On the road… Tulsa Boat & Travel Show, The Woody Guthrie Museum and The Marland Home in Ponca City, OK


This is from last week’s weekly before I began posting about the trial….

Welcome back. I am currently in Stephensville, Texas where 27 year old ex-Marine Eddie Ray Routh is being tried for the murders of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield.  However, I’ll start this week with a couple of more pleasant stories.

If the Tulsa Boat & Travel show is any indicator of the health of the American economy then things are in good shape. I attended the show on several different days and from what I heard from the vendors sales of boats, campers, hot tubs and vacation packages were all up from last year. On Friday night and Saturday big crowds packed the parking lots and filled area restaurants as good weather and the expectation of summer gave promoters plenty of opportunity to show off their wares.

Another exciting find in Tulsa was the Woody Guthrie Museum where a traveling exhibition of Beatles memorabilia has just opened. John, Paul, George and Ringo come alive through recordings and never before seen photos of the band when they “invaded” America. The exhibit tells the story of their lives and the rise of their popularity. It’s only on display through the end of June so if you’re a Beatles fan be sure you don’t miss it.

The permanent exhibition features Woody Guthrie’s art and music along with photos documenting his life and it’s a must see as well. The Grady district in Tulsa had been in decline but today there are several museums and great restaurants in the area and it’s definitely a place I recommend visiting.

Traveling down the road on Friday night to speak about my new book in Ponca City, I found another place that is well worth a visit.  E.W. Marland had already made and lost a fortune when he came to Oklahoma. Marland was a lawyer from Pennsylvania and he and his wife Virginia moved to the state in 1908 looking for oil. In 1911 they hit it big and their story is told in detail at the Marland Mansion in Ponca City. The house was completed in 1916 and had many innovative features including a central vacuuming system, an automatic dish dishwasher, central air conditioning and Oklahoma’s first indoor swimming pool. Most people had never heard of such luxuries and with a construction cost of $350,000 all these were out of their range anyway. The 16,500 s.f. Italian renaissance revival style house has a red clay tile roof and many ornate interior details such as wood paneling, a Waterford crystal chandelier and a marble fireplace.

The house has been completely restored and today E.W. Marland’s personal items are on display there along with many period objects. But that’s not all, in the basement are several rooms of memorabilia from the 101 Ranch as well  dedicated to the history of the ranch, the 101 Wild West show and the lives of the Miller brothers who founded the ranch. This exhibit along is worth the trip.

The history of Ponca history also includes the influence of Phillips 66 and Continental Oil as well as that of the Kaw, Osage, Tonkawa, Pawnee and Ponca Indian tribes who all lived in the area. Yes, I could go on and on about this town but you’ve got to see it for yourself. If you’re looking for a day trip, this is your spot.

Next week, it’s Stephensville, Texas and the inspiration for what most are saying will be an Oscar winning movie, American Sniper. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…. But remember you can find daily updates on my travels on my website www.originalbuffalodale.com.