"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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Oklahoma ghost stories

One of my favorite places in Oklahoma is the former State Capital Publishing Museum in Guthrie. 
Owned by the State Historical Society  and closed because of lack of repair money for six years now, my interest was reawakened when it made the news recently when my friend Richard Mize reported on a local group trying to raise money and save it.
We drove up to Guthrie today on the back roads, savoring the lush and peaceful countryside, before driving around town. 
Four years ago, from inside the historic Blue Belle Bar
Long ago, I took groups of university students there when it was open, because you could go in and the staff would use old printing equipment to set type and actual print handbills, the way it was done when Guthrie was Oklahoma Territory's actual capital.
So many stories and ghosts there, for the state, and for me, an old newspaperman who started in hot metal printing and is still in love with it.
To me, the condition of the building speaks as  a depressing metaphor for the condition of our state, dreams gone bust and broke except for funding high paid coaches and athletes. 
I remember the excitement of touring the place, of soaking up Oklahoma and publishing history, and haunted by its closing and the loss to generations to come. I hope Guthrie can make this happen.
Here are links to Richard's story, and the story of the building.
Group forms to save Museum
Group announcement
Museum Closing
Documentary

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