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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guthrieís Historic District is called one of the best neighborhoods in America.

Historic Downtown Guthrie

This story originally ran on VeloCityokc.com.

Anyone who’s taken a stroll through Guthrie’s Historic District will vouch: It’s one of the most gorgeous neighborhoods in the nation and easily one of the most underrated attractions in Oklahoma in its entirety. Well, we actually won’t be able to say “underrated” for much longer: Guthrie’s Historic District was recently rated by the American Planning Association (APA) to be one of the five best neighborhoods in the entire country. With the Canalway Cultural District in Lowell, MA; the Village of Shelburne Falls in Shelburne and Buckland, MA; Historic Downtown Georgetown in Georgetown, TX; and Ghent in Norfolk, VA as its list mates, Guthrie’s Historic District finds itself in good (and prestigious) company.

“APA’s Great Places in America recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces — three essential components of all communities. These authentic places have been shaped by forward thinking planning that showcases affordable transportation options, promotes community involvement and accessibility, and fosters economic opportunity.”

You can read an article about this and view the APA’s best public spaces and streets on NextCity.

accolade, attractions, day-trip, Guthrie, history, Visit OKC
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Military roots

KC-46A refueling

If you’re new to the 4-0-5 (and even if you’re not,) you may not realize how significant a part of our history and culture the military has in OKC. Sure, you see those big ole airplanes with the flying saucer-looking thingees on top of them and you hear a local car dealer claiming to be located across from “where the big birds fly”, but what in the name of Wiley Post are they talking about??

What better time to clear the air (see what I did there?) about OKC and the history we share with the military than right before Veterans Day – Monday, Nov. 11.

That reference to “where the big birds fly” is Tinker Air Force Base, home of the U.S. Air Force Sustainment Center, the world’s largest military maintenance, repair and overhaul facility. The genesis of the installation came in late 1940 as World War II enveloped Europe and after key Oklahoma City entrepreneurs formed the Oklahoma Industries Foundation. The civic leaders, led by Edward K. Gaylord, Wilbur E. Hightower, Tom Braniff, Frank Buttram, and Stanley Draper, learned that the War Department was looking for an appropriate site to build an aircraft maintenance depot in the American Midwest. They acquired 960 acres and offered the land to the government at no cost. While holding the option on another 480 acres, they promised to provide necessary utilities, roads, and a rail spur to the airfield.

Named in honor of Oklahoma native, Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American major general, the base – originally called the Midwest Air Depot – was formally activated in 1941 as the site that produced approximately half of all C-47 transport aircraft used in WWII.

The base today performs maintenance on such U.S. Air Force aircraft as the KC-135, B-1B, B-52 and E-3 (also known as the AWACS, the airplane with the “flying saucer” on its top), and the Navy’s E-6.

aviation, history, holiday, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Celebrating history

45th Infantry Division Museum

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

Tinker, aviation, free, history, military, museums, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hands on history

Overholser Mansion

There is perhaps no experience quite as fulfilling as holding a 400-year-old object in your hand, or being in a place where a landmark event once happened. Such are the joys of history, many of which can be found right here in OKC.

For the aspiring historians out there we’ve compiled a list of some of the more historic spots across Oklahoma City that you might be especially interested in visiting. As always, this isn’t a comprehensive list, so if you think we missed a really good location, please let us know!

Centennial Land Run Monument
Henry Overholser Mansion
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Oklahoma History Center
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Red Earth Art Center
Science Museum Oklahoma
American Banjo Museum  
International Gymnastics Hall of Fame
Harn Homestead
Museum of Osteology
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
Oklahoma Railway Museum
Oklahoma Hall of Fame

history, museums, Oklahoma City history, western heritage, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

110 years and countingÖ

Ever wonder how the great State Fair of Oklahoma came to be so great? Jump in our DeLorean and do a little time traveling with us.

When a young Oklahoma City had the opportunity to host the Farmers National Congress in 1907, city leaders were determined to do everything they could to make the convention a success. There was only one stipulation from the convention organizers: They wanted a fall fair so their delegates could see the achievements of agriculture in the new state.

Oklahoma citizens pushed for an annual fair as early as 1892, recognizing the impact that the fair could have on the new territory. Convinced of the potential, a coalition of business leaders gathered in the offices of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber on Jan. 18, 1907, to organize a state fair association. After months of planning, the first State Fair of Oklahoma celebrated its opening day on Oct. 5, 1907.

Here are a few more facts you may not know about the Oklahoma State Fair:

  • The first State Fair of Oklahoma opened on Oct. 5, 1907, a few weeks before Oklahoma was officially granted statehood.
  • The first fair attracted a crowd of more than 10,000 people.
  • The State Fair Park moved to its current location in 1954.
  • The park expanded its facilities in 1961 to included horse barns, a move that allowed Oklahoma City to earn its place as the “Horse Show Capital of the World”—a title that the city still holds today!
  • The current park is 435 acres and hosts more than 180 events each year. The total attendance of these events is more than 2.28 million people annually.
  • Oklahoma State Fair Park is located at the junction of two major highways, providing easy access from anywhere in the state (and nation!).
  • The people of Oklahoma City support the fair in a big way. Citizens have approved major improvements to State Fair Park in both the MAPS and MAPS 3 initiatives.
State Fair Park, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Must-visit destinations

Pops on Route 66

“I had no idea!” If we had a nickel for every time we heard that phrase from a first-time visitor to the 4-0-5, we would be able to pay Russ’ contract. Visitors are always surprised about the metro’s combination of art, history, entertainment, food and nightlife and more. Here are some must-visit places in America’s best-kept secret in tourism (in our biased opinions):

Route 66
Oklahoma contains more of the historic Route 66 than any other state. While you journey across this iconic route, you’re welcome to make a quick stop for the Route 66 Museum, Totem Pole Park, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, and no trek through Route 66 is complete without a stop (and a soda) at POPS!

The Oklahoma City National Memorial
April 19, 1995 changed our city and country forever. Today, a one-of-a-kind memorial and  museum about that tragic morning stand atop the bombing site. The reflecting pond and empty chairs that represent the lives lost on that fateful morning are deeply ingrained into the hearts and minds of all who see it.

The OKCMOA
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is the largest art museum in Oklahoma. It features a wide array of art, including (but not limited to) sizable galleries full of European art, American art, contemporary art, and an iconic collection of Dale Chihuly’s glasswork. There’s also an exhibition gallery space that features new and wildly popular exhibitions every few months. The Museum also has its own movie theater, where it hosts special screenings and events almost every day.

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Oklahoma City Zoo is considered a staple for both locals’ “let’s make a regular visit” lists and Oklahoma City’s visitor economy. With nearly 2,000 animals, aquatic life, reptiles, insects and plants the public can admire, it’s a very popular attraction for all ages.

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
There is perhaps nothing more inherently Oklahoman than images of the Wild West. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of American Indians and cowboys that lived in Oklahoma throughout history with art, firearms, outfits and more.

Oklahoma History Center
Oklahoma’s rich history is preserved for all generations to see at the Oklahoma History Center. Featuring a vast collection of items tied to Oklahoma’s early history, the Oklahoma History Center isn’t a stop you want to overlook.

Stockyards City
For the quintessential Oklahoma cowboy experience, Stockyards City is a must see. Stockyards City is the largest feeder and cattle market in the world, which features architecture and shops designed to give you an authentic ranch experience. It’s also home of Oklahoma’s most famous restaurant, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, which has been featured on Food Network’s Man vs Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Science Museum Oklahoma
With more than 350,000 square feet chock-full of hands-on science and experimentation, the Science Museum of Oklahoma is another one of the most popular and beloved tourist attractions Oklahoma City has to offer.

history, museums, OKC National Memorial, Route 66, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture, day-trip, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Aviation giant

Our love of aerospace and aviation isn’t really a new phenomenon – it’s as big a part of our Oklahoma DNA as football or the land run.  While Oklahoma has had many famous pilots they all trace back to Oklahoma native Wiley Post. Post became an international superstar when he made the first solo flight around the world in 1933. Post also developed the first pressure suit,  allowing him to fly his famous plane, the Winnie Mae, into the stratosphere.

What some people don’t know about Post is the he didn’t begin his aviation career as a pilot. He actually started out as a parachutist in a flying circus! An oilfield injury that caused him to lose his left eye, but gave him a rad eye patch, brought an $1,800 settlement that he used to buy his first plane.

To honor the aviation giant, Oklahoma City named an airport in NW Oklahoma City in recognition.

aviation, history, Oklahoma City history, aerospace
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

And the Oscar goes to

Tower Theatre in Uptown 23rd

In our humble opinion, one of the coolest things about the renovation of the historic Tower Theatre is how the building’s history as a film house has been kept front and center. If you didn’t know, the Tower Theatre originally opened in 1937, and served as the premier movie house in Oklahoma City for almost 40 years. While the renovation of the historic theatre has mainly focused on the facility as a live music venue, you can also catch some of your favorite films there as well. “Home Alone”, “This is Spinal Tap”, “Christmas Vacation” and “Shawshank Redemption” are just a handful of the movies playing between now and the end of the year. The Tower even offers a full bar for movie showings. Check out their schedule to see when your favorite movie is playing.

The Tower Theatre is far from the only unique place to see a movie in Oklahoma City. On the third Friday of each month, the 21c Museum Hotel features a movie screening as part of their Filmography series, a partnership with deadCenter Film and OKC Film Society. These screenings are absolutely free.

Finally, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art has been the metro’s art house cinema for years. Their film program mainly focuses on independent cinema but occasionally sprinkles in films such as “Die Hard” for special holiday screenings. They even offer special ticket packages that include dinner at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Cafe.

free, history, live music, museums, nightlife, film
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Oklahoma City and the military

USS Oklahoma

Veterans Day may only occupy one day on the calendar, but in Oklahoma City you can learn about this community’s military history year round.

Did you know there have been two different USS Oklahoma City ships? There is currently a submarine christened the USS Oklahoma City that served in the Persian Gulf. There was also a light cruiser named the USS Oklahoma City with an interesting history that served in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Want to experience a more hands-on history of the military? Visit the 45th Infantry Museum, which is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction.

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

military, museums, parks, history, holiday
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Up North

If you want to take a road trip north of Oklahoma City you can find history, sports, outdoor fun and more. 

First, let’s start with the history because there is no better way to celebrate Oklahoma’s rich history than to visit the largest Historic Preservation District in the nation. Guthrie is Oklahoma’s territorial capital and home to historic museums, more than a dozen bed and breakfasts and a highly preserved historical downtown district.

After Guthrie, we suggest you keep your caravan moving north to Stillwater, one of Oklahoma’s most famous college towns. Home to the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, Stillwater is sure to show you a good time. Stillwater is home to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, one of the best public golf courses in America, Karsten Creek, three different lakes and a downtown that looks like it belongs on a postcard.

OKC’s closest neighbor to the north is Edmond. Edmond is home to two colleges, lakes, parks and more. We suggest checking the schedule of the Armstrong Auditorium to experience this architectural gem. You can read more about Edmond in a past post here.

college, day-trip, Edmond, golf, Guthrie, history, museums, Stillwater, water sports, arts and culture
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Out West

Yukon Flour Mill

Oklahoma City’s next door neighbor to the West is Yukon. Yukon is a fast-growing community with roots in agriculture and a Czech history. Yukon is known as the “Czech Capital of Oklahoma” and features the historic Czech Hall, which is a national historic site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1925, the hall has hosted Czech dances every Saturday night, which you should totally go Czech out, because you knew we were going to go there with that pun, and also because you can enjoy dancing, Czech snacks, beers and meeting some new people. The famous Yukon Czech Festival occurs on the first Saturday of October, so mark your calendars now to get your hands on some of those kolaches or klobasy sandwiches you love.

Yukon also hosts the Chisholm Trail Crawfish Festival in June, which seeks to integrate a celebration of the historic Chisholm Trail with a little dash of Cajun charisma (why not?). Go get your Yukon on!

festivals, history, nightlife, Yukon, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Festival of the Arts History

Festival of the Arts

The Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City is one of the largest, most successful and best organized festivals in the country. However, it didn’t always used to be that way, and like every Van Gogh, the story of how the Festival of the Arts came to be is a true masterpiece.

It all began in the mid-1960s with the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts, an endowment designed to provide funding for the arts across the country. Soon after, a group of representatives from art organizations in Oklahoma City jumped on the opportunity and established The Arts Council in 1967, with Marion DeVore serving as the first president.

The idea for the Festival of the Arts was ignited through a suggestion from Symphony General Manager Frank Ratka, who wanted to begin an arts festival to attract publicity and interest in the Arts Council. The date of the Festival was set in March, only three weeks away from the day of the meeting that approved it. Every board member participated in making the event a success, from asking local artists to participate to gathering fund lenders and even making sandwiches.

festivals, history, arts and culture
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Americaís Pastime

Historical OKC Baseball Stadium

Did you know pro baseball has been played in Oklahoma City since at least 1903, and maybe even earlier? That’s right, just a few years after settlers ran for land to call home, players ran for home plate at Colcord Park, a baseball field near the current Farmer’s Market area in what was called Delmar Gardens. The Oklahoma City Metropolitans made the park their home until 1908, when the Oklahoma City Indians, managed by the too-apropos-for-an-old-school-baseball-guy-to-be-made-up-sounding Doc Andrews, joined the class C Texas League the following year and took up residence at the park.

After years of bouncing around lesser leagues, in 1962 Oklahoma City joined the ranks of AAA with the advent of the 89ers, who played in All Sports Stadium at the Fairgrounds and were the farm club of the awesomely-named Houston Colt .45’s. 1990 saw the advent of the much-heralded Robo Niner era. The ‘Niners and their mascot stayed there until the opening of the Bricktown Ballpark in 1998, when the team was renamed the RedHawks. (Local legend has it Robo-Niner escaped destruction by hiding in the basement of the Space Tower, but his plan was foiled when it flooded in 2010 and he finally succumbed to metastasizing rust.) The RedHawks, after becoming the Astros top farm team in 2011, switched affiliations to the LA Dodgers over the winter, and Boom! It’s Dodger time in OKC. If you’d like to delve further, a good read on the history of baseball in Oklahoma City would be the book Baseball in Oklahoma City by Bob Burke.

baseball, history, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Free fun in OKC

Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park

You don’t have to break the bank to have a great time in OKC. In fact, there are so many awesome free things to do, we can guarantee that spring break 2017 will be one you won’t forget.

  • Perfect your ollie, heel flip or nose slide on the bowl course or street course of Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park. Ranked in the top 10 skate parks in the U.S., the action park is certainly an OKC treasure.
  • Get closer to nature. Marvel at the outdoor paradise of the Myriad Botanical Gardens, explore more than 1,000 acres that have remained unchanged since before statehood at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge or get hands-on with the flora and fauna at the 144-acre Martin Nature Park featuring miles of trails, a bird observation wall and watch tower.
  • Explore our heritage. Have you ever wondered what the earliest moments of our city looked like? A stunning visual representation of the first moments can be seen at the Centennial Land Run Monument near the south end of the Bricktown Canal. Learn more about our state’s heritage with a guided tour of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
  • Discover art in new places. Check out the modern art found at the historic Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant turned 21C Museum Hotel gallery. Even Travel+Leisure is taking note of this OKC gem.
  • Check out more than 1,400 items of Native American fine art, pottery, basketry, textiles and beadwork at Red Earth Museum.
  • Learn about the day that changed our city forever at the outdoor symbolic memorial of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The memorial honors victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were changed by the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

The Oklahoma City Visitors Guide, produced by the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, has more ideas for kids of all ages. Get a digital or printed copy, and start exploring OKC.

museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, spring break, arts and culture, family-friendly, free, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Making a mark on aviation history

While the Wright brothers may not have hailed from Oklahoma, plenty of other aviation pioneers did, allowing our state to leave an indelible mark on the industry’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

Post first made headlines in 1931 when he and his navigator broke the record by flying around the world in just eight days (hey, it was 1931). This accomplishment made Post a national celebrity (on par with Charles Lindbergh). In 1933, he became the first person to fly solo around the world. For most people, that would be enough accomplishment for a lifetime, but not for Mr. Post. He also developed one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream.

Another Oklahoma aviation and military pioneer is Major Gen. Clarence Tinker, who was born in Osage Nation near Pawhuska, Okla., in 1887. He began his distinguished military service in 1912, when he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he rose in rank to major, and in 1919 he was transferred to the place where he would spend the bulk of his career, the Air Corps.

After rising through the ranks, he was named Commander of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, Tinker was promoted to major general, becoming the first Native American to reach that rank and the highest-ranking officer with Native American ancestry in the U.S. Army at that time. Tinker demonstrated the hands-on, get-things-done nature of Oklahomans when he personally led a force of B-24s against the retreating Japanese naval forces during the Battle of Midway on June 7.

During that battle, Tinker became the first American general killed during World War II, but his legacy was commemorated in a lasting way a few months later when the Oklahoma City Air Depot was named Tinker Field in his honor. That air depot served its country faithfully during World War II and is still serving faithfully today as Tinker Air Force Base and the Air Force Sustainment Center.

This year is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Tinker Air Force Base and the impact it has on our community. The base turns 75 this year and will host events all year long to celebrate including a half marathon and air show. Check out a list of events to get involved. 

Save

aviation, festivals, history, running, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Deep Deuce

Deep Deuce neighborhood

Located in the heart of downtown, the Deep Deuce District is one of the most historically significant areas of Oklahoma City and now a key urban center for the metro.

First the history, as the Deep Deuce was the home for African-American culture in Oklahoma City for decades. The district was a regional hub for jazz music in the 40s and home to legends like Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Charlie Christian and Jimmy Rushing. Oklahoma City native and literary giant Ralph Ellison even wrote a tribute to the district in his poem entitled “Deep Second”.

Recently the district has seen remarkable investment and redevelopment. Today you can find great restaurants and much of the city’s urban housing developments, making it the center for urban living in OKC.   

Deep Deuce, downtown, history, housing, nightlife, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best of 2016

Riversport Rapids

This time of the year is filled with “Best of Lists.” Best of music, best of movies, best of television … you get the idea. So why not us? So here are our favorite posts of the past year. Below is a good example of what this blog is all about so you can easily share with your friends and show them why this blog is such a good and entertaining resource. Consider it a “Here-are-five-important-things-a-newbie–to-OKC-needs-to-know” list:

  • With or without a paddle- Maybe no place in OKC had a bigger 2016 than the Oklahoma River. The opening of the RIVERSPORT Rapids gave citizens and visitors an experience you can’t find anywhere else, whitewater rafting in a metropolitan downtown.
  • Let’s hear it for the beer- The craft beer scene in Oklahoma City has been on the rise for a while with some local breweries who have won big honors. However, recent efforts to modernize our state’s liquor laws have set the stage for local breweries to reach a whole new level.
  • Area of innovation- Entrepreneurship has been in our city’s DNA since its founding in a single day. This year an effort in placemaking centered around a proposed innovation district took huge strides towards reality.
  • Making a mark on aviation history- Our city and state have played an underrated role in the evolution of aviation. From early pioneers like Wiley Post to astronauts like Shannon Lucid, the Sooner State has been on the forefront of aerospace innovation.
aviation, beer, entrepreneur, history, Innovation District, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma River, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brush up on OKCís military history

45th Infantry Division Museum

Because of OKC’s ongoing ties to the U.S. military, you can learn about this community’s history with the U.S. Armed Services year round.

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

history, military, museums, Tinker, aviation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Go West

Are you looking for a little adventure just outside OKC? Head west for exciting, hands-on family fun.  We’ll start our tour just west of OKC in Yukon.

Get up close and personal with majestic Clydesdale horses at the Express Clydesdales Ranch in Yukon. Take a free tour of the working ranch and learn about these magnificent purebred horses. Not only do these beauties meet thousands of visitors each year at home, but they travel across North America as ambassadors for Express Employment Professionals and help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other charities. Each year, the Clydesdales are invited to take part in some of the world’s most famous parades like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Tournament of Roses Parade and the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade, just to name a few. While you’re in Yukon, Czech out the historic Czech Hall, which is a on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1925, the hall has hosted Czech dances each Saturday night, complete with a live band. Fun, family-friendly community events are also held throughout the year at the Kirkpatrick Family Farm, one of the oldest pieces of continually owned family real estate in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City’s newest professional soccer team, Rayo OKC, also plays at Miller Stadium at Yukon High School. Catch their last home game of the season on Oct. 30.

free, history, live music, Rayo, soccer, Yukon, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Step back in time

El Reno Trolley

While some may know El Reno simply for its famous annual Fried Onion Burger Day Festival, the city has quite an intriguing past.

The city was originally located about five miles north of its present location, on the banks of the North Canadian River and was known as Reno City. After the second time the town flooded, it was moved to its present location and changed its name to El Reno. Visitors can step back in time at Fort Reno, a 6,000 acre site that began as a military camp in 1874. The Officer’s Duplex now houses the U.S. Cavalry Museum and Research Library while the chapel still serves as a popular wedding site.

While you’re visiting, climb aboard the Heritage Express trolley and explore the city’s historic downtown.  And once you’ve worked up an appetite, give the onion burger a try. Sid's Diner has been lauded as having one of the nation’s best burgers by the Food Network. The restaurant has also has been featured on Man v. Food on the Travel Channel.

El Reno, festivals, history, museums, restaurants, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Pioneers at heart

Kingfisher Seay House

Just slightly northwest of Oklahoma City you will find Kingfisher. Settled as part of the Land Run, Kingfisher has a rich history.  The city was located right on the Chisholm Trail, where millions of cows were driven from Texas to Kansas. You can learn all about this fascinating time in America’s history at the Chisholm Trail Museum. The museum features one-of-a-kind artifacts from that time period including Native American, farm and pioneer implements. While you’re visiting, check out the 89er Theater. Once a Masonic Temple, this century-old Main Street building has since been resurrected as a movie theater.

A few other interesting tidbits about Kingfisher, Walmart founder Sam Walton was born there in 1918 and the Coleman Company (think camping gear and sports equipment) was founded there in 1900.

history, Kingfisher, movies, museums, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A history lesson

Cowboys

Our state has a storied history. From gun slingers and outlaws to Olympians and war heroes, a short trip to the east will highlight the diversity in our state.

Check out the 14 Flags Museum in Sallisaw, paying homage to the 14 different nations of people the state has been home to. You can explore historic structures dating back to the time when Cherokee settlers began arriving in the state in 1830. Other places to quench your historical thirst include Robbers Cave State Park and the Spiro Mounds.

Sports enthusiasts can visit Yale to tour the former home of 1912 Olympian Jim Thorpe displaying track and field awards or Stillwater to tour the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

family-friendly, history, native american, Oklahoma, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Twitter Time Machine

Entrepreneurship has been part of Oklahoma City’s DNA from the get-go. To get a closer look at the land run, we got some plutonium, a flux capacitor and a little backwards-engineering / technical cross-pollination and found some tweets from that day, along with some more of OKC’s defining historical events.

Land Run - April 22, 1889


 

“Wild Mary Sudik” Well Gushes in South OKC - March 26, 1930

 

 

 

The Skirvin
September 26, 1911

February 26, 2007

July 16, 1935 – World’s First Parking Meter Installed in Downtown OKC

April 8, 1941 – What is to become Tinker AFB sited in OKC

Feb 3, 1964 – FAA’s sonic boom tests begin over Oklahoma City

 

December 14, 1993 – MAPS Passes

Save

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Oklahoma City history, social media, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A hometown adventure

Oklahoma History Center

Today, we know Oklahoma City as a thriving, vibrant city full of fun things to do, great places to shop and world-class restaurants. You might be surprised that our city has a storied history. Born at the sound of a gunshot, Oklahoma City was settled by a historic land run involving 10,000 homesteaders on April 22, 1889. By 1900, the population had more than doubled and on November 16, 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state.

A fun fact for all you history buffs – Oklahoma City was not always the capitol of Oklahoma; nearby Guthrie takes the distinction of being the first. On June 11, 1910, voters decided to move the capitol from Guthrie to Oklahoma City. In fact, the Secretary of State brought the state seal by order of Gov. Haskell to the Huckins Hotel, making the hotel the State Capitol of Oklahoma. Despite the hotel being demolished in 1971, its colorful history lives on. You can read a full account of the state capitol move here. The current Oklahoma State Capitol was built in 1919 at N.E. 23rd Street and Lincoln Boulevard.

These are just a few of the fun facts that you can discover on a self-guided tour of the Oklahoma History Center. Why not check it out and find out about the state’s history for yourself?

Located just northeast of downtown near the Oklahoma State Capitol, the Oklahoma History Center is a great place to explore. Check out the Smithsonian-quality exhibits and more than 2,000 artifacts which reflect the inspiring and adventurous spirit of our state. More information on museum hours and admission prices is available here.

The Oklahoma Museum of History is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society, the keeper of the state’s history. That website is filled to the brim with information that could fill out any school history report or satisfy your curiosity about all things history Oklahoma. Explore photographs, news accounts, oral histories, records and more. It’s definitely our go-to resource for all history questions.

While you’re here, don’t miss the Red River Journey -- a walking tour of the Red River Valley.  In addition to land forms, vegetation and important historical locations, the grounds also include an outdoor oilfield exhibit complete with drilling derricks, a portable derrick and machinery associated with Oklahoma oil explorations.

And an extra fun fact – The street where the Oklahoma History Center is located is named after another well-known and respected immigrant, Dr. Nazih Zuhdi, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and performed Oklahoma’s first heart transplant and was a pioneer surgeon in many other ways. Read more about him here and here.

history, museums, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history, Guthrie
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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A moment in time

Landrun Wagon Statue

Have you ever wondered what the earliest moments of our city looked like? A stunning visual representation of the first moments can be seen at the Centennial Land Run Monument, near the south end of the Bricktown Canal. Two cast bronze statues have been added recently to the larger-than-life exhibit, bringing the total to 36 pieces of public art.

The monument begins with a soldier and a cannon, firing the shot to start the run. Twenty-four horses and riders are commemorated.  Vehicles used in the race including a buckboard, two covered wagons and a buggy also take center stage. When completed, this piece of art will contain 45 sculptures and will be one of the largest freestanding bronze sculptures in the world, spanning more than the length of a football field.

Next time you are in Bricktown, be sure to check it out. It’s a great way to get a small glimpse of our exciting history.

Bricktown, history, Oklahoma City history, arts and culture
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Making a mark on aviation history

While the Wright brothers may not have hailed from Oklahoma, plenty of other aviation pioneers did, allowing Oklahoma to leave an indelible mark on the industry’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

Post first made headlines in 1931 when he and his navigator broke the record by flying around the world in just eight days (hey, it was 1931). This accomplishment made Post a national celebrity (on par with Charles Lindbergh). In 1933, he became the first person to fly solo around the world. For most people, that would be enough accomplishment for a lifetime, but not for Mr. Post. He also developed one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream (all while wearing an amazing eye patch).

Another Oklahoma aviation and military pioneer is Major Gen. Clarence Tinker, who was born in Osage Nation near Pawhuska, Okla., in 1887. He began his distinguished military service in 1912, when he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he rose in rank to major, and in 1919 he was transferred to the place where he would spend the bulk of his career, the Air Corps.

After rising through the ranks, he was named Commander of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, Tinker was promoted to major general, becoming the first Native American to reach that rank and the highest-ranking officer with Native American ancestry in the U.S. Army at that time. Tinker demonstrated the hands-on, get-things-done nature of Oklahomans when he personally led a force of B-24s against the retreating Japanese naval forces during the Battle of Midway on June 7.

During that battle, Tinker became the first American general killed during World War II, but his legacy was commemorated in a lasting way a few months later when the Oklahoma City Air Depot was named Tinker Field in his honor. That air depot served its country faithfully during World War II and is still serving faithfully today as Tinker Air Force Base and the Air Force Sustainment Center.

aviation, history, aerospace
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Guthrie

Guthrie at night

The city of Guthrie (located just 35 minutes north of Oklahoma City) was chosen as the territorial capital in the months following the Land Run of 1889, and when Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907, Guthrie became the state capital. Today, Guthrie has retained much of its territorial architecture (and charm!) to become one of the most picturesque places to visit. It stands today as a National Historic Landmark filled with examples of late 19th and early 20th Century architecture.

Here are just a few of the many ways to experience Guthrie:

food, Guthrie, history, movies, retail, theater, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Best of 2015

Happy trails to you 2015. While the past year was a banner one for Oklahoma City we think 2016 might top it. There is so much to look forward to as the MAPS 3 projects will continue to take shape, cranes will once again dot the downtown as new towers begin to change the skyline, new music venues will open, new retail will hit the market and who knows? Maybe we will even celebrate the Thunder with a championship parade come June.

This time of the year is filled with “Best of Lists.” Best of music, best of movies, best of television … you get the idea. So why not us? So here are our favorite posts of the past year. Below is a good example of what this blog is all about so you can easily share with your friends and show them why this blog is such a good and entertaining resource. Consider it a “Here-are-five-important-things-a-newbie-to-OKC-needs-to-know” list:

  • Oklahoma Standard- The bombing that happened in downtown Oklahoma City in 1995 forever changed not only our city but country. While it has had a lasting impact the citizens of OKC have not let it define our community. That was never more apparent than this year when we celebrated the 10th anniversary with the Oklahoma Standard campaign.
  • Make Our History Less of a Mystery- From Native American culture to the Land Run saying our region has a unique history would be an understatement. Luckily OKC has a handful of world-class museums that tell our story.
  • deadCENTER Film Festival- We love nothing more than showing off a side of OKC newcomers might not expect. The annual deadCENTER Film Festival is a perfect example of this.
  • Music is in our DNA- Spend any time here and you start to realize OKC can be a bit eclectic. We are little bit country and little bit rock ‘n’ roll (as the kids would say). Nothing exemplifies that more than the musicians who have called Oklahoma home. From the father of folk music to jazz legends, hippie rockers and country superstars, Oklahoma boosts a diverse music scene.
  • Mmm-Beer- Oklahoma City is home to a craft beer scene with breweries taking hope national (and sometimes international) awards.
film, history, live music, MAPS, retail, Thunder, beer
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Learn more about OKCís military history

display at the 45th Infantry Museum

Veterans Day may only occupy one day on the calendar, but in Oklahoma City you can learn about this community’s military history year round.

Did you know there have been two different USS Oklahoma City ships? There is currently a submarine christened the USS Oklahoma City that served in the Persian Gulf. There was also a light cruiser named the USS Oklahoma City with an interesting history that served in World War II and the Vietnam War. 

Want to experience a more hands on history of the military? Visit the 45th Infantry Museum, which is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.     

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation. One of the best exhibits includes features on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park  near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircrafts that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades. 

history, military, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aviation soars in OKC

HIstorical U.S. Air Force in OKC photo

If you are an aviation aficionado, you probably already know what a major role that aviation and aerospace plays in our current economy and in Oklahoma’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

In fact, Wiley Post was the first person to fly solo around the world, the developer of the first pressurized suit and the discoverer of the jet stream – all before his death at the age of 36. The spirit of discovery and progress he embodied continues today, as aviation is one of the key drivers of our region’s economy. There are more than 300 public- and private-sector aviation and aerospace firms in the Greater Oklahoma City region alone, and Oklahoma is now one of the top 10 states in traditional aerospace occupation employment. Learn more about Oklahoma City’s booming aerospace industry here.

history, aviation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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