Oklahoma is taught in high schools across America as the "Sooner State", a place where pioneers in conestoga wagons fought off various tribes of indigenous Native Americans, in order to claim land they were told by the American government was open for homesteading. Many Baby Boomers and their parents know about Oklahoma from the long running Rogers and Hammerstein Broadway Musical "Oklahoma!". The modern world knows Oklahoma as the home of Indian Casinos, Garth Brooks and now modern 'American Idol' star Carrie Underwood.
Yet, underneath the historical textbook facts and media hype about local Okie's becoming rich and famous, are many very interesting "little known Oklahoma state facts". You may be surprised what weird trivia can be found within the prairielands, urban pockets, reservations and forests of this western state. Take a look at some facts you probably do not know.
It is said the world's first coin parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, in July 1935.
Oklahoma has the only American town within the mainland 48 states, bombed during WWII. During the night of July 5,1943, an American B-17 dropped 6 practice bombs on Boise City, Oklahoma. No one was hurt and it seems only a garage was blown up!
The World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held each year (in April) in the Oklahoma town, which claims to be the "Cow Chip Capitol of the World"-Beaver, Oklahoma.
Oklahoman Bob Dunn, from the town of Beggs, claims to have invented the first electric guitar in 1935.
Many Americans believe Oklahoma is a flat state with only prairie and desert lands. Wrong! There are 4 official mountain ranges in Oklahoma: Quachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas and the Kiamichis. Plus it has more man-made lakes than any other state in America (over 1 million surface acres of water).
Oklahoma is bordered by 6 states. Can you name them all? [Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas. Missouri and Colorado]
Most folks do not know that the state flower of Oklahoma is Mistletoe.
The headquarters of the Cherokee Nation has been in Oklahoma for over 160 years;Tahlequah (pop. 14,458). It was established at the end of the "Trail of Tears," relocation of the Cherokee from the Southeastern states to the American government designated Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Oklahoma has the largest Native American population in the 50 states of America, 287,000 people representing 37 tribes.
Some researchers believe vikings visited Oklahoma 100's of years before the Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado stepped foot on the land. There is an inscription with 8 very old symbols found on a huge sandstone rock at Heavener Runestone State Park, near Heavener, Oklahoma. It has been dated by some explorers 1012AD.
The inventor of the Nautilus exercise equipment found in most gyms and health spas around America was from Seminole, Oklahoma - Arthur A. Jones.
Okay Walmart shoppers did you know that the first Sam's Club, members only warehouse shopping center, was built in MidWest City, Oklahoma in 1983?
The National Lighter Museum is locate in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
A Police Captain in Tulsa created the first Yield Road sign in 1951.
The first radio station to broadcast west of the Mississippi River was WKY in Oklahoma.
The town of Sallisaw, Oklahoma has many interesting factoids with 2 ,ost people do not know: the notorious gangster "Pretty Boy Floyd" is buried there 1934; John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath", begins its story in Sallisaw.
And here are some famous folks from Oklahoma:
Dr. Phil of TV fame; is know as Phillip Calvin McGraw in Vinita, Oklahoma where he is from.
Baseball Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench hails from Oklahoma City. Many major league baseball players have come from Oklahoma oer the past 50 years.
Hey girls, movie star Brad Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
TV personality and journalist BIll Moyers was born in Hugo, Oklahoma.
The man credited with saving the Alaskan sport of dog sledding by creating the now famous "Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race" from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska was born in Oklahoma. Joe Redington called the "Father of the Iditarod" was born in the small Oklahoma town of Kingfisher.
The songwriter of many famous Christian Gospel songs known around the world, such as "I'll Fly Away" and "Turn You Radio On",Albert E. Brumley is from Spiro, Oklahoma.
As Roger's and Hammerstein said, "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain..." (from the musical Oklahoma).