Trying to find my next graphics project. Thinking of doing a partial replica of the Three Sands boom town, which would fit my requirements. (1) A real place with real history, (2) now lost, and (3) I've been there. While "researching" the subject in Okla Hist Soc archives, bumped into two historical surprises in one article.
was written in 1956 by the son of Burton Barnes, who founded Ponca.
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Barnes? I lived in Ponca for many years and visited often in the years when I didn't live there. I heard stories from old folks and read books and articles about the place. Never heard of Barnes. The name doesn't appear anywhere. Most cities have a street or park or school named after the founder. Not Ponca.
The known and written history of Ponca, like the known and written history of life, starts with fossils. When EW Marland arrived in 1920 he remade Ponca in Fordian form, creating a beautiful town with widespread services for his loyal employees. All stories and names start from Conoco. The preConoco strata vanished without a trace.
Barnes was obviously ambitious and tenacious. His furniture business in Michigan went sour in the Panic of 1892, so he decided to go west and start a city. (Not the usual transfer of skills!) In '92 the Cherokee Strip was under Army control, like all of the Plains before permanent settlement was allowed. Railroads were already established, so exploring was possible and permitted. Barnes wandered for a while, checked out the Enid area, then noticed a good spring at the foot of Dixie Hill, presently 13th and South. A railroad stop was not too far away, and a ford or ferry crossed the Ark right there. He went back East and gathered money. When the Run happened in Sept '93, he was on the border along with thousands of others, but unlike the others he knew exactly where he was going and what he would do when he got there.
The Army BURNED THE WHOLE FUCKING PLACE DOWN. Carrying on the noble tradition of Sherman, practicing for the next time they needed to wipe out a whole nation full of Deplorables.
How did they burn the whole Strip without burning any of Kansas? How did they keep the fire away from the previously settled and owned parts of Okla? If they could control prairie fires with such precision before bulldozers and helicopters, why can't we do it now? Unanswered.
This is NOT part of the Strip story as usually written and told.
Labels: Asked and unanswered