Kickoff for Footprints in the Dew

Welcome back. Following last week story which touched on events in the 1960s, I have decided to move on to the 1970s when the peace and love era began to fade. In San Francisco the Haight Ashbury district had seen its heyday. The flower children of the hippie movement were still there but change was coming. The Kent State shootings in 1970 represented the end of innocence for a generation that had believed that change could be brought about with non-violent protest during a peaceful march on the Kent State University campus the Ohio National Guard opened fire on an unarmed crowd, killing four students and wounding nine others. This tragic event triggered a student strike of four million students which closed colleges and high schools across the country and underscored a deep political divide over the role of the military and the war in Vietnam.

1972 brought the Watergate scandal which would bring down a President and many of his associates. In sports Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in swimming at the Summer Olympics in Munich. At the same Olympics terrorists attacked the Olympic Village, eventually killing eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team.

In 1973 the grandson of oil magnate J. Paul Getty was kidnapped and Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from office. In 1974 newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped and serial killer Ted Bundy began his killing spree. Then in 1977 millions mourned when Elvis Presley died.

Although the 1970s also brought us innovations such as the floppy disk, the VCR and the Walkman the era was also marked by tragedy and pessimism.

Oklahoma had its own ups and downs in the 70s as well. In 1971 the Oklahoma portion of the Arkansas River Navigation System opened, giving the cities of Muskogee and Tulsa (at its port Catoosa) direct access to the sea. During the 1960s and 1970s, Oklahoma’s economy shifted from agricultural to industrial.  Two large electronics plants and an aeronautics center were established in Oklahoma City.  Tulsa was the site of a new space equipment factory.  Large industries expanded to include automobiles and computers.  Several dams were constructed to provide water storage and hydroelectric power and the lakes they created encouraged tourism.  Thousands of people moved into Oklahoma during this time.

There was a ten-fold increase in the price of Oklahoma crude oil between 1972 and 1981 as the OPEC cartel drove up world oil prices. Employment in the oil patch grew from around 34,000 in the early 1970s to a peak of 102,000 in 1981.

Oklahoma also had a big impact in the music world as musicians such as J.J. Cale, Leon Russell and Jimmy Webb became famous and the state became known for “red dirt” music, a combination of blues, country and rock & roll.

Another major event of 1970 that made headlines around the country was the death of rancher and businessman E.C. Mullendore III which eventually became the most famous unsolved murder in the southwest. This Oklahoma tragedy has kept people talking for forty-five years as no-one has ever been charged and theories about the crime abound. The case has been the subject of books and documentaries while numerous law enforcement officials and private investigators have attempted to solve it. This is the backdrop for Footprints in the Dew, Chub Anderson and the Unsolved Mullendore Murder.

Last Thursday night I was joined by many friends and readers for a gathering to celebrate the planned release  of Footprints in the Dew on September 26, 2015.

If you weren’t able to make it and would like to purchase a first edition all the ordering information is available on this website.

Many thanks to everyone who attended.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..

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Footprints in the Dew Book Launch

I am pleased to announce that there will be a gathering at the Price Tower Arts Center on Thursday June 25th from 5:30-7:30 to announce the publication of Footprints in the Dew and book ordering information will be available at that time. Many of the people featured in this story will be on hand to visit with guests. The event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you all there, Dale

P.S. The Copper Bar will be open for drinks and appetizers

 

 

The Price Tower Arts Center

A little time travel back to the ’60s…………………………………….

Welcome back. History is defined as the study of the past, particularly how it relates to humans. It is a term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events.

With that said, the year was 1960 when Adolph Coors III, Chairman of the Board of Coors Brewing Company, was kidnapped. After being held for a $500,000 ransom, Coors was eventually found murdered. In sports that year the Dallas Cowboys played their first season in the NFL and Wilt Chamberlain, who was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, got 55 rebounds in an NBA game against the Boston Celtics. A young Cassius Clay (now known as Muhammed Ali) won a gold medal at the Olympic Games. 1960 was also the year that that 3500 American soldiers were sent to a place called Vietnam and John F. Kennedy was nominated for President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

History was being made in Bartlesville as well. Phillips Petroleum was led by a man named Kenneth S. Adams, also known as “Boots”. He had started his career with the company as a young man working for $125 a month clerking in a warehouse. After twelve years he was personally selected by Frank Phillips to be his assistant and when Phillips retired Adams became the Chief Executive Officer. In 1960 he had been running the company for eleven years and it was growing by leaps and bounds. Adams was making plenty of money and he gave plenty of it away to local organizations.

Another successful businessman making headlines in the community was H.C. Price. Price had come to Bartlesville in 1915 to work as a chemist for the Zinc Company. In 1921, with a $2,500 loan, he started an electric welding company which grew into one of the largest pipeline construction and maintenance companies in the country. In 1952 Price signed the building contract for what would become the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Designed by world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the multi-story office building was completed in 1956 and in 1960 it was fully occupied by a wide array of professionals. Doctors, lawyers, dentists and insurance brokers were among the many tenants spread out across nineteen floors which also included spacious apartments for the Price family.

Barbara’s Beauty Shop was located in a two story wing and catered to affluent executives and their wives. As a young boy I knew Barbara Curtis who was married to big time rodeo stock contractor Eddie Curtis. She had started her business on one of the upper floors of the building with just a handful of hairdressers working for her. The business grew quickly and she expanded, adding a women’s fancy dress shop to the beauty shop. In the 1960s both men and women came there to get their hair cut which was unusual at the time and the men could shop for their wives at the same time.

With some many diverse tenants, the Price Tower was a mall in the sky. It was also a place where big deals were put together and where major newsworthy announcements were made.Within the next few weeks another important announcement will be made in this setting and I’ll be inviting you all to be a part of it. More details will be coming as things develop.

Today, not unlike in 1960, the Price Tower is a busy place with a variety of tenants. The Price Tower Arts Center offers exhibits and educational programs and there is also a full service hotel (the Inn at Price Tower) and a rooftop bar and restaurant (Copper where live music frequently fills the sky. As Frank Lloyd Wright’s only constructed skyscraper, the Price Tower is a National Historic Landmark and has also been nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is a magical place where I hope to see you soon. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….

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The LBJ Ranch, Back to Luckenbach and Other Highlights from the Texas Hill Country

I’m planning a big party and you’re all invited-more details coming soon…..

Welcome back.  Traveling west for an hour or so out of San Antonio, Texas you come to what Texicans call the Hill Country. While I was in the area last week I discovered another part of America that is well worth the trip. Here’s a taste of what I saw:

The area was created in the early days of the earth’s existence and according to the artifacts that have been discovered Native Americans were the first people to roam the area. Spanish conquistadors were also in the area and their names and traditions live on today. German immigrants had a big impact as well when they settled in these mountains in the early 1800s. There’s plenty of history in the two thousand foot high Hill Country and after two days of camping at remote Lost Maples State Park I think a return visit to this part of the country is a must.

Traveling north for another hour to the outer edge of Hill Country you come to Fredericksburg, TX which is the home town of five star General Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The history of the Nimitz family is displayed in a museum housed in what was formerly the Nimitz Hotel back when the Admiral’s grandfather settled here. Chester Nimitz eventually became one of only a handful of five star generals in the country and his museum is now part of a large complex which includes the National Museum of the Pacific War. Your two day admission ticket gets you into both places and takes you back to a time when the world was at war and the faith of our nation rested on our GIs. Planes, boats, all kinds of guns and a German submarine are on display here along with exhibitions describing the various battles, the weapons that were used and the numbers of men who died. Outside on the grounds, a memorial wall and garden is situated between the two museums and features plaques of all sizes dedicated to the soldiers who were killed as well as the ships they sailed on. Three very moving exhibitions all in one spot and I guarantee you will enjoy every minute of that two day ticket.

Just fifteen miles outside of town is a place that was called the “Texas White House” back in the 1960s. Born, raised and educated on this same piece of property, President Lyndon Baines Johnson is also now buried there in a small family cemetery. After Lady Bird Johnson’s death, the family donated what had become a large working ranch to the National Park Service. The drive through the ranch where they are still working cattle descended from Johnson’s original herd, takes you past the house where Johnson was born, the one room schoolhouse where he learned to read and even the cemetery. A tour of the Johnson family home which still has the original furnishings gives you a keen sense of history as Johnson frequently met with Cabinet members and foreign leaders here. The ranch lies along the scenic Pedernales River and you won’t want to miss it. This historic site is just one more reason to visit Fredericksburg.

I’ll end this week not far from where I started where they announce “Everybody is somebody here.”

It was 1970 when the town founders advertised the town for sale in several newspaper around the country. A colorful character named Hondo Crouch bought the place lock, stock and barrel and appointed himself Mayor and Crown Prince. A good natured man with a wild imagination, Crouch established a make believe town picking his friends to be ambassadors to foreign countries and creating several festivals in honor of his new town. Music was constantly in the air as musicians from all over came to play under the 500 year old live oaks and to have some fun with Honda who always had dominos and plenty of cold beer on hand.

In 1973 Texas musician Jerry Jeff Walker recorded an album here “Viva Terlingua” which went gold and soon this fairytale town became a must visit place for musicians. When Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson showed up for the annual Fourth of July picnic the town became known around the world. “Luckenbach, Texas, Back to Basics” became a massive hit for Waylon and Willie and the little town would never be the same. Today with a full time population of three, the old original country store and bar is still going strong as hundreds of tourists stop by every day to see where it all started and listen to live music under those same old trees. They can drink a beer and eat a hamburger at the Feed Trough seven days a week in the town where everybody is somebody.

Till next week, I’ll see ya town the road………..

P.S. As most of you know the OK Mozart Festival is in full swing so don’t miss the opportunity to hear some world class live music right here at home. Hope to see you there.

 

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On the Road to San Antonio…..

Welcome back. This week business has taken me to the most southern metropolitan city in Texas and beyond. Home to numerous units of the armed forces, there’s a real operating fort, one of America’s largest air force bases and several large outposts they call camps. The Payaya Indians who originally settled this remote area called the place “Yanaquana” which translates as “Refreshing Waters.”

In 1691 Spanish explorers came through the area and started a settlement. 1709 brought missionaries and in 1718 the first of several mission buildings was completed utilizing the indigenous Payaya labor for the construction as well as for the construction of several bridges.

One mission in particular would become quite famous, de San Antonio de Valero or as most people know it, the Alamo. On February 23, 1836 Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos Santa Ana surrounded the mission killing all the people inside who were fighting for Texas to become an independent state. “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for independence and the rest is history. 1845 brought this community and the rest of Texas under the umbrella of the U.S. government leading to a brief war with Mexico followed by the Civil War.

Yanaquana was growing as the cattle industry led to development and, arts and culture came to town. A New York City writer published a book about the area in 1859 and in 1877 the railroad came in making the community accessible to visitors. It was a city on the move as street cars, new buildings and roadways and cultural centers were established. Nowadays the city has well over a million residents and ranks as the 38th largest in the United States.

In addition to the Alamo and several other historic missions, Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Theme Park also call this city home. According to the Convention and Visitors Bureau twenty-five million come to town every year, many of them to watch the five time NBA champion team play and to see one of the world’s largest stock shows and rodeos. As you can imagine the hotel business is booming.

Here’s a little info I founding interesting for visitors:

Admission to the Alamo is free and it is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Located on 4.2 acres it’s easy to get to and has plenty of on-site parking. The Alamo is considered to be consecrated ground so no hats can be worn inside and photography is not allowed. No cell phones, pets or unruly behavior will be tolerated. There are a few more rules of reverence that should be common knowledge in what local residents consider to be a true shrine.

The deaths of James Bowie, Davy Crockett and mission commander William B. Travis on the morning of March 6, 1836 are a moment in American history that will never be forgotten and is alive and well in the center of this unique city.

Not far from the downtown district Yanaquana also has a zoo, a real Japanese tea garden, a theater and several beautiful parks. The old Fairmont Hotel which was built in 1906 is very cool and then there’s the famous River Walk which meanders through town and is lined with restaurants, bars and shops. The Payayna Indians had it right when they called this place Refreshing Waters but of course today we call it San Antonio. If you’ve never been put this place on your to do list. Still in southwest Texas, till next week I’ll see ya down the road….

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Boone Pickens Birthday Party and Other Stories from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference

I didn’t get a chance to post this story before I left town but this was a very interesting event………

Welcome back.  On the roof of the building snipers in full combat gear stand with rifles in hand. The botanical gardens block their view of one side of the building but dozens of men in suits and ties with that distinctive little wire poking out from under their shirt collars and running into their ears, also patrol the area. A closer look reveals a man on the street who appears homeless but also has a wire going into his ear. Uniformed officers are posted at every entrance to the building and when I saw the additional cops, dogs and surveillance cameras inside I knew there wouldn’t be trouble at this event.

This my friends was the setting for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City last week. Although I am not into politics I found the conference quite enlightening and after reading this I hope you will too.

The conference was held in the Cox Convention Center which is part of the Myriad Botanical Gardens complex and is close to Bricktown, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and several major hotels. Its primary use is that of large scale convention and meeting facility. The center hosts major concerts, conferences, and other large scale events and includes multiple meeting rooms, conference and convention space, dining halls, and a 15,000 seat multi-purpose arena.

Immediately across the street is the Chesapeake Energy Arena where the Oklahoma City Thunder play basketball and the Oklahoma City Memorial is also nearby. This part of Oklahoma City is a great place for a visit and if you haven’t already, I recommend you check it out.

I had the opportunity to visit with several of the speakers including former Texas Governor Rick Perry who told me, among many other things, that he was an Eagle Scout and has written a book about scouting called “On My Honor: Why The American Values of the boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.”

I learned from Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum that he had authored several books and I found his comments about the writing and publishing process very interesting as I am working to put a book out myself. Governor Jeb Bush was very accessible and in addition to his policy statements, he highlighted his love for his father and his brother.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey projects a very straightforward, tell it like it is approach but I discovered he is also a big softie when it comes to his feelings for his family.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin was on hand of course and she graciously filled in for the Presidential candidates who were delayed in Washington, telling the crowd of over two thousand about all that Oklahoma has to offer.

The conference wasn’t just about politics. Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb interviewed Larry Nichol, CEO of Devon Energy about selling oil overseas and Harold Hamm of Continental Resources gave a talk on energy as well.

More governors, senators and house republicans took the podium during the three day conference as the Republican Party revs up for a very interesting Presidential election.

On Friday I had some real fun when I was invited to T. Boone Pickens eighty-seventh birthday party. A legend in the oil and gas business, T. Boone started his career working for Phillips Petroleum Company before starting his own company, Mesa Petroleum, in 1956. Mesa is now one of the largest independent energy companies in the country and T. Boone has not only made millions of dollars but he has also given millions away to many worthy causes.

If you haven’t heard, T. Boone has joined Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and many other wealthy individuals who have signed a “giving pledge”, committing to giving a sizeable portion of their wealth to charity. T. Boone has been inducted into both the Texas and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and as you might imagine his birthday party was one of the highlights of this three day event for me.

I’ll send this week with a quote from Waite Phillips which seems appropriate:

“To become competent in governing others, we must first learn to govern ourselves.”

Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road……

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