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Stories from the past

All articles copyrighted by the Guymon Daily Herald. Used by permission.


Panhandle Party

Panhandle Settlers celebrated statehood 95 years ago with big drinking party

The following article appeared in the Guymon Daily Herald, Sat/Sun, November 16/17, 2002.
The article was written by Nikki Brewer.

GUYMON, OKLA. - Happy Birthday to you, Oklahoma!! November 16, 1907, Oklahoma bacame the 46th state. Several transformations changed the territory into the beginning of small towns, communities and families.

The entire territory in the Oklahoma Panhandle, including Guymon, was in Beaver County. On the day of statehood the county was divided up into the three present day counties, Beaver, Texas and Cimarron.

According to Ken Turner, curator of the No Man's Land Museum in Goodwell, Nov. 16 also marks the birthday for Guymon becoming the county seat of Texas County.

He also commented on another interesting aspect of statehood. Oklahoma as a territory was not "dry," for it allowed alcohol to be served, drank and sold within it's locales.

Once Oklahoma became a state it would no longer be a "wet" territory. So, the evening before statehood, the saloons served free drinks to anyone.

"It was probably one of the biggest parties ever in the history of the Panhandle," Turner said.

He also added that the Senate Saloon on Main Street of Guymon changed its name to Senate Smokehouse to avoid closing it's doors after statehood.

Since it was no longer a good place to get a cold drink, Oklahoma became the place "to strike it rich" when the discovery of oil was announced to all,

The land runs had attracted settlers from all around the world. Opportunity seekers from Poland, Germany, Ireland and Slavic nations came to claim their own piece of land.

According to the Oklahoma state website, Oklahoma was inhabited already by American Indians and African Americans that had traveled along as the Indian's slaves.

They were forced here by treaties enacted after the Civil War. The U.S. Government forced the tribes to give up their lands and move west to the territory we now call home.

Also from the website, the history of the African Americans in Oklahoma gave a surprising view into our state's history.

The story of African Americans in Oklahoma is a unique story unlike any others in the U.S. States.

By statehood, they out numbered both Indians and first and second generation Europeans. They created more all-black towns in Oklahoma than in the rest of the country combined.

These people produced some of the country's greatest jazz music and led some of the nation's geatest civil rights battles.

Eventually, 27 black towns grew to comprise ten percent of the territory's population. The Indian heritage had much to do with Oklahoma. According to the website the state's name, "Oklahoma" comes from the Choctaw words "okla" meaning people and "humma" meaning red, so the name literally means "red people."

This year many Oklahoman's will celebrate statehood day by dedicating the new dome on the state capitol building. A full day of concerts, exhibits and a fireworks display will commemorate our state's 95th birthday.


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