LANGSTON — The Indian Meridian monument in Langston has seen better days.
The monument, an obelisk more than 20 feet tall, stands smack in the middle of Washington and Logan streets, once-bustling avenues abandoned by time. Its white surface is pockmarked and faded. The plaque explaining its significance is long gone, presumably stolen.
But efforts are under way to keep the obelisk from fading into obscurity. Langston University officials and the town of Langston are raising funds to restore it, and everyone is invited to help.
The monument, erected in about 1922, marks the meridian used in 1870 to divide the Oklahoma and Indian territories, according to the Logan County Historical Society. It remains the reference point for all land surveys in Oklahoma.
After 90 years, it needs a little love.
“We have a buy-a-brick campaign that we're doing right now,” said Roosevelt Haney Jr., program director for the Langston University Center for Community Engagement. “We're also selling ads and stuff. We're putting together a souvenir booklet” that will include the monument and other historic sites.
The brick campaign has gotten off to a slow start. Organizers expect it will cost about $26,000 to restore the obelisk and install a stone marker explaining its history. The granite marker will be harder to steal and will be situated off the road, Haney said; to read the old plaque, visitors had to stand in the intersection.
Contributions in recent months, though, have added up to about $12,000.
“Brick selling has been slow,” Haney said. “We're trying to gather more momentum as people come out to see it.”
Bricks cost $75 apiece. Purchasers' names will be engraved at the site, allowing individuals, families and businesses to become a permanent part of the monument.
The effort is part of a larger program to celebrate Langston, one of the state's original all-black towns. The Center for Community Engagement already has helped establish a new softball park and a farmers market, Haney said.
Bricks may be purchased online at a secure website, www.fundraisingbrick.com/langston-university.
For more information on how to get involved, call 530-7536 or go to www.langston.edu/lu-oklahoma_city/hudhbcu_programs.aspx.