12 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Own State! – Ted Streuli
I get sucked into things. Often, they are mindless wastes of time. I noticed, for example that I am a sucker for every online come-on that says something like, “17 things you didn’t know about spaghetti.” Or “Five foods you should never eat on a diet.” Or, and I’m ashamed to admit it, “Nine celebrities you thought were dead but aren’t.”
Betting that I am not alone, here are 12 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Your Own State!
- Oklahoma has a state soil. It’s port silt loam, and is found in more counties of the state than any other soil. Named for the town of Port in Washita County, it’s that reddish brown stuff we all call red dirt.
- The state fish is not the catfish, despite some residents’ penchant for noodling. Oklahoma’s state fish is the white or sand bass. It’s a dark blue-green fish with silver sides, a white underside, and black stripes.
- We have a state reptile, the mountain boomer, a relative of the iguana. It has a turquoise body and a bright yellow head and neck. The neck sports a ring that resembles a collar, which is why the lizard is also known as a collared or ring-necked lizard. It runs on its hind legs, which means you might be terrified.
- That’s not just any statue in Tulsa. The Golden Driller, all 76 feet of him, is the official state monument.
- Yeah, you not only know the name of the state song, you know all the words. Rodgers and Hammerstein are proud. But there is also an official state country and western song: Faded Love, which was written by Bob and John Wills. The Legislature made it official in 1988.
- The longest river in Oklahoma is neither the Red River nor the Arkansas River. It’s the North Canadian, which runs for 747 miles within state boundaries.
- Vinita, established in 1871, is the oldest incorporated town on Oklahoma Route 66. But that’s not its only claim to fame; it was the first town in the state to get electricity. And even more interestingly, its name was changed from Downingville to honor Vinnie Ream, the sculptor who created the life-size statue of Lincoln that is displayed in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Ream never lived in Oklahoma, but she was a friend of Elias Cornelius Boudinot, who founded the town and claimed naming rights.
- The oldest park in the state is Turner Falls Park in Davis, home of the state’s largest waterfall, which is 70 feet tall.
- Vinita might have been the first incorporated town on our section of Route 66, but the oldest chartered town in the state is Choctaw, which officially became a town in 1893.
- Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party. It is also home to the nation’s oldest African-American rodeo.
- The Pensacola Dam, on the south shore of Grand Lake between Langley and Disney, was built in 1940 and is still the world’s longest multiple-arch dam with a combined dam and spillway length of 6,565 feet. The multiple-arch section by itself measures 4,284 feet. It was the first hydroelectric facility in Oklahoma.
- Originally called the Normal School, and later Central State College, the University of Central Oklahoma was the state’s first public school of higher education. It began as a teachers college.
There you have it, 12 amazing facts about Oklahoma. Don’t you feel smarter now?