We got into Guthrie late on Saturday and spent Sunday doing some grocery shopping and sitting out in the 80 degree heat enjoying the sunshine. After 3 days of driving it was nice to kick back and relax. The American Midwest is in the midst of a heatwave with the usual temps in the 50s soaring to the mid 80’s. The winter jackets and gloves are now packed away and its T-shirts and sandals, at least until we hit the higher elevations of Flagstaff.
We stayed in Guthrie 2 years ago but didn't have time to tour the town but based on our quick drive through town and reviewing some of the tourist brochures we knew we wanted to make a return visit.
First a bit of history. Like so many towns in the settlement of the west, Guthrie was born because the railway decided to set up a railroad station in 1887. A few years later 50,000 people gathered at the edges of the unsettled territories for the great land run. People raced across 2 million acres of Indian Territory to lay claim to plots of land. In a matter of 6 hours 10,000 people settled in Guthrie which became the capital of the new Territory of Oklahoma. Talk about a boom town. While Guthrie eventually lost out to Oklahoma City in both economic influence and the title of capital city of the new state of Oklahoma the buildings constructed during those boom years have been meticulously preserved. The centre district of Guthrie was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1999 and the following are pictures from our little walk through about 6 city blocks.
The tree below is on the site of the original Land Office from the Land Run of 1889. It is now located on the property of the US Post Office and is designated a National Park. Thats right, the tree and the land immediately around it, basically what you see in the picture is the smallest National Park in the US.
|Many of the old buildings had restored original painted ads.|
|Read the sign. Guthrie had all the modern conveniences.|
|Could you ask for a prettier downtown. So much nicer than the Walmart and Strip Malls in the suburbs.|
|I always ask Lori to take her sunglasses off for pictures. Guess I also have to ask her to keep her eyes open.|
|almost all of these buildings have active business operating in them. No derelict structures here.|
|each corner had one of these. all ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving.|
|The old state capital.|
|Bed and Breakfast.|
|The Victor Hotel. Must have been a grand place to stay.|
|The start of America's (and Canada's) addiction to sugar.|
|A local Theatre company still puts on plays at the Theatre.|
We saw this building way down at the end of the main street. Looks totally out of place. It is the Guthrie Scottish Rite Masonic Centre. It is absolutely huge and is situated alone on an entire city block with massive grounds surrounding the building. As with much of the rest of town, it was closed on Monday. A tour is a must if we find ourselves here again.
|The steps and pillars remind me of the provincial legislature building in Winnipeg|
|All of the windows, and there are lots of windows, are stained glass.|
Monday morning we took a drive into Oklahoma City and a visit to Camping World. They had a replacement shroud for the A/C and after climbing up on the roof of the trailer (I hate heights) I installed the new shroud. Its white and the rest of the rooftop vent covers are black but at least we are safe from any rain. Lori suggested a couple cans of black spray paint and no one will know the difference. A project for a lazy day once we settle into one of our longer term stays.
We stayed at Cedar Valley RV Park last time we were in Guthrie and liked it well enough for a return visit. It has nice level concrete parking pads however its right next to the highway and the truck traffic starts about 5:30AM so sleeping with the window open is a problem. I don't remember the noise being a problem last time but it was considerably cooler and we probably had the windows closed. Last time the campground was almost empty and this time we were lucky to get a spot. Many of the campers were either seasonal long term residents or work crews, many of which started their big trucks at about 5:30 to head off to work.
The only problem with our stay in Guthrie was that we were there late Saturday and left Tuesday morning. Most of the town and attractions are closed on Sunday and Monday so walking the streets and peering in windows was the extent of our exploration. Perhaps we will be back again on days when we can get inside some of these lovely buildings.
Off to Tucumcari on Wednesday.