Friday, December 7, 2012

A trip to the big city - Oklahoma City

What have we here? There are clues in this picture, to the observant.
Some folks will recognize form and function, and others will simply say "I dunno", and wait for an explanation. Suffice it to say you won't have long to wait.

Here is as they say on the real estate shows is "the reveal". It's the dome of the State Capitol building in Oklahoma City. This is our third time here. The first time was on a was closed. The second time it was too late in the afternoon by the time we arrived.........denied.

This time we arrived at before lunch. We had about 1/2 hour to look around and then it was time for an official tour.

While we were waiting we looked at some of the art on the walls. There was a display of photographs by a local artist. This woman has a talent for capturing everyday life in Oklahoma.

This one is entitled "a pen full of longhorns". You don't want to get too close to those.

This picture of buffalo on the range is called " blue afternoon." Very apt, don't you think?

This is a statue of  Kate Barnard, the first woman in the United States to win a statewide election. She was elected to the post of Commissioner of Charities and Corrections, and in this capacity worked to establish mandatory education, unfair labor and child labor laws, and state support for widows. 

She was well regarded and honored for her work with the Corrections department, ensuring humane treatment of prisoners.

This is a picture detailing oil prior to statehood. The natives collected water where the oil seeped out, creating a sheen on creek waters. They used it as a cure for various skin ailments and "the rheumatiz". 

This is a painting by a prominent Oklahoma artist that show a lot of  Oklahoma centric information. It shows the state flower, the state tree and the discovery of oil. also of note is an astronaut, of which there have been 5 from the state of Oklahoma and a representation of a red man. Oklahoma is made up of 2 words meaning red and man.

This is the hall of governors.  Every previous governor is represented here with the exception of the current one and the two which were impeached!!!

This is the other side of the Hall of Governors.

This is the entrance to the Supreme Court. Although it is rarely used, it is nonetheless imposing. The next picture shows some details of the inside. The court was not in session, and the actual facility has only been used twice this year.

This is the courtroom, at a signal all the Justices enter from the rear of the court, and on another signal they all step through the curtains and take their seats at the same time. This is to demonstrate that they are all equal. The woodwork is all Mahogany, having been imported from British Honduras, which we now know as Belize.

This is the ceiling in the Supreme Court. It is very ornate, and detailed. The rosettes are cast in plaster of paris and hand painted.

On the next floor is a series of paintings by an Oklahoma artist. This is very typical of a sunrise or sunset on the Great Plains.

This is a picture of Riverboats on the Red River. Apparently the river was at one time navigable. Now if one goes to cross the Red, there is a long bridge over a bare trickle.

This is a picture of the stained glass in the ceiling of the Senate chamber. Apparently in the early days of air conditioning these windows were covered up, and by the time technology go to the point that they could be uncovered again, they were all broken. Fortunately the company that made them back in 1908 in St. Louis still had the original design and they were able to duplicate them exactly from the originals.

This is the new tote board. the old board is being replaced with an electronic version which will show the voting of the senators and their name will change from yellow to red or green depending on their vote. They are not allowed to abstain except by prior arrangement with the chairman of the Senate.

This is one of the murals in the 4th. floor rotunda. It illustrates the great seal of the state, and agriculture, including wheat and cattle and also shows a couple of prototypical Oklahomans, the man on horseback and the farm wife with long skirt and apron,

This mural shows the early days of trade with the natives. The mounted man is wearing a Mexican Army uniform, and the keelboat was representative of trade up and down the Red River.

This picture is of 5 ballerinas that achieved prima ballerina status in noted ballet companies. Oklahoma is the only state to produce 5 prima ballerinas and they were all natives from various tribes in the state

Here is a mural of the Oklahoma oil boom. In September of 2012, Oklahoma produced 7.94 Million barrels of oil. Oklahoma is also the only state capitol with a producing oil well on the grounds of the capitol.

This is the ceiling of the legislature. The stained glass is equally ornate compared to the Senate chamber. There are many more congressmen than Senators, and they vote in likewise fashion as the senior body, by flipping a switch on their desk. There are fans on the walls which were installed in the early 1900's prior to the advent of air conditioning which still work today. The rosettes and trim are all hand painted, and were recently regilded by the art department of Oklahoma State University staff and students.

This is a picture of the trim on the walls. The detail is very fine, even the fabric swags on the finials are cast in plaster, then painted.

This is a painting that was done and dedicated to the brave Oklahomans who went off and lost their lives in the Great War (WW1.)

This was our host for the tour, Bill Vaughn. He was a genial guide and a regular fount of information about the building and the habits of those who work there.

Here is a picture of Tracy, who wheeled her way around the capitol with deft adroitness. She didn't bump in to anyone or anything the whole time, although we did have to tell her to turn her speed control from "rabbit" to "turtle" on more than one occasion,

We proceeded from the Capitol to the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum. Here is a shot which I call "old and new." A modern office building is flanked by St. Joseph's Old Church.

A visit to the memorial is always a sobering occasion, they have a chair for each of the 168 people killed of which 19 were children in the daycare. Due to the season, each chair was decorated with a Christmas wreath. Even more poignant when you consider the families whose every Christmas after the bombing has been affected by the loss of these loved ones.

This is a picture of the last remaining portion of foundation of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. I has been left as a reminder of the occasion when domestic terrorism hit home to all Americans and in fact to all people in western nations.

Here is a picture of Scooterchick and the reflecting pool. She is reflecting and reflecting and catching a few rays at the same time.

This is one of the portals at either end of the memorial. The Memorial is a very sobering reflection on the disaster. There is also an oak tree that was not killed when the blast took place. They have incorporated in into the memorial as "the survivor tree."

I caught a picture off the cathedral between the trees. You can also see the chairs on the memorial lawn. Interspersed between the adult-sized chairs are the children's sized ones.

Inside the children's portion of the museum there was a fireman's uniform. Scooterchick tried it on. That's my little flame. She can hose me down anytime!!!

After the somber and reflective time at the museum, we needed to find some chow. we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory. It's always worth a visit, reasonable prices and full stomachs everytime.

The decor is the same no matter where the actual location is. I have been in others and they are all very similar. The food is predictably fast and good, and the service is cheerful and deferential.

I decided on Southwest Chicken Lasagna. It came with a tiny Italian flag. I dub thee Mt. Lasagna.

Viva Italia. Let's eat   Mangia....Mangia!

I managed to leave room for dessert. I dived in and realized too late I never took a picture. You'll have to imagine the cake about 2 inches taller. I was too fast with the fork.

As we left the restaurant the sun had gone down and the lights were on. I like the way the lights reflected of the bench. It is a festive time of year in Bricktown.

Here's another view from the other side. I really enjoy the lights on the trees.

We took a couple pictures near the canal. The trees here are all decorated in Christmas colors. They are still running the boats on the canal, and I'm sure it's a pretty trip at this time of year.

You can see the canal and more decorated trees. The canal was a stroke of genius by downtown planners, and revived a previous warehouse and industrial area int the hottest tourist destination in town. There are restaurants, stores, hotels and theaters.

Our day was coming to an end and we headed back to Lawton. I really appreciate the freeways in the States. Even though we had to pay tolls we headed home at about 83 mph. Shortly after we hit the road we were home. Once we got back to Lawton we toured the holiday light park. This here is not a festive tree, nor is it a holiday tree. This is a Christmas Tree. Folks around here wish you a Merry Christmas and God Bless. They will look at you a little squirrelly if you wish them a Happy Holidays.

I close this blog entry wishing you a good sleep, and I'll see y'all soon!!

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