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The Oklahoma Portal

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Oklahoma (/ˌkləˈhmə/ (About this soundlisten); Cherokee: ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ, ogalahoma; Choctaw: Oklahumma) is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the 50 United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans (or colloquially, "Okies"), and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

A major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology. Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma's primary economic anchors, with nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans living within their metropolitan statistical areas.

With ancient mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains, Cross Timbers, and the U.S. Interior Highlands, a region prone to severe weather. More than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, ranking third behind Alaska and California.

Oklahoma is on a confluence of three major American cultural regions and historically served as a route for cattle drives, a destination for Southern settlers, and a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans.

Selected article

The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is an annually festival held in mid-July to commemorate the life and music of Woody Guthrie. The festival starts on the weekend closest to July 14 - the date of Guthrie's birth - in Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma. Daytime main stage performances are held inside at the Brick Street Cafe and the Crystal Theater. Evening main stage performances are held outdoors at the Pastures of Plenty. The festival is planned and implemented annually by the Woody Guthrie Coalition, a non-profit corporation, whose goal is simply to ensure Guthrie's musical legacy. The event is made possible in part from a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, Woody Guthrie's younger sister, is the festival's perennial guest of honor.

The festival, which over the years has morphed into being called "WoodyFest" by attendees, was founded in 1998 and the inaugural festival included performances by Guthrie's son Arlo Guthrie, British folk-punk-rock artist Billy Bragg, Ellis Paul, Jimmy LaFave, Joel Rafael, and The Red Dirt Rangers. For the festival's founding, the Woody Guthrie Coalition commissioned a local Creek Indian sculptor to cast a full-body bronze statue of Guthrie and his guitar, complete with the guitar's well-known inscription: "This machine kills fascists". (Read more . . . )

Spotlight city

Moore is a rapidly growing suburb in Cleveland County, Oklahoma and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area. As of July 1, 2006, the city population was 49,277.

Situated next to the northern boundary of Cleveland County, Moore is the second largest city in the county and the ninth largest city in the state. Moore is less than twenty minutes from downtown Oklahoma City, Will Rogers World Airport, Tinker Air Force Base, the University of Oklahoma, the Federal Aviation Administration's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, and thousands of businesses, industries, public and private schools, as well as recreational and cultural facilities.

The west side of the city often falls victim to tornadoes, and has been severely damaged by tornadoes on October 4, 1998, May 3, 1999, and May 8, 2003. The May 3, 1999 tornado that hit Moore was rated an F5 on the Fujita scale, and was the strongest and most destructive tornado ever recorded in history. The tornado, which occurred during the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, had an approximate recorded wind speed of 318 MPH, the highest MPH on the first F-Scale, left a swath of destruction over a mile wide at times, and 7 miles long. It killed a total of 36 people in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. This was the deadliest F5 tornado recorded since the Delhi, Louisiana tornado in 1971. (Read more...)

Selected image

American bison k5680-1.jpg
Credit: Jack Dykinga
Oklahoma's state mammal, the American Bison.

Did you know...

Oklahoma State Highway 66.svg
  • ...that Tulsa is often considered the birthplace of U.S. Route 66?
  • ...that Oklahoma has the longest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation?
  • ...that in 1927, Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery, known the "Father of Route 66," proposed using an existing stretch of highway from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa for the original portion of Highway 66?
  • ...that Oklahoman Cyrus Avery spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, the organization that oversaw the planning and creation of Route 66, and he placed the organization's headquarters in Tulsa?

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The Scissortail Flycatcher, Oklahoma's state bird

Selected biography

Mickey Mantle 1953.jpg

Mickey Charles Mantle was born October 20, 1931 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, Mantle was an American baseball player who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He played his entire 18-year major-league professional career for the New York Yankees, winning 3 American League MVP titles and playing for 16 All-Star teams. Mantle played on 12 pennant winners and 7 World Championship clubs. He still holds the records for most World Series home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total bases (123).

Mickey had played shortstop in the minor leagues. His first semi-professional team was the Baxter Springs (Kan.) Whiz Kids. In 1948, Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mickey's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson, in a Whiz Kids game. During the game Mickey hit two homers, one righty and one lefty, into a river well past the ballpark's fences. Greenwade wanted to sign Mickey on the spot but, upon finding out that he was only 16 and still in high school, told him he would come back to sign him with the Yankees on his graduation day in 1949. Good to his word, Greenwade was there right on schedule, signing Mickey to a minor-league contract with the Yankees Class D team in Independence, Kan. Mickey signed for $400 to play the remainder of the season with an $1,100 signing bonus. Tom Greenwade was quoted in the press release announcing Mickey's signing as saying that Mickey was the best prospect he'd ever seen. Because of his blinding speed, he was dubbed "The Commerce Comet." (Read more...)

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