Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Saturday adventure

Today I decided to put on my travel writer's hat again and take a fresh look at my own city, actually IN TOWN instead of out and about in the rural areas.

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I took advantage of the Oklahoma Spirit Trolley (orange line) to avoid the high-priced and scarce parking in Bricktown. For $3 I was able to get a three-day pass that is good on all three trolley lines. Let me tell you, that is quite a bargain if you consider that Bricktown restaurants charge a minimum of $5 for parking while you're a customer at their establishment.

I'll space the photos out over a few days, because there are SO MANY of them. Today we'll concentrate on some of the art.

Oklahoma will celebrate its centennial in 2007. (which explains so many of E.R.'s great writing projects of late. He's putting his history degree to fine use, let me tell you. Check out his blog.)

As part of the centennial celebrations, 46 bronzes have been commissioned for the south part of the Bricktown canal -- 46 because Oklahoma was the 46th state admitted to the Union, in 1907 (see how that works, that they scheduled the centennial for 100 years later? hee hee)

Here are a few of the pieces, from Saturday's tour:

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First, a replica of the cannon that fired to start the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 (central Oklahoma.)

And with the firing of that cannon, the race was on! As always, the three main keys to real estate was location, location, location. The first one to stake out a piece of land (and get it recorded) was the owner.

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They came in wagons and on horseback. Some came by train and jumped off when they saw a plot they wanted. Get there and get it staked was the order of the day.
The artist who created this piece imposed his own face on the wagon's driver.
Another bit of trivia about this piece: The canal, on each bank, has been imprinted with horses' hooves so it looks like the stream was really crossed by running horses.

Image hosted by Following close behind the wagon are two pioneers on horseback, racing to stake their own claims. (Note of irony: this is the first time I've ever doctored a photo. I removed a billboard that was intruding in the photo, advertising, of all things, an Indian casino. Apologies to purists who object to doctored photos. I just couldn't leave it.)

Not all the art associated with the centennial is serious. There are many buffalo statues scattered across the city, adopted by groups and corporations and decorated as they wish. It's a welcome bit of whimsy to go on a buffalo hunt and try to track these guys down.

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There's the "Jackson Pollack" buffalo... he hangs out at the Bricktown Ballpark, right outside the home plate gate with Johnny Bench.

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At the third base gate, this UPS buffalo, obviously a working stiff, keeps Mickey Mantle company. I hope he's not still on the clock...

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Proof positive that you CAN roller skate in a buffalo herd...
Right outside the Sonic Corp.'s world headquarters is a buffalo which pays homage to the skating carhops the company has employeed since 1953. I'm not sure I would trust him with a tray, though.

We'll continue the rest of the Bricktown tour over the next few days. I had a great time! But back on the trolley, on the way home, we passed through Stockyards City.

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At the main intersection in that area is a statue of a cowboy roping a longhorn. I happened to catch it in silhouette as we rode past.

I hope you've enjoyed today's art tour.

Stay tuned for much, much more over the next days.


Mark said...

Nice pictures! My hometown of Kansas city has similar statues of cows decorated all over the city. funny.

FrenziedFeline said...

I really like that last picture. Good work! :)

Erudite Redneck said...

Cool. And thanks for the plug. :-)

night-rider said...

Thanks for the interesting tour. That last photo is a work of art in itself -fantastic!

Einar said...

I LOVE the sculpture that you have included - and think it is great that someone has decided to put up this much of it.
But here is my question for you - all of you. Do you think that these statues of the OK landrush, for example, should be considered as 'propaganda?' Before you freak out, run a google on "What is propaganda" and read several answers before answering. Einar