Friday, May 18, 2018

Elk City Museums (Almost Free!)

Elk City's museum complex stretches over a city block, and includes 5 museums, and several assorted buildings. OK, yes, th admission is $5, but that covers everything. If that isn't enough of a bargain, the city also offers 4 free days of camping at its Lake Park.

The Old Town Museum is a quaint house, filled with the typical clutter of treasures you find in small town museums,
including a quilt display.
The upstairs is devoted to rodeo. One Elk City boy who became well-known on the circuit was Casey Tibbs.  The Buetler Brothers, which provide many of the bulls and broncos for rodeos, are also from this area.
There is many outbuildings, including a depot, complete with caboose.
There is also a livery stable, 
and a chapel. The organ in this chapel was from an early church, and was rescued and restored by a local citizen.
We're sure it was quite a feat to move this old stone school house!
There is a both a bison and a longhorn in front of the museum, made by local artist Joe Smith.
This one of the first wooden farmhouses in the area. The inside has now been set up to show exhibits from an early hospital.
The Farm and Ranch Museum is hard to miss -just look for the big red barn.
The first metal windmill was made in 1854. The museum has quite a few windmills on display, including one from Argentina.
A 1957 International Harvester tractor.

Quick Digression: Cyrus McCormick started what would become International Havester in the 1830s when he invented a horse-drawn reaper. The story goes that McCormick got the design from an idea sketched out in a Roman book. It would take several decades of improvement and tinkering, though, before he had a product he could sell in the 1840s.
The Blacksmith Museum had an impressive display of tools, barbed wire, and most of the contents of a wagon shop.

Another digression: We found out the word 'tire' originally meant the metal bands put around wooden wagon wheels. 
At one time, Elk City was the broom corn capital of the world.

And another digression: Back when people used to make their own brooms, most folks made a new broom each time they moved to a new house. Why? Because there was a popular superstition that taking a home's broom with you was bad luck. Some people even believed just carrying a broom over the front threshold could cause bad luck!
The green windmill? Is the one from Argentina.
According to this sign, one of the first cable channels was started in Elk City.
The Transportation Museum has many vintage vehicles, including this early bright orange scooter,
and a Depression-Era Ford.

One more digression: Early Ford seats were stuffed with Spanish moss. In fact, this led to Ford's first recall!
Of course, you can't have Route 66 without a vintage Corvette!
So, yes, while the museum complex wasn't free, it was certainly a great bargain and a lot of fun to visit.
After spending several hours at the complex, we were starved. We decided to head to the Cowboy Cafe.
I ordered a turkey club and The Biker ordered a chicken-fried steak. The food was excellent, the portions large, and the price was very affordable. Add in the cheerful and fast waitstaff, and this is definitely a place we would recommend eating at!


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