TAKE ON TOPICS
By TRACI BARNES
My parents have an antique store in Wister. For years growing up my sisters and I have experienced the hunt for treasurers. I love to go to a good auction or estate sale. A few months ago my parents and sisters bought an estate sale.
I now have a stack of old Oklahoma Today Magazines. The special anniversary issue dated January-February 1986 caught my attention right away. The title of the article is “First, Best, & Favorites”.
As Oklahomans we are always proud and willing to brag on our home state. So I am going to list just a few of the brags from 1986, and who knows, these may have been surpassed by now.
The year with the most gas and oil well completions was 1982 with 12,030 recorded.
The year with the biggest oil sales was 1927 when we poured oil into 227,775,000 barrels.
Biggest footprints were found by Truman Tucker as a young man. They were left by a Stegosaur or two plodding through Oklahoma during the 150-million-year Mesozoic Era, which saw the rise and fall of the dinosaur. The prints are 12-14 inches in diameter and about 2 to 3 inches deep located in Cooper’s Arroyo on the northeast end of Black Mesa.
The Roosevelt Bridge, over Lake Texoma on State Highway 70 was built in the early 1940s. It is 4,900 feet long. It holds the title of the longest bridge contained within the state.
The longest bridge in the state begins here and ends in Texas. It is the Willis Bridge that crosses the Red River on State Highway 99. It is 5,400 feet long.
The first railroad to enter the state was the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (M-K-T), in 1871.
The largest fish caught by rod and line was 100 pounds even and 55 inches long with a girth of 39 ¾ inches. The paddlefish, also known as a spoonbill, was caught on March 21, 1984 on the Neosho River.
The largest fish caught by other legal means was a 131 pound, 12 ounce alligator gar by David Uhles in July of 1984 on the Red River. Many also call this the ugliest fish in the state it was 84 inches long and 33 ¾ inches around.
The biggest year for wheat production was 1982 with 228 million bushels.
The biggest year for the cattle and calves industry was 1975. The state listed 6 ½ million head of cattle and calves.
The first flag to fly over Oklahoma was the Royal Standard of Spain brought by Coronado in 1541. Oklahoma saw 12 more before adopting our official state flag in 1925.
The first telephone conversation on commercial phone is a tale from C.W. West: It seems a 16-year-old Cherokee named Ed Hicks brought the first commercial phone to what was not then the Sooner State in 1886. Starting in Tahlequah and stringing lines as they went, Hicks and his crew reached Fort Gibson on Aug. 6, 1886. One of the workmen then called J. Stapler, which was Hicks’ uncle, waiting in Tahlequah. The workman said, “Hello. Who is this?” Stapler replied, “The devil, and I’m coming to get you.”
The sternest town name is Moral. Brooks Walker named this town for his success in preventing saloons at this town site.
The loosest town name is Row, as in a fight. It has been called Colcord since 1930 but the town’s first name was earned because of its large number of drunken brawls and killings.
The funniest town name is Slapout. As the story goes there was a storekeeper answering most requests for items with “I’m slap out of that today.”
The hottest day honor went to several places. All the readings occurred in 1936 except one. On July 18 and 19th of that year it hit 120 degrees in Alva and Altus. On August 1st, Poteau felt the same sizzle. It wasn’t until July 26, 1943 that Tishomingo entered the Hell of Fame.
I am learning we are definitely a state with a sense of humor. I can’t wait to see what else I find in this stack of magazines.
Until next week…