More small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

In the last blog, we visited the small towns of Tonkawa and Blackwell, Oklahoma, and are now continuing our trip with more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2. c


Cherokee Strip Museum

Perry, Oklahoma, is about an hour north of Oklahoma City and is home to the Cherokee Strip Museum. This Museum provides an opportunity to explore the remarkable events and people who made up the history of the Cherokee Outlet Strip.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

If you haven’t visited here before and find yourself traveling through Oklahoma’s small towns off the beaten path, I guarantee you will enjoy exploring the fascinating history this Museum contains. It is a great place to spend a couple of hours or a whole day.

There were seven land runs in Oklahoma territory. The Cherokee Strip is where the United States’ most significant and spectacular land run occurred. It was considerably larger than the 1889 Land Run.

This 1893 event opened over 8 million acres up to settlement on land the Cherokee Nation sold to the United States.

Rose Hill School at the Cherokee Strip Museum

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

This one-room schoolhouse was built in 1895 and moved to the grounds of the Cherokee Strip Museum in 1971. Today this schoolhouse invites 3rd and 4th-grade students to spend a day here.. They dress in period clothing, and attend classes as they would have been held in 1910.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

The children prepare for this time travel day of class for two weeks, and after touring the Museum, they walk across a bridge, referred to as a time bridge, all the way back to 1910.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

We had a great time on the school’s playground – no broken bones!

Once in the schoolroom, they spend the day being taught classes, playing games, singing songs, and eating food that would all have been typical in 1910. They even use slate boards and chalk to write their lessons. Over 81,000 Oklahoma students have participated in this hands-on learning experience since 1988.


Guthrie is a charming and inviting town about 25 miles north of Oklahoma City with a pleasantly large downtown historic district, exciting shops, museums, and excellent Victorian-era beds and breakfasts. The city has a long history, which provides material for a spectacular walking ghost tour.

Oklahoma Territorial Museum & Carnegie Library

This Guthrie Museum focuses on the history of Oklahoma and its role as a territorial state, including information about territorial days, Native American life, the outlaw and lawman, the Santa Fe train, natural resources and industry, and agriculture.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

Here you will see exhibits, photographs, paintings, and artifacts explaining and documenting the Land Run of 1889. Other exhibits tell the history of Guthrie as the original state capitol of Oklahoma territory and the first state capitol.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

The Five Civilized Tribes’ participation in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy cost them a significant portion of their land in Oklahoma Indian territory. It was these lands that Oklahoma settlers campaigned have opened up for settlement.

Visitors will be able to view examples of items from each area of focus and see displays of historical photographs. The Museum is contained in two buildings and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The Carnegie Library, one of two buildings that make up the Oklahoma Territorial Museum, was constructed in 1902. This beautiful Carnegie Library is one of the oldest buildings in Guthrie. It has been the location of numerous events and programs throughout its history.

Elmer McCurdy

Probably, next to the land run, the one thing people go to the Oklahoma Territorial Museum to learn about is Elmer McCurdy. McCurdy was a terribly unsuccessful train robber. He and his companions robbed a train in 1911, expecting it to have a large amount of money on board.

Unfortunately for them, they robbed the wrong train and made away with less than $50. Law enforcement pursued the robbers, and three days later, McCurdy was shot dead. The funeral director embalmed McCurdy’s body using an arsenic-based preservative common during that time.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

As a result of that preservative, the unclaimed body became mummified and was propped up in the corner of the funeral home as a curiosity. McCurdy’s mummified body was later acquired by a carnival show, and for sixty years, McCurdy was a sideshow attraction

In the mid-70s, during the filming of The Six Million Dollar Man, a crew member grabbed the arm of what he believed to be a mannequin hanging by a noose in the funhouse. The arm broke off and exposed bone.

After an autopsy was performed, the mannequin was determined to be the mummified body of Elmer McCurdy! McCurdy’s body was returned to Oklahoma and buried at Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Quite a story!

Guthrie Ghost Tour

A few years ago, we enjoyed one of my most favorite walking ghost tours ever in Guthrie, Oklahoma. I wrote this about the tour in an earlier post.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

The one thing I like best about this tour is that our guide told us upfront at the beginning that, while it was possible, it was not at all likely that a ghost would pop out in front of us. We were told this was a storytelling walk, and it was – great stories about past lives and events in this lovely town.

This town is chock full of ghost stories! I hope to experience this walk again next time we are in that part of the world to hear more stories.

A ghost tour is one of the best ways to learn about a city when traveling. You’ll learn so many tidbits about the city’s past that you may never discover at a museum or traditional walking tour of the town.

It is easy enough to Google the stories told and decide what is fact and what is fiction, but it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s hearing the stories told that is so entertaining.

See Ghost Stories Everywhere!

Spring Creek RV Park

Our home away from home during the few days we visited museums and sights in Perry and Guthrie, Oklahoma, was Spring Creek RV Park in Edmond, Oklahoma. RV sites were difficult to come by because of the spring break holiday and we were lucky to find space here.

more small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

Our campsite was basically space in an overflow parking lot. We had water and electric hookups, but our assigned area was in the concrete parking lot. However, was very near the boat ramp, and we were surrounded by families enjoying the lake and the excellent spring weather.

The campsite was very affordable, had a nice view of the lake, and was a comfortable place to spend a few days.

We are taking a break from Oklahoma’s small towns for a while, but there are so many left to visit and explore that we look forward to returning soon to see what we can see.

More small towns in Oklahoma Part 2More small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

4 thoughts on “More small towns in Oklahoma Part 2

  1. It’s always interesting to hear stories about one-room schoolhouses. My mother grew up in a one-room schoolhouse. Everyone had the opportunity to learn everything multiple times because of all the grades being together. So if they missed out on something in a grade, they had the opportunity to review it by hearing it taught again. The same with the higher grades they could learn ahead of time and advance…….I think that is a wonder idea to let the children go back in time!

    1. I love one-room schools also. My parents both attended one-room schoolhouses. This one is really a big deal in the area with kids coming from all nearby schools to “time travel” back to 1910. They wear period clothes and carry their lunches in a pail! There is a great playground, similar to what we grew up with too.

  2. Debbie, the story in your blog about Elmer McCurdy was fascinating. That tidbit of history is a great way to start off the week. As always I enjoyed your blog.

    1. Thank you. It is a pretty unusual tale, I think.

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