"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 watercolor, metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Landmark of the sad state of Oklahoma

Landmarks: the State Capital building from inside the Blue Belle Saloon
If there is a symbol of Oklahoma's sorry condition, it may be the historic old State Capital printing building in Guthrie.
This is personal to me for two reasons. I have many fond memories of the place, having taken University of Central Oklahoma journalism and photography students there when it was The State Capital Publishing Museum. And I'm a newspaper man.
It's full of antique hot metal publishing equipment, presses and more, dating from pre-statehood. It had operating Linotypes, job presses and more, which delighted my students as a peek into the early days of journalism in this state. 
My students in editing and advanced editing classes on field trips helped with printing and more, getting  hands-on education. You can literally smell history inside.

Then several years ago, the boiler in the building quit and the state and Historical Society couldn't afford to replace it. It's been closed since.
I read  a valuable article by Laura Eastes in this week's Oklahoma Gazette, "Historic Guthrie building's future is uncertain," about a possible developer wanting it, and the city wanting it to be restored as a museum.
That brought to mind a recent visit to Guthrie, an easy Saturday trip on the back roads, and we ate at the
It's a sad sign for our state
equally historic and reopened Blue Belle Saloon,  just across the street from the impressive old building. That's when I took these photos, waiting for a prompt to write about them. 
To me, the dangling sign on the front of the locked and decaying building says everything about the sad state of Oklahoma.

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