night in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

In 1920, the forerunner of the Armour meatpacking company helped establish the Oklahoma Stockyards. This is now the country’s largest cattle market. Known by the name “Packingtown,” it probably processes more tourists who come to watch the cattle drives, purchase western wear and eat large slabs of meat at the local restaurants. They are welcomed by this neon cowboy.

929 S Agnew Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73108
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10 And Jesus Wept Memorial to Oklahoma City Bombing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Inspired by “The Turner Diaries,” Timothy McVeigh detonated 4,800 pounds of fertilizer at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City at 9:02 on April 19, 1995. The blast killed 168, injured 680 and damaged 324 buildings. Across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial and behind St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral is an Italian marble statue called, “And Jesus Wept.” While holding His face in sorrow, He is turned away from the tragedy. The memorial is surrounded by pillars representing the children and unborn babies that were killed.

NW 5th St. & N Harvey Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Composite of Two Photos

Two photos of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma are: 1) A 150% life-size bronze covered wagon that is part of the 45 figures stretching the length of a football field in the Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument by sculpture Paul Moore in the Bricktown District; and 2) The central business district skyline at dusk. Prominent is the Devon Tower, Oklahoma City’s tallest building at 50 stories.

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11 Field Cannon at Fort Sill Artillery Museum in Lawton, Oklahoma

Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, was built in 1869 during the Indian wars. The property is still an active Army post. The artillery museum displays guns and uniforms dating back to 1775. The exhibits include this 76 mm Regimental Gun used in 1927. Also on the grounds are the burial sites of Indian prisoners. The most famous one is the grave of Geronimo, a leader of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. He lived from 1829 until 1909.

455 McNair Rd #118, Fort Sill, OK 73503
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12 Bull Rocky Mountain Elk in Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve near Lawton, Oklahoma

This bull Rocky Mountain elk wandering free in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is one of six subspecies of elk in North America. The bulls weigh about 700 pounds and their antlers, which are shed each winter, can weigh as much as 40 pounds. There are also herds of American bison, Texas longhorns and white-tailed deer on this 59,000 acre reserve near Lawton, Oklahoma. You will often see them grazing along the road.

32 Refuge Headquarters Road, Indiahoma, OK 73552
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