Welcome to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
*OKIE* Land's Capitol City
The following description and the *OKC* logos were taken from Oklahoma City Visitor's Guide 1997 published by Specialty Publications, Inc. for the Oklahoma City Convention & Vistors Bureau
Expect a friendly wave or smile from the people of Oklahoma City. We are a cordial bunch. The heritage of our people makes Oklahoma City the spirited, interesting and progressive city it is today. In fact, Oklahoma City has been a land of the people since its beginning - when the city was born in a single day. At precisely noon on April 22, 1889, the central part of Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement in the Great Land Run. Ten thousand men and women from around the world gathered along the borders of the "Unassigned Lands." On foot, horseback, by wagon and even bicycle, these pioneers raced into the two million acres opened for settlement to stake their claim. They found their new home. They founded a city. Oklahoma City is the captail city of the "Sooner State," and is the 28th largest city in the United States. The people of "OKC" still carry the driving spirit of their pioneer founders, and have made Oklahoma City a great place to be in the 21st century. Many ingredients of the "Old West" still play a major role in the Oklahoma City landscape. Oklahoma City is considered the "Horse Capitol of the World" because we host more national and international equine events throughout the year than any other city in the country. You could say horses are our livelihood - from economic as well as recreational standpoints. Remington Park, a $97 million pari-mutuel horse racing facility, with thoroughbred racing in the spring and fall, and quarter horse racing in the summer, is always a popular attraction for visitors and residents. Stockyards City contains the largest and oldest live cattle auction in the world. The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center boasts the John Wayne collection, Rodeo Hall of Fame and a priceless collection of art and artifacts including five of the world's largest western paintings. Frontier City Theme Park is a 50-acre "old west-styled" theme park with thrills and entertainment for all ages. Images of cowboys strumming guitars and singing around the campfire portray only a portion of the cultural history of Oklahoma City. In the book "Singing Cowboys and All That Jazz" ,an appreciation of the cutting-edge musical diversity in Oklahoma City culture comes to life. The author explains: "Much of American jazz developed in Oklahoma, where, in the late 1920s, the Oklahoma City Blue Devils were considered the best jazz band in the world. The blues as a published musical form bad its origins in Oklahoma City." In the heart of Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce, much of American Jazz had its beginning. A two-day jazz festival held in the city each July commemorates one shining jazz star who grew up in Oklahoma City. In his short 26 years, jazz guitarist Charles Christian earned national acclaim from critics who said the "Christian kid from Oklahoma was the best there ever was." Oklahoma City's cultural momentum continues through the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Canterbury Choral Society, Ballet Oklahoma, Blac. Inc. (the Black Liberated Arts Center), plus a number of art museums and community theaters. Additionally, more than 2,000 of the finest Native American artists, dancers and singers from over 100 tribes across the United States and Canada can be seen each June at the Red Earth Festival. This festival is the largest Native American cultural and arts exposition in the world. Along with this event, reflections of the Native American influence can be seen in the arts, spirit and the leadership of Oklahoma City.
The ingenuity and innovation of Oklahoma City residents is apparent in the birth of aviation and oil industry, and lives on in the shopping cart and parking meter, both invented by Oklahomans. Long-time Oklahoma City resident Sylvan Goldman invented the shopping cart in 1955 after standing in his Humpty Dumpty store, watching the women struggle with their groceries, purses and children. Today, a bronze statue in the Omniplex Museum honors the inventor of the shopping cart and founder of one of Oklahoma City's strongest manufacturing businesses. In 1935, former newspapermen Carl Magee was appointed to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce traffic committee. He was given the task of solving the parking problem downtown. He inverted the first parking meter, providing a solution for Oklahoma City and the entire nation. In the early 1900s, aviation was a growing industry which also had a positive impact on the city's economy. Wiley Post, Will Rogers and Tom Allen, the first black aviator to successfully complete a transcontinental flight across the United States, are Oklahoma City's nationally recognized leaders in aviation. In keeping with this history, Oklahoma City touts five airports. Will Rogers World Airport is the third largest in the country with abundant room for expansion. Wiley Post airport is specifically designed to accommodate general aviation and private aircraft. Tinker Air Force Base, which employs more than 26,000 people, and the Federal Aviation Administration's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center that trains the nation's air traffic controllers, are important components of the dynamic aerospace industry in the city. Along with industry from the sky, Oklahoma City found industry in the earth. On Dec. 4, 1928, oil was hit in Oklahoma City, establishing the petroleum industry as a major part of the city's economic base. Some say Oklahoma City looked like a forest of oil derricks. There were even a large number of wells dug directly on the grounds of the state Capitol building. Some of the derricks can still be seen at the Capitol. Today, as oil continues to be a major player in the city's economy, many of the nation's energy-related companies have headquarters and branch offices in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City has a diversified economy, with more than 900 manufacturers, some 6,000 retailers, numerous distributors, corporate headquarters, high tech companies and more located within the metropolitan area. The city is home to companies that manufacture everything from computer systems and telephone switching systems to automobiles and dialysis machines. High-tech companies have found Oklahoma City's central location, good climate and low cost of living appealing for the location of their businesses. This quality of life in Oklahoma City is important and on the grow. The largest development in Oklahoma City's history is the Metropolitan Area Projects Plan or MAPS. In December 1993, city voters approved a five-year, one-cent sales tax to fund this sports, education, convention and recreation improvement plan. Over the next five years, the city will spend more than $285 million to build and renovate the downtown area. MAPS projects include the construction of a 20,000-seat arena, 15,000-seat baseball stadium, a downtown library/learning center, downtown river walk and a transportation link between key metro areas. Major renovations are planned for the Myriad Convention Center, Civic Center Music Hall and the Oklahoma State Fair Park. The site of the Alfred P. Murrah Building stands as a reminder of the April 19, 1995, bombing. A bond of hope has gleamed through this tragedy, with an even stronger commitment from the citizens to rebuild the downtown area. The northwest 23rd Street district is also undergoing revitalization, with a strong helping hand from Oklahoma City's Asian community. With 90 percent of this population being Vietnamese, the community began growing after April 30, 1975, and the fall of Saigon. Many of the Vietnamese came to Oklahoma City as refugees from Fort Chaffe in Arkansas. The second wave came to the city as "boat people" or through immigration services to be united with family. Neighborhoods, supermarkets, churches and restaurants are booming in this district that has embraced the culture and heritage of the Vietnamese community. The business of rebuilding a city extends to Bricktown, just one block east of downtown. Right after the land run, this area began as a military outpost from Fort Reno to keep the peace in the rough and rowdy Oklahoma City until the provisional government was able to establish law and order. Later, because of its prime location at the junction of the Santa Fe tracks and the Rock Island and Katy railroads, it grew as a warehouse area. Today, Bricktown is Oklahoma City's newest dinning and entertainment district, with a dozen terrific restaurants and clubs, as well as shopping and galleries. Bricktown is also a key ingredient in the MAPS projects that will give Oklahoma City a new ballpark and canal, providing visitors still more ways to enjoy an unforgettable trip to Oklahoma City
Route 66, earning the name "The Mother Road," covers 2,400 miles through 8 states and 3 time zones. Began in 1926, this highway was rendered obsolete in the mid-1980s by the construction of today's interstate system. Oklahoma offers some 400 historic and scenic driveable miles of Rt. 66, more than any other state. Within Oklahoma City, the old route jogs down Lincoln Boulevard, past the state Capitol, then west along NW 23rd and 39th Street. A 1950s-style McDonald's is located at NW 23rd Street and Pennsylvania. There are also a number of stores, hotels and restaurants along the 39th Expressway with Rt. 66 themes. Oklahoma City is also unique in the transportation world because it is geographically in the heart of American's transportation network. Oklahoma City's central location has much to offer. It is ideal for distribution-sensititve firms and companies interested in or currently conducting trade in Mexico. Interstate highways I-40, I-35 and I-44 connect to the city to the north/south and east/west locations. Numerous state highways and a new turnpike system provide easy access to any location in the metropolitan area. METRO transit, the local public transportation system, is available Monday through Saturday and provides business services to most Oklahoma City destinations. Taxis are also available for transportation to all parts of the city. Will Rogers World Airport offers transportation to all parts of the world. Nine commercial carriers provide over 160 flights daily into and out of the city. From the initial land run to high-tech modes of transportation, Oklahoma City is poised to help visitors conveniently get around town.
Oklahoma City is one of America's sunniest cities, with 3,000 average hours of sunshine annually. The average temperature is 61 degrees. The average rainfall per year is 32.03 inches and average snowfall is 9 inches annually. At 1,291 feet above sea level, Oklahoma City has an ideal relative humidity. No matter what the weather, the wind is most always a force in Oklahoma City's weather scene.