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Revisiting some Oklahoma history

by Don Gammill Modified: October 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm •  Published: October 16, 2013

If you like history, here are a couple of important items from state newspapers.

If you’re looking for something to do, here’s an opportunity. And if you are interested in some of Oklahoma’s significant historical events, there’s one for you.

Orient by rail

The popular Agatha Christie mystery novel “Murder on the Orient Express” sparked the exciting 1974 British movie and centered on the European luxury train that ran from the 1880s to about 2009.

Jim Stout (Alva Review-Courier photo)
Jim Stout (Alva Review-Courier photo)

The real Orient Express traveled Paris to Istanbul and was known for its elegance and clientele.

There have been several names and routes for the Orient Express. The Venice-Simplon Orient Express, which has run since the 1920s, continues today.

But are you aware that Oklahoma had rail service with a similar name: the Orient Railway?

It may not have been as glamorous, didn’t carry the mystery and intrigue, wasn’t the basis for a best-selling novel, but this line, which came through Oklahoma, was important.

The Alva Review-Courier reports that you can learn more about the history of the Orient Railway at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Sod House Museum near Aline, when  journalist Jim Stout gives a talk about it.

“Stout’s presentation will include current photos of landmarks along the route, along with links to and discussion of the historical record,” the Review-Courier reports.

Rail enthusiasts, here’s your chance. Check out the story for more details.


A crowd looks over a car washed into Boggy Creek after nearly 16 inches of rain fell in Enid in October 1973. (Photo from Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center Archives)
A crowd looks over a car washed into Boggy Creek after nearly 16 inches of rain fell in Enid in October 1973. (Photo from Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center Archives)

The flood of ’73

It was an incredible, devastating, tragic event that forever will be remembered in Enid, the seat of Garfield County. The rain that brought the deadly flood of October, 1973, still is remembered by many residents of the city as an event that had to be experienced to be believed.

The Enid News & Eagle reports that the Oct. 10, 1973, flood came on a day when residents knew it was going to rain but had no idea it would fall that hard, that fast and for that long.

When the rain finally stopped, the National Weather Service numbers showed 15.68 inches in 13 hours, a foot of which came in one three-hour period.

And nine people lost their lives.

The News & Eagle story includes various interviews with residents who survived the flood, including those in the city’s southeast side, the Brookside addition along Boggy Creek.

Check this out out and learn more about this historic event.




by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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