As I reviewed the 2013 editions of the Journal-Capital, I discovered a myriad of community-related activities that reflect the pioneer spirit of our forefathers. Our niche of Oklahoma continues to be filled with folks that have true grit and determination, especially when faced with adversity.
FIRE AND PAWHUSKA:
The mid-December fire that gutted the Bronze Horse Foundry was the first of three to plague Pawhuska. Shortly after that devastating event, John Free, Jr. moved his family-owned business to the Pawhuska Armory. Seven months later, the Bronze Horse shipped its first piece from the new location – a replica of renowned sculptor Kelly Haney’s, The Guardian.
During the early morning hours of January 9th, fire once again reared its ugly head when it struck the Osage County Historical Society Museum. Quick action by Pawhuska police and fire crews resulted in minimal damage to the 1920s historical train depot. Nine months later, structural repairs have been completed and all traces of the fire removed. Experts from across the country responded with recommendations on preserving photos and textiles. The rebirth of the Historical Museums is like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes. Only now, this grand lady has a new, open-concept with numerous upgrades, such as new wiring, museum-quality lighting, three climate-controlled HVAC units and a much-needed 1,920 sq. ft. annex.
Because re-entry of irreplaceable artifacts is a time-consuming and tedious process, the Historical Museum is not ready for public viewing. However, the Museum Gift Shop opened just in time for the holidays and will remain open. The Gift Shop continues to carry popular Pendleton products, Osage County and Pawhuska souvenirs, hand-made jewelry, and an impressive collection of new and rare books.
At approximately 6 p.m. on July 11, smoke blackened the skies of Pawhuska when fire broke out at the historic Benson Warehouse. The property, owned by Hank and Patty Benson, was built by Nash Finch Company in 1926 as a food distribution warehouse. Hank’s grandfather, Harry Garfield Benson, purchased the building in February 1939 and renamed it the Osage Building Material Warehouse. It sat vacant for several decades until 2005 when the Benson’s began extensive renovation efforts. Hank also devoted countless hours researching the building’s history and was attempting to have it listed with the State Historical Society.
Two days later, on July 13, members of the Osage Nation firefighters deployed to Colorado and Arizona to assist with the Black Forest Fire. One of Colorado’s most devastating fires, it is estimated roughly 467 homes and 15,500 acres were destroyed. The Pawhuska group was assigned to the West Division and spent four days securing homes and making sure they were safe from re-ignition or re-burn. Once their mission was completed, they were called into action again when the Doce fire broke out in Arizona’s Prescott National Forest. They joined members of the Creek, Seminole and Miami tribes to fight this massive fire. The Pawhuska crew also worked closely with members of the Granite Basin and Flagstaff Hotshot crews.
In spite of a rather chilly start, volunteers bundled up to kick off the City’s first clean-up day on March 2nd. Spearheaded by the GFWC Heeko Club, “Citizens for Pride in Pawhuska” came armed with blowers, weed eaters, pick-up sticks and a determination to make Main Street shine. Clean-up efforts quickly branched out to include several offshoots, such as “Adopt a Spot” project and the newly formed “Big Orange Dandy Dumpster” project. An anonymous group of citizens called “Patrons of Pawhuska” also worked with the City and the CPP group to remove condemned properties at no cost to the owners. Efforts for 2013 culminated with the removal of accumulated sand, grass and silt from the north and south curbs of Highway 60 from the stop light at Lynn Avenue to Highway 99.
NEW BUSINESSES & RESCUED BUILDINGS:
The revitalization of downtown Pawhuska continued in 21013 with an impressive lineup of new businesses. These included Premier Gun and Pawn, Big Country Pawn, Osage Outfitters western store, Comin’ Home antiques, On Hand Printing, Sweeney’s Hair Salon, TAT Oil Field Services, Chad Renfro Design, Arrowhead Pipeline Services, Jon Red Corn and Scott Moore Architects, The Twisted Bronc antique store, Ashley’s Day Care, The Flower Shoppe, and Grill 123.
The Flower Shoppe returned to Pawhuska when veteran florist Caitlin Moore purchased the Rustic Rose Floral from Brett Christiansen.
When Steve and Debbie Easley closed their auction house on Kihekah, Cody and Lauren Garnett stepped in and opened Big Country Pawn & Supply. In less than a year, the Garnett’s moved their expanding business to the massive building formerly occupied by Pulse Ambulance Service. John and Debbie Long gave downtown Pawhuska a free face lift when they fulfilled their dream of transforming the old J.C. Penney’s store into a high-end gun and pawn shop.
Seeing a need for printing needs, Mark and Linda Simms opened OnHand Printing in August. Initially located at 109 East Ninth, the business recently moved to its new location on Kihekah.
North of OnHand is The Twisted Bronc antique store, formerly Promise Land Antiques. The store features assorted leather goods along with owner Julie Wilson’s handcrafted furnishings and leatherwork.
Ashley Allison, a young woman with a big heart and a deep love for Pawhuska’s children opened her day care center in August. Allison fell in love with Pawhuska during the summer of 2011 when she worked with the Youth Works program.
The former 1910 Osage Mercantile Building and C.R. Anthony Department Store have brought widespread attention to Pawhuska, particularly since they belong to Ladd and the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. The north building will house an upscale deli with ranch offices upstairs. Speculation continues as to exactly what the other areas will house.
Pawhuska natives Ray Anne Walker Cocanower and Carrie Ann Conley Watters launched their collectible antique business, Comin’ Home, the summer of 2013 in the historical Benson Warehouse. Just days after they were featured in a JC article, fire totally destroyed the warehouse and all of its contents. Not to be deterred, these courageous women set about to find a new location for their business and to replenish their inventory. Comin’ Home opened the first of December on East Main Street. Their store has a connecting door to Scott Roughton’s Grill 125.
Scott Roughton fulfilled his dream of creating a family-friendly facility and saved two downtown buildings in the process. One of the buildings was known as the Western Lounge in the 1960s. Roughton was able to rescue the original wooden bar from the old lounge.
Other Main Street buildings experiencing a facelift included Sister’s Attic and the transformation of the 2001 Video Store into Tallgrass Prairie Flowers & More.
JULY 10: ARTS: The Osage Ballet performed at the Smithsonian’s National Musuem of the American Indian with “Wahzhzhe.” The ballet portrays the history of the Osage people. Upon the troops return to Oklahoma, three performances were held in Tulsa and Bartlesville.
May 1: Osage Tribal Museum & Wahzhazhe ballet.
PBDC launches Food for Thought “Lunch ‘n Learn” series.
ARTS IN THE OSAGE:
PRESERVING PAWHUSKA: In February, Pawhuska’s Masonic Wah-Shah-She Lodge No. 110 began extensive renovations to save their 1906 building. Their primary focus was to repair broken support beams and a leaking roof which required bringing in a big crane to install two massive steel support beams. Hardwood floors were sanded, stained and sealed. Ceiling tiles bearing an embossed Masonic crest were repurposed behind the north and south altars. All updates complimented the lodge’s beautiful oak furnishings which are the envy of lodges throughout the United States.
May 15: New sports complex on its way.
May 8: Osage Nation Tribal Musuem celebrated diamond jubilee with reenactment of parade et.
Constantine brings abundance of entertainment to community: Gearing up for the theater’s 100th birthday, the theater got a new face life. The historic theater is reputed to have a resident spirit that haunts the balcony. Visitors say the ghose is a young woman clothed in a button-down dress, possibly the daughter of George Constantine.
JUNE 12: Toe-tapping, hand-claping song and music fo the 1950s was the venue in June when the Constnatine Theater brought Hankerin’ 4 Hank to Pawhuska. This amazing tribute traced the life of Hank Williams, beginning when was eight years old and hsining shoes to earn five to ten cents to pay Rufus Payne for guitar lessons. Payne was a black street performer who had a major influence on Williams’ later musical style.
Much like the Hollywood Oscars, guests for the historic Constantine Center for the 4th annujal Sassy Awards were greeted by a red carpet. Glitz and glitter prevailied throughout the evening as performers and behind-the-scene contributors were recognized for their outstanding efforts in bringing a continual flow of entertainment to the community. Variety shows showcase local talent.
Princess and the Pea, classic family movies,
FEB 6: Army of Frankensteins invade Pawhuska.
Hollywood comes to Pawhuska with the filming of ‘August: Osage County’ which hit the big screen on Christmas Day. In late November, Frenchman Dominique Pitoiset visited Pawhuska as part of his research in translating the play for French audiences.
Pawhuska was once again in the spotlight when film crews begin shooting footage for “Playground of the Native Son” about the Hominy Indians, barn-storming football team of the 1920s. In December of 1927, the semi-profewssional Indians recorded a stunning upset victory over professional football’s reigning champions, the New York Giants. That historic 13-6 contest was played at Pawhuska.
Okalhoma author Mary McIntyre Coley debutes her suspense novel, ‘Cobwebs.’ Set in modern-day Pawhuska with ties to the infamous Reign of Terror. Many well-known historic sites have been drawn in to the story, including the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the Osage Tribal Museum, Osagte County Historical Society Museum, Williams Park, Pawhusk Library and Pawhuska Cemetery.
Pawhuska native, Jeana Kelley-Farrar, appears in new feature film “Pruning the Family Tree.” A collaboration fo Bartlesville filmmakers produced the movie which is adapted from Barftian playwright Dan Gordon’s award-winning play, also titled “Pruning the Fmailiy Tree,” a family drama sprinkled with dark comedy.
Osage Nation opens Annette Gore Genealogy Library to public.
Senior Citizens Center had lasting influence on Pawhuska. (11/6)
One of the last projects from a 2010 school bond issue was the completion of Pawhuska Public Schools Administration new building, located in the 1800 block of McKenzie Street.
Special public workshop was held on Sep 9 regarding a proposed Park master Plan. Participants were invited to share ideas as planners develop a comporehensive plan to guide officials in the designing of improvmeents at city park facilities. The four park areas included in the study are the centrally located Ben Johnson Park and Memorial Park along Lynn Avenue (old State Highway 99), Williams Park on Grandview in the north part of town, and Pwhuska Lake, west of the city and south of U.S. Hiway 60.
Honoress: Barbara Stram
Former Pawhuskana, Dr. Freeta Jones-Porter, was inducted into the Okalhoam Affrican American Educators Hall of Fame.
Julia Wilson & other Osage.
JULY 3: Osage Artist and fashion designer Wendy Ponca created a unique link to her people’s heritage with her collection of “Wedding Clothes of the Erth and sky People.” Ponca’s designs are her interpretations of the Osage Creation story and depict three Osage divisions - the Her clothing reprensent the type of grments that might have been worn by Osage people pre-Euroean cntact asa well as clothing worn by people who ‘floated down from the stars to intermarry with the earth people,” said Ponca showcases her unqiue fashions at th Osage Tribal Musuem.
In June, Pawhuska had the honor of an all-too brief visit by Pstor Jim and Glenda Bukley during Buckley’s walk across America. Dr. Bukley is a 66-year old minister who began his six-month trek on April 1st in the Thousand Oaks area of southern California. Walking an average of 20-25 miles a day, his journey ended in New York City’s Tmies Square.
For more than a decade, youth from across the country have descended pon Pawhuska to offer a helping hand with minor repairs and yard work. They are part of a Christian-basaed, nonprofit ecumenical mission organization called YouthWorks. JUNE 12: Forty YouthWorks’ volunteers descended upon Pawhuska in early June to begin the first of nine weeks of community service.
JUNE 5: Lease signed with countyur for youth sports complex.
Famed golfer Notah Begay visits Pawhuska.
April 24: Hearts & Hands prepare for outreach project.
APR 17: ‘To the Wonder” premiers; local scenery appears on the big screen – Filmed in and around Bartlesville and Pawhuska in 2010, local scenery and even some recognizable local faces debuted on the big screen in mid-April. A film that some are calling “poetry in motion.”
APR 17: Constantine Theater’s presents “The Ransom of Emily Jane” spring play.
APR 17: Lions Clubs aids city clean-up effort.
APR 10: Tulsa museum official visits OCHS
MAR 27: Cancer survivor Lil’ D working to bring awareness to children fighintg cancer. FEB 27: Lil’ D cancer free.
FEB 6: Wish come true for Lil D
FEB 6: Twitter prayer campaign boosts spirits of Pawhua woman battling cancer.
MAR 20: GFWC honors womn for 50-year membership (Eileen Monger)
PBDC – 4-hour H2S certification training, fork-lift, assorted pipeline position (MAR 13)