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August 7, 1998

Contributions for this column have been received from several sources lately, and today I'll acknowledge as many as space allows.

One of the most interesting is an article from a recent Sunday issue of The Edmond Sun, written by a free-lancer identified as P. Blake. An editor's note explains that Mr. Blake, his wife and daughter, live in Piedmont where he writes travel articles and has an art studio. I wish I could reprint all of his piece about Perry, but I'll try to do justice to it in summary. It was written after the family visited our little city recently while making their way home on U.S. 64. Several photos are included with the article.

As an artist, Mr. Baker is fascinated with murals so the map of Oklahoma on the Nicewander-Wolleson building on the north side of the square immediately caught his eye. He is concerned that the map needs restoration soon or it may become only a memory. He notes that the courthouse park is the centerpiece of our town square and that it is now surrounded by an historic business district of antique and gift shops and restaurants. He found it hard to believe that such a peaceful community could have been the home of "Hell's Half Acre" shortly after the 1893 run.

The Blake family also spent some time at the Cherokee Strip Museum on West Fir Avenue and enjoyed the indoor and the outdoor environments. "Behind the museum building is a beautiful picnic ground and nature trail," he wrote. "The trail winds through trees identified as Osage Orange, Eastern Redbud, White Mulberry and Chittamwood." The historic Rose Hill School is described, and Mr. Blake concludes with this comment: "I find myself wishing I could come here more often to turn over in my mind how this state and its people have been tried... and endured. It makes you proud to live here and be a part of Oklahoma's future, as it unfolds." Mr. Blake's kind remarks are appreciated, and we hope he will find an excuse to venture up this way again soon.

The most recent edition of Mistletoe Leaves, the monthly newsletter of the Oklahoma Historical Society, also calls attention to our museum and the part it played in the recent Rural Heritage Festival here. "Record crowds attended the Rural Heritage Festival on the grounds of the OHS's Cherokee Strip Museum in Perry...," the writer states. "Beautiful weather, hard work and partnerships with the Perry Chamber of Commerce and in Perry Main Street's Spring Fest contributed to the success of this year's festival." The article includes pictures of craftsmen, musicians, ropers and fourth grade students from Morrison performing a May pole dance.

The most recent edition of OMPA Outlet, the official newsletter of the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, contains a history of Perry's municipal water, light and ice company, along with a photo of the original plant constructed in 1895. It is an interesting article but too long to be reprinted here. I'll try to share some excerpts in columns that follow this.