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Signs of Time on the Prairie

77 Counties



On the Oklahoma prairie, the relentless corrosion brought by time and the elements is fought like a demon. Surfaces are scraped and sanded, painted and repaired. Old barns are replaced by sheet-metal storage buildings. Bales of hay are sheathed in white plastic cocoons. Weathered, painted billboards are giving way to stretched acrylic tarps and, sometimes, digital signs with revolving video and messages.


But vestiges of the past remain, often so much a part of the landscape that they fade into it, unnoticed. Sun-baked iron, weathered wood and ghost-lettered brick, relics of the time between the world wars, have been stripped of the superfluous, seasoned by decades of red dust, distilled to their essence and worn smooth by time.

Clockwise from top: Rusty one way: Payne County; Rusty license plates: Oklahoma County; Rusted door handle: Beaver County; Santa Fe box car converted to livestock shed: Texas County

Like the people who have lived longest on the land, these walls and doors and signs and fences have developed nuances and facets that come only with survival.

Jackson Mammoth, Jackson CountyMany continue to serve their purpose. Rusted markers still point the way, old grain bins store a new harvest, blackened barbed wire holds tight between posts, battered mailboxes stand sentry at the end of a long driveway.

Swept by winds and baked by sun, their authenticity shames the self-consciously distressed flotsam of Americana that dangles from rafters of far-off restaurants and bars in search of a sense of history, and inspires would-be designers to invest in another can of crackle in the hope of achieving that well-worn glow.

Bullet-riddled Cimarron County sign: Cimarron County/Texas County border

Their patina is deepened with time, as the alchemy of temperature swings and alternating droughts and deluges coax out the rich colors and surviving words of long-ago dreams and the people who dreamt them. 


M.J. Alexander (pausing here in Pittsburg County) continues her extended photo essay of Oklahoma with monthly installments of 77 Counties. To view any of the previous segments, visit sliceok.com. To suggest an off-the-beaten-track place, contact 77counties@gmail.com. Her traveling exhibit “Portrait of a Generation: Children of Oklahoma, Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth” – from the book of the same name, winner of a 2011 Oklahoma Book Award – is currently on exhibit at the Cimarron County Heritage Museum, and her work will be included in the inaugural National Weather Biennale, April 22-June 9, in Norman.
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Calendar

September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
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