"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Jetting" along, Blue Highways Journal--IV

Oklahoma's small towns, while dwindling, are proud of their histories. Almost all of them have murals painted on old brick walls or signs, helping tell the stories of who the people are and were. No matter for these towns that the art work is in various stages of artistic ability. They represent dedication, hard work and pride by local rural artists and townsfolk.
Jet, population 213, on US 60-64, is no exception. On the eastern outskirts of town are four colorful murals on signs telling the story of the town. They're part of the town's veterans' memorial, etched in granite, behind  an old US Air Force jet trainer on stilts. That probably comes from nearby Vance AFB at Enid, where later that day I saw jets still zooming through skies in training.
In town were two more examples of brick buildings with finely crafted arches over windows and doors, typical of Oklahoma Territorial architecture. It was refreshing to see the local bank, Jet State Bank,  renovate one of the buildings for its operations, rather than building some ugly and modern box to do business in.
Also outside the town is a sign heralding it as the "goose hunting capital of the world." Now it may or may not be, but if they claim it, it is so. (This comes from someone who used to live in Waurika, "the parakeet capital of the world.") The town's location just south of the Great Salt Plains State Park and a federal wildlife refuge probably explains this.
Jet was established with a post office June 28, 1894, named for a local miller and the first postmaster, W.M. Jett.
Jet's school district for years was consolidated with Nash, seven miles east in Grant County. Nash's post office was established Feb. 14, 1894 as Nashville, and the named changed to Nash March 23, 1911. It was named for the first postmaster, Clark L. Nash.
(Information on town histories and names comes from Oklahoma Place Names, by George Shirk)

1 comment:

  1. Never been to Jet but I talk with one of the guys at Jet State Bank on the phone every now and then. He has a couple gas wells and is a customer of mine.

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