"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oklahoma City is Booming!

We are not city friendly folks, but after an overnight in Oklahoma City (OKC) we were impressed. Before we even knew the stats, we could tell it was thriving. So we looked it up while we were driving back to Grove. Here's what some of the numbers say:

OKC has grown 5% since the 2010 census according to a CNN Money article about the 10 fastest growing cities in the USA. According to Forbes, the unemployment rate was 3.1% in 2015.  The OKC Chamber of Commerce lists many accolades, including Entrepreneur's #1 for starting a new business. Its growth has traditionally been based in livestock and petroleum products, but new tech development has been recognized in the current and forecasted boom.

We loaded up Honey in the car and treated ourselves to a break from the RV so we could check out OKC.  We stayed at the La Quinta Inn, which always allows dogs without an additional charge and is usually a nice place. It was Honey's first visit to a hotel, and she was excited (of course she's always pretty excited), but she handled it well. We were able to leave her in the motel while we went out for dinner and to see the Capitol building the next day. But first we all went downtown to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, which has a dog park! It also allows pets throughout the gardens. Happy Honey!

She wasn't the only happy one. The temperature was delightful, the air was clean and crisp, and the garden was full of fun things to photograph. The landscaping was in Fall mode - end of season grasses, year round shrubs, evergreens and trees with a bit of Fall color. The park is very strong architecturally, with an emphasis on geometric forms rather than flowers, at least at this time of year.   

The primary focal point from almost every location is the Devon Energy Building. Everything else seems to play off that building. 

Down the center of the park is a ravine with a pond/river running through it. Pictured below is a foot bridge, many-leveled paths along the river and an amphitheater.

The river is fed and complemented by various other water features. Here Rick is taking a video  capturing the changing beauty of this wave pool.

The wave pool/waterfall is right next to a band shell...

...that was a lot of fun to photograph. Here it is in relation to the Devon Energy Building...

...and the sun.

A major feature of the park is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory...

...which houses, yes, tropical plants. We missed going in, as it closes at 5pm.

There is a restaurant, also closed when we were there.

We finished with another visit to the dog park. It's a small park with astro turf and gravel, but it has fresh drinking water for the dogs, bags, shade, and seating for the people. Honey got a little play time with another visiting dog, so she was all set for a quiet evening. 

Next day we left Honey in the hotel room again and went to the Oklahoma State Capitol.  It has an immediately noticeable unique feature: an oil well right in front. 

Also in front was this statue by Allan Houser, well known Native American sculptor, entitled "As Long as Water Flows." I guess the oil rig says "As Long as Oil Flows."  The economy in Oklahoma is certainly dependent on that flowing too.

The Capitol has what we now recognize as the traditional Capitol architectural plan modeled after the US Capitol: two major wings, and front and back entrance foyers with staircases, all extending away from a multi-storied central rotunda. 

Each state varies the design with unique murals, artwork, architectural detail, and color schemes that reflect the character of their state.  

There seemed to be less intrinsic symbolism in this building than the last four we've seen. There were however many references to Native American culture and history. 

There is a striking collection of portraits throughout the building, including this one of Sequoyah, an illiterate (couldn't read or write any language) Cherokee man who single handedly invented and then taught the Cherokee alphabet and written language. He was also committed to the unification of the Cherokee Nation. 

One of the newest works of art in the Capitol is "Beyond the Centinnial" by Carlos Tello (2010).  The Iron Man-like figure in the center represents every Oklahoman, holding the future of the state in his hands. We thought it was a little bizarre.

Through the circle of lights below you can see one of the most beloved works of art in the building,  "Flight of Spirit" by Mike Larsen (1991). In the foreground it depicts five Native American ballerinas, with other Native dancers and artists behind them. One of the ballerinas is Maria Tallchief, whom I idolized as a little girl. 

This replica of the 22' statue called The Guardian, that tops the Capitol Dome, stands at the top of the front grand staircase.

On the first floor there are several additional galleries that hold temporary displays; at this time they are wonderful contemporary collections. We thought the quality and selection of the art throughout the Capitol was remarkable and would recommend a visit to the building for any art lover. 

I'll close with this portrait of Woody Guthrie, one of my heroes. He was a singer/songwriter of the American people, from my parents' generation. I grew up singing his songs and didn't even know it.  I can't help but think how I learned of his worldview through music, a powerful medium, and how it influenced who I am and what I'm doing today.

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me...


  1. For some reason we didn't go into the capitol. I guess our main objective for our short stay was the OKC Memorial. I hope you had a chance to visit this place. We were both so impressed by how well the memorial was layed out to included everyone. Something not to be missed.

    1. Well, for some reason we didn't go to the Memorial, though originally we intended to. I've heard so many good things about it. Next time.

  2. I love it when a city is aesthetically pleasing! Lovely photos of a place I might never see...thank you for taking me there!

    1. Well that describes the parts of OKC that we saw at least. You're welcome, as always. Thanks for reading!


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