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A little bit of everything to see in Guthrie

By Kylene Orebaugh

Charm, history and architecture--downtown Guthrie, Okla., has all three. The surrounding area also gives visitors a dose of cowboy heritage as well as a place to play.

Designated as a National Historic Monument, downtown Guthrie contains 2,169 buildings, 1,400 acres and 400 city blocks, according to www.guthrieok.com. It is also full of charm, but that charm took decades to build.

In April 1889, the great land rush settled most of the new Territory of Oklahoma. Within six hours, on April 22, 1889, more than 10,000 people settled in Guthrie, creating one of the nation's largest cities west of the Mississippi. Within months, Guthrie was truly the "queen of the prairie," as it had modern brick and stone buildings, municipal water, electricity, mass transit and underground parking for both horses and carriages.

By 1907, Guthrie was the capital of Oklahoma. However, three years later, the state seal was moved to Oklahoma City. After the loss, the town remained at a standstill for a number of years. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, businesses placed aluminum facades on their downtown buildings, but they soon recognized the value of the unique downtown architecture, and in the 1980s began restoration efforts, revitalizing the beautiful downtown area.

Since then, careful restoration has helped preserve the stateliness of the architectural success in Guthrie. The downtown district is a great representation of late 19th and early 20th century commercial architecture.

Downtown businesses include: restaurants, antique shops, saddlery and tack stores, bed and breakfasts, a theatre, art galleries, gift shops, and much more.

State Capital Publishing Museum

Once the home of several publishing companies, the State Capital Building located on 301 W. Harrison, is now home to a museum. The building itself was constructed in 1902, as was the fourth home of the State Capital Company which was organized in 1889.

Placed on the National Register in 1975, the building housed the State Capital Newspaper (until 1911) and Cooperative Publishing Company (until 1973). In 1975, the building was donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society to be used as a publishing museum.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society website, www.okhistory.org, the museum tells the story of the State Capital Company, the settlement of Guthrie, early Oklahoma history and the printing and publishing industry at the turn of the century. It provides a distinctive opportunity for visitors to look back into the turn-of-the-century world of Oklahoma publishing.

Inside the museum is a large collection of original furnishings and printing equipment. Museum exhibits include the history of the State Capital Company, printing technology and other aspects of life from the territorial and early statehood era.

The State Capital Company started when Frank Hilton Greer came to Guthrie in 1889 with $29 in his pocket, a limited education and a bit of printing experience. From his humble beginnings, Greer built one of the largest printing operations in the southwest and three of Oklahoma's most widely circulated newspapers. In 1890 he helped found the Oklahoma Press Association, and in 1892 he was elected to the Oklahoma Territorial House of Representatives. Greer also purchased Oklahoma's first linotype machine--a machine that set type in a single line-and helped advance the printing industry.

The museum is located at 301 W. Harrison in Guthrie. It is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 405-282-4123 or visit http://www.okhistory.org/outreach/museums/publishingmuseum.html.

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

Determined people helped bring the Territory of Oklahoma to the State of Oklahoma. Celebrating 100 years of statehood is something not many people see. For Oklahomans in 2007, it was a very significant event.

The Oklahoma Territorial Museum will give visitors a taste of history through the state's first century with artifacts, photographs and paintings. The territorial period lasted from 1890 to 1907 and, during that short period, the state was transformed from an unsettled home for 65 Indian nations to prosperous farms and growing cities.

On the museum grounds stands the Carnegie Library, where the first state governor was sworn in. Preserved by the Oklahoma Historical Society, this building, as well as the museum, serves as a visible link between Oklahoma's turbulent Territorial Period and the present. The facility covers approximately 10,000 square feet of exhibit space and gift store.

The museum is located at 406 E. Oklahoma and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a $2 donation is suggested. For more information, call 405-282-1889. Also visit the Friends of the Guthrie Museum Complex website at www.oklahomaterritorialmuseum.org.

Oklahoma Frontier Drug Store Museum and Apothecary Garden

Visitors to the Frontier Drug Store Museum will step back in time when they walk through the door. Fully restored, the museum looks as if it is at the turn of the century, as it features a broad collection of frontier pharmacy, early drugstore and medicinal arts memorabilia.

The brainchild of Ralph Enix and several of his colleagues, planning for the museum began in the early 1970s. Their project culminated with the establishment of the museum, opening in 1992. The museum is now managed by the Oklahoma Pharmacy Heritage Foundation, inc., and is located at 215 W. Oklahoma in downtown Guthrie. Mark Ekiss, pharmacist and longtime resident of Guthrie, is the current curator and manager.

According to the museum's website, www.drugmuseum.org, its collections reflect the history of pharmacy and medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries in the Oklahoma and Indian Territories and in the State of Oklahoma. The artifacts and ephemera exhibited in the museum were coincident with the westward migration of pioneers, shopkeepers, families and pharmacists, as well as a host of other health care providers who populated the frontier regions of the United States.

The museum also features a 19th century soda fountain, as well as a recorded tour. In 2006, organizers added an apothecary garden, which is dedicated to the cultivation and study of medicinal herbs and plants. It also, according the website, provides an area for rest and relaxation in the historic downtown district. A centennial clock was added in 2007 to pay tribute to the Oklahoma Centennial.

Other museums in Guthrie:

National 4-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum, 116 E. Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.banjomuseum.org or call 405-260-1322.

Oklahoma Sports Museum, 315 W. Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.oklahomasportsmusuem.com or call 405-260-1342.

International Model Train and Automobile Museum, 409 W. Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.theoldsantafedepotofguthrie.com or call 405-260-0700.

Owens Art Place Museum, 1202 East Harrison Avenue. For more information, visit www.owensmuseum.com or call 405-260-0204.

Lazy E Arena and Ranch

Located off the Seward Road exit of I-35, the Lazy E complex sits almost hidden in the rolling hills and trees. Opening the doors December1984, the Lazy E Arena is billed as the world's largest indoor rodeo arena in the world. The floor of the arena itself measures 440 feet-by-160 feet. It started as the host site for the steer roping championship and quickly became the epitome of quality rodeo production, according to their website, www.lazye.com.

Hosting nearly 25 events a year, Lazy E Productions produces other championship events at the arena and around the country. According to the arena's website, the property was sold in 2005 to a group from Nevada; but, the new ownership is cognizant of the importance of the Lazy E's place in rodeo and Oklahoma lore.

Also included in the arena's third floor is the Roper's Cantina. The suite offers a full-service bar, catering and live-post event entertainment, as well as giving a special view of the action in the arena.

Another part of the arena is the Lazy E Ranch and training facility located west of the actual arena.

The ranch has been involved in both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing since its opening in 1984. Purchase of several World Champions has given the Lazy E recognition as one of the top Quarter Horse breeding operations in the country.

The ranch stands a number of stallions, both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses. Zan Parr Jack, the Lazy E's star performance-bred stallion, has been here since the ranch's conception and will live out his retirement at the ranch.

According to their website, approximately 1,500 horses pass through the Lazy E Ranch gates each year and, in 2008, the Lazy E bred approximately 900 mares and foaled out more than 150 mares. The Lazy E Ranch prepares between 450 to 500 head of sale horses each year and represents them at various sales throughout the United States.

The Lazy E is located on two ranch sites-the breeding facility and the training center with yearling farm. The breeding facility is situated on 300 rolling acres and includes a 65,000 square foot mare barn, 116 stalls, two foaling stalls, an indoor arena, 40 individual stalls with adjoining runs, turn out paddocks, the capability to accommodate 120 mares under lights, housing for 14 stallions, and 15 miles of PVC fencing.

The training center has housing for 120 sale prep horses in three 40-stall barns, an underwater treadmill barn and turnout paddocks. The yearling farm has a 36-stall barn, along with pastures and paddocks for weanlings, yearlings and year round resident mares.

To plan your trip to Guthrie, Okla., check out http://www.guthrieok.com/.

Kylene Orebaugh can be reached by phone at 620-227-1804 or by e-mail at kscott@hpj.com.

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