Welcome back. Over the years much has been written about Woolaroc, both as a world class museum and a truly great wildlife preserve, but this week I’m taking you backstage at this terrific place for two reasons. First of all, every year for roughly the past twenty years I have received a nice letter from the last two Executive Directors there reminding me that my membership is due. During my travels around the country I enjoy talking about where I am from and when Woolaroc comes up I am always proud to say that I am a long-time member.
Although I don’t get the time to visit as often as I would like I consider my membership to be an affordable way to support the organization and enjoy some great benefits. For two people a partner level membership which is what I have costs 150 bucks and for this you get free unlimited admission for two and that’s year around. Folks, in the heat of the summer this museum is a perfect place to cool off in while getting a little culture and in the winter the buffalo are at their best enjoying what must be their favorite time of year. Want to take a friend when you visit? You will get two guest passes with your membership as well as invitations to special members only parties and discounts at the museum store. I can tell you that I’ve eaten more than $150 worth of food at the parties alone. Best of all you will be supporting this treasure that Frank Phillips left us, becoming a kind of business partner with this visionary man. If you’re not a member become one and tell your friends, you just can’t go wrong.
My second story about the museum is the real reason behind this column and it’s about a Woolaroc docent I knew who for years told stories to literally hundreds of travelers passing through from all over the world to experience the magic of Woolaroc. It’s a small story but one that should be much bigger about how after retirement he served on the board of directors for several area not-for-profits, spent hours volunteering not only at Woolaroc but for many other important causes as well. I only knew him for about ten years but he was one of the finest all-around gentlemen I have ever met. Yes, there have been many stories written about Woolaroc but the next time you visit ask one of the volunteers about Don Cone, I think you will find his story as inspiring as I do.
Next, the year was 1969 and in Osage County the newly elected District Attorney Bill Hall would be faced with the largest number of unsolved murder cases in the state. Over the next eight years every minute of every day from the mysterious deaths of Osage Indian women to the famous Mullendore murder which happened just days before he was sworn in, these cases consumed him. Then in 1976 the strangest mystery of Hall’s career happened right on the main street of Pawhuska. It’s a case that to this day is still stuck in his mind but I’m sorry to say that for now you’ll have to wait a bit longer to learn about this heartbreaking story.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….