Travel in and around the Oklahoma City metro area and you can learn a lot about the history of the city, the state, the nation and the people who have made significant contributions to their development.
The city has statues and artwork throughout its many miles of the individuals, groups and events that have forever changed the culture.
It’s possible that the count may increase soon if a proposed sculpture of entertainer Vince Gill is approved by the Oklahoma City Council. It would be placed in Bricktown, an area which already has some famous Oklahomans and events noted. He is being honored for his contributions to Oklahoma City, where he grew up.
At the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, you can find likenesses of Hall of Fame baseball players Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench and Warren Spahn. A short distance away, you can see the larger-than-life Centennial Land Run sculpture near the south end of the Bricktown Canal, a piece still being completed.
But these are only some of the statues and artwork around the city. For instance …
The legendary Jim Thorpe’s statue stands outside the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum. A sculpture of Will Rogers is at Will Rogers World Airport. At State Fair Park are statues of some of the state fair’s most historic figures, Orval “Sandy” Saunders, Edward L. Gaylord and Lee Allan Smith.
Near the Chesapeake Boathouse on the Oklahoma River is a statue of Ray Ackerman. At the Chickasaw Gardens at Oklahoma City University is “The Warrior.” Looking at the Skirvin Hotel is a figure of an American Indian, while nearby a cowboy faces the Charles Building.
Oklahoma City Philharmonic Music Director Joel Levine has a statue at Civic Center Music Hall. In several locations in and around the downtown are buffaloes. Behind St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral and near the Oklahoma City National Memorial is the statue “Jesus Wept.”
At the state Capitol, statues that were placed include “Tribute to Range Riders” and “As Long As the Waters Flow” and, of course, atop the Capitol is “The Guardian.”
Across the street, at the Oklahoma History Center, can be found the statue of Tuskegee airman Charles B. Hall. On north, “Fish Story” at Coles Garden, racehorse trainer Jack Brooks at Remington Park, Medal of Honor winner Ernest Childers at the 45th Infantry Museum and a multifigure statue at the softball museum and stadium.
There are several sculptures at the National Cowboy & Western History Museum,
including Abraham Lincoln, John Wayne, Buffalo Bill, Ronald Reagan and rodeo great Bill Lindeman, for example.
These are not all of those whose likenesses are displayed at locations throughout the city, but this list should give you an idea. There are busts, paintings and other ways those who have made the great contributions are remembered and all are worth seeing.