Did you know...
Gene Autry's & Jimmie Wilson's obituaries were nearly a page in length, featured in the Sapulpa Herald?
Gene Autry: "True-blue singing cowboy Gene Autry dead at 91" (Sapulpa Herald, Oct 4, 1998)
Will Rogers once heard a young Gene Autry strumming a guitar and singing in an Oklahoma telegraph office.
'You're good,' he said. 'Stick to it, young fellow, and you'll make something of yourself.'
Autry did much more than that, serenading generations of children as the nation's original singing cowboy and becoming a gentle moralist for millions of fans of the American West as he built a fortune in business.
Autry died at his home Friday after a long illness, three days after turning 91.
Beloved for his signature song, 'Back in the Saddle Again,' Autry popularized the musical western in 91 movies from the 1930s to the early '50s by playing the same character: a true-blue cowboy who always fought fair and loved his, Champion.
'He often considered himself the baby sitter of three generations of children' while they watched his movies on Saturday afternoons, said Alex Gordon who met Autry 52 years ago and became his director of licensing.
'And these weren't just bang-bang, shot 'em up Westerns. He always wanted to put a moral in the story.'
Autry's 'Cowboy Code' contained eight rules to live by. The first: 'The cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man or take unfair advantage.'
In fact, Autry did punch first in an out-of-character confrontation at a nightspot in Wisconsin in 1946. He gave a fan an autograph but lost his temper when the man scolded him for not providing more. Autry's blow led the man to file charges - and taught the star a lesson.
'I said right then, no matter how much a guy tries to get under my skin, that's the last time I'll let it get to the point where I'll hit someone,' he recalled.
Instead, Autry built his successful broadcasting business and founded baseball's California Angels as an American League franchise in 1961. He sold 25 percent of the team, now renamed Walt Disney Co. in 1996.
He hung up his performing spurs in 1956, but continued to won four radio stations, a Palm Springs hotel, and several other properties. In 1982, he sold Los Angels television station KTLA for $245 million.
He ranked for many years on the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans, before falling in 1995 to the magazine's 'near miss' category with an estimated net worth of $320 million.
'He knew the singing cowboy had pretty much died out by 1954 and that's when he moved on to other things,' said James Nottage, vice-president and chief curator of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. 'He had incredible business savvy.'
Artifact of the Month:
Gene Autry, "Back in the Saddle Again" album, circa 1966.
Gene Autry bio on the back of the album:
"There was this eighteen-year-old boy in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, back in the mid-twenties working as a railroad telegrapher. A passenger got off the train one day and happened to hear the lad singing. The passenger allowed as how if the boy kept up the good work he'd be a success. The passenger was Will Rogers. The telegrapher was Gene Autry.
"Gene, figuring Will should know what he was talking about, set out for Hollywood with his horse. (He was no phony cowboy-he was born a real ranch near Tiago, Texas.) Now, there had been countless cowboy heroes in the movies-but Gene was the first singing cowboy to become a worldwide celebrity. For some thirty years his home was on the range (on location and in the studio), and he made millions from motion pictures, writing and publishing some two hundred songs, writing and publishing some two hundred songs, and by dealing in real estate as well. He now also owns the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, just to mention another project.
"But all this affluence should not obscure the fact that he is one of the est singers of cowboy songs ever. His basic wonderful way with a song, his warmth and sincerity-these are what made it all possible. In this album you will find some of the greatest songs he has ever sung."
What a busy month for your local museum!
Tourism: The furthest visitor outside of Sapulpa (for this month):
Then and Now images of Sapulpa:
The court house gazebo was the hangout place for its town's members to picnic, listen to talks, play music, and dance. Who has fond memories or stories to share about this place in town?
Did You Know...
President Wilson, speaking before a joint session of congress, announced the breaking off relations with Germany on February 3, 1917; he did not declare war at this time. However, just weeks later, both houses of Congress had passed resolutions declaring war on Germany - we were now officially in World War I, April 6, 1917.
These are a few of the headlines of Sapulpa Herald and Creek County Republic when President Woodrow Wilson and Congress announced the United States will join the Great War, World War I. (Sapulpa Herald & Creek County Republic April 6, 1917).
Artifact(s) of the Month:
Euchee Mission artifacts such as the 1917 pennant girls' basketball, 1916 superintendent's (W.E. Darner) school bell, and wooden board from the Euchee school building are just some of the Euchee or Yuchi artifacts we have on display, showcasing Sapulpa's diverse culture. *Bonus Artifact* Euchee Indian School Military Veterans 1894-1947 (in 2007, it was unveiled to the public by the Euchee Alumni and Creek Nation Casino Board of Directors)
Much credit for founding the school is due to Samuel Brown, Noah Gregory, Henry Land, and William Sapulpa, whose work influenced the Creek Council to make an appropriation for the school from Tribal Funds. Buildings were then erected and the school opened in the fall of 1894, enrolling about fifty students of all ages. In the beginning the school was co-educational and had only three buildings, including two dormitories and a three-room schoolhouse, all located on forty-acres of Tribal property.
The Council appointed Euchee and Methodist minister, Noah Gregory, as the school's first superintendent. Henry Land and William Sapulpa then followed as second & third superintendents, respectively.
The school was improved, enlarged, and maintained by appropriations from Creek funds until 1928 when it was taken over and supported entirely by federal appropriations under supervision of the U.S. Native American office.
In 1947, the school closed, when the land and buildings were sold to school district no. 33 for use by the public schools.
What a busy month for your local museum!
Tourism: The furthest visitor outside of Sapulpa (for this month):
Then and Now Images of Sapulpa...
In honor of one of Sapulpa's teachers, classmate, friend, hard worker, a great person to be around, we would like to dedicate this then-and-now image to David Main. Main was the Director of Central Tech for over 30 years. He retired as Director in 2009.
David Main was one of the founding members of the Sapulpa Historical Society; he was an active member, volunteering his time, and worked on the Board.
Thank you, David Main, for you dedication to our grateful city.
(Then) 2003, image of Central Oklahoma Area Vo-Tech School
(Now) image of Central Tech
Link to David Main's Obituary:
Did you know...
Halloween (or Hallowe'en) Parties were the event of the season! Early newspapers praised the receptions every year - even the earliest news articles (such as 1904) provided a whole column or section for 'Social events' - and Halloween was a very popular affair in Sapulpa.
1) Hallowe’en Party
The Royal Neighbors gave a Hallowe’en party which was also to take the place of a celebration for all of its members who have birthdays in October, at the home of Mrs. Chas Salmons on South Maple St.
The guests, about fifty in number were met at the door by ghosts who with their weird jesters would direct them to the next door and so on, until they had been to every door of the house and were back to the first one, where they were allowed to enter. They were next directed by other ghosts to go up stairs which was covered with pans, pillows, and hardly a place to put their feet without stumbling. After a successful effort they reached the top of the stairway there to be directed to the rooms where their wraps were removed. After descending the almost impossible stairway, they entered the different rooms where the parties who were not masked tried with mostly unsuccessful attempts to guess the masked person.
Many original games and contests were the entertainments of the evening, such as, some of the fortune which the fortune teller in her tent told to some of the ghosts and the artistic ability which some of the witchers and ghosts displayed in their attempts to draw black cats. Mrs. Wagner and Miss Heiston were among the successful contestants and were awarded tiny pumpkin pies, while those winning the consolation prizes were given pickles.
Another pastime of the evening was the following of strings through the different rooms decorated with witches, ghosts, black cats, autumn festoons and draperies of purple and white, the lodge colors. Some led the owners out of windows, under furniture and in nearly every crook and corner of the house to find their fortunes in form of tiny bags of cornmeal, salt and also empty ones.
Refreshments were served consisting of pumpkin pie, sandwiches, coffee and apples. The dining room tables were decorated with autumn leaves and berries with a large jack-o-lantern in the center.
Six members of the Kiefer camp were present at this delightful occasion. Mesdames Stafford, Walker Fleming, Estep, Lowe and Miss Edna Walker.
The Ladies Library Club held a Hallowe’en reception in the form of opening day at the home of the president Mrs. Chas Whitaker. About seventy-five were present including members of the club and guests.
The house was very beautifully decorated with fall berries, leaves, persimmons and things of nature’s October splendors.
Mrs. Whitaker was assisted in the duties of a hostess by Mesdames Sweeny, Burke, Dingman, Burrows, Hickman, and Misses Dingman and Whitaker.
Several very interesting talks were given. One by the state president of the State Federation of Women’s clubs, Mrs. D.A. McDougal on the work this body is doing. Mrs. J.F. Egan, Mrs. Brodie, and Mrs. Welch gave the past present and future of the library club.
During the afternoon the club had a picture of all the members present taken.
Refreshments were served by the hostess and her assistants and the many guests left very much regretting that this was the last time the club would receive the hospitality of their president on account of her early departure for a new home in California.
(Sapulpa Light, October 27, 1911)
2) Hallowe’en Party
Misses Maude Virden, Minnie Egan, and Hattie Tice planned and worked up a unique hallowe’en party Monday. The affair was held in Lucile opera house and about twenty young people enjoyed it. A ghost and a witch were present to help liven things. Cards and dancing were indulged in and cider, doughnuts, apples, and popcorn were passed around. The party was in truth a genuine hallowe’en affair and thoroughly enjoyed by all present. (Sapulpa Light, Nov 4, 1904)
3) Atotka Club Hallowe’en Party
Another jolly gathering was the party given by the Atotka Club, at the home of the Misses Pickett Monday night. The party was arranged as a leap year affair, and the ladies carried out their part of the program to the letter. They called for their gentlemen friends and escorted them in aristocratic style to the rendezvous. It’s rumored that one young lady carried a lantern-but no matter, she got her fellow there. A ghost program was carried out and the rooms certainly did take on a ghostly appearance.
About twenty white ‘things’ quietly sitting around moving occasionally and once in a while a ‘ghost song would be heard in some remote corner. Queer looking faces lighted by red and green lights would shine from various parts of the room.
About ten o’clock all piled into one wagon and rode for an hour over the city. At 11 o’clock delicious refreshments were served by the young ladies. A literary program was carried out, and in all, it was an exceedingly pleasant party. Several friends of the members were invited. (Sapulpa Light, Nov 4, 1904)
4) Hallowe’en Social
Mrs. Judge Jennings will entertain the Ladies Aid of the Presbyterian Church Tuesday evening. As the society only meets once a month Mrs. Jennings will make the October meeting a Hallowe’en party. The ghosts, pumpkins, apples, etc. will be on hand and a fine time will be had. (Sapulpa Light, September 29, 1905)
5) Had a Theatre Party: Atoka Club off on a Chase Hallowe’en
The Atoka Club, as their custom, got together Tuesday night for a Hallowe’en jaunt. Ever since the founding of the club, it has observed Hallowe’en in one way or another. Tuesday night a theater party was formed and twenty-four seats reserved in a group at Lucile opera house, where the Breckenridge Stock Company is performing this week.
Cabs and buggies conveyed the members to the law office of Mars & Mars early in the evening, and all went to the opera house in a body. After the show the members adjourned to Hotel Ripley where Mr. and Mrs. Ripley had prepared a splendid oyster banquet. During the supper short toasts were given by a few members, and at a late hour the various homes were sought all feeling that the ‘theatre party’ was probably the most successful and enjoyable Hallowe’en caper ever performed by the club. (Sapulpa Light, November 3, 1905)
Sapulpa Historical Society has new blog series to be posted every Friday.
The new blog series, "Then and Now," has 4 segments to teach Creek County history.
First Friday's segment: 'Sapulpa Showcase' shares an artifact-of-the-month in the museum.
Second Friday's segment: 'Historical Highlight' tells a little tidbit about the town's history.
Third Friday's segment: 'Society Sights' shows a then-and-now image of a local business.
Fourth Friday's segment: 'Museum Moments' features life in the museum world.
Catch Sapulpa’s new blog series “Then and Now” every Friday right here !