We were not supposed to be here today, nor was an outing here planned for the near future. A last-minute cancellation left us with several hours of unplanned luxury and a serendipitous opportunity.
Measuring our time and distance, we selected to make the 20-minute drive from our hotel to Guthrie Oklahoma, a small town known for its role in the Oklahoma Land run of 1889.
On April 21,1889 Guthrie was just the Deer Creek station on the Southern Kansas Railway. On April 22, a shot was fired inviting 50,000 settlers to claim plots on unassigned land in the Oklahoma Territory. Six hours later Guthrie had 10,000 new residents. The Oklahoma Territory was born, and Guthrie became its first capital.
We arrived early on this Saturday morning as shopkeepers were opening their doors, sweeping the sidewalks and a few cars were beginning to fill spaces along the storefronts.
Guthrie’s historical downtown district has brick sidewalks lined with beautifully architected buildings from the early 1900s. It looks like a movie set for a small town. In fact, 11 movies were made there in the past year.
As we strolled the brick sidewalks and peered into the shops, the bright eastern sun spilled golden light across the shop windows as if to awaken them.
As we approached a gallery, Home Sweet Home on the Range, https://homesweethomeontherange.com/ shopkeeper Pat Taylor opened her doors. The invitation to enter was too much to resist. Inside we found an impressive mix of craft and fine art works, arranged by artesian, mostly local. We found a pair of handcrafted earrings and exchanged stories with Pat. Like others we would meet that day Pat was enthusiastic about her town, her gallery, and the growing opportunities there. She spoke about her artists, the history of Guthrie and the ongoing restorations and preservation in the town. As we left, she provided us with ta list of “don’t miss” shops within the historic district.
Next door the Pollard theater https://thepollard.org/ was re-opening following the Covid closings and had posted a teaser for an upcoming musical.
Following the land run Guthrie prospered, building beautiful brick and stone buildings, with underground parking for horse and carriages, municipal water, and even mass transit. These buildings have been well preserved and contribute to the ambiance of the town.
If treasure hunting is your thing, downtown Guthrie should be on your list.
Clean streets, brick sidewalks, and beautiful old buildings with large windows encourage one to park the car and walk. One of our favorite pass times, but one that is fading in most cities and towns. Inside the large windows are an abundance of antique stores, craft shops, art galleries, specialty stores, coffee shops, cafes, bars and Willobys feed and seed.
With not enough time to succumb to our treasure hunting delights, we window-shopped dozens of stores and identified three we were most interested in exploring.
First up The Licorice Man. We are always delighted to find a well-stocked candy store offering retro and novelty sweets. This shop was filled not only with an impressive collection of licorice, bottled soda pop, retro and unusual candies, but the fun décor and entertaining shopkeepers made this experience memorable (See https://tipandjaminwonderland.com/2018/04/30/kids-in-a-candy-store/)
If you will not be coming to Guthrie soon, you can still buy their candies online.
I recommend “Salmiak Rocks Chocolate Rockies” for a salty chocolate wrapped in licorice.
Down the street is Pollard’s Gourmet Grocery and Gentleman’s Jerky. This new startup was recommended for its delicious and locally produced jerky. It did not disappoint with its meaty flavor, soft bite, and peppery taste.
Our final stop was G Gallery Glass studio where the owner was working with her students to melt and blow glass. The gallery was stocked with beautiful artwork, but the invitation to sit and watch her students at work felt like a special opportunity. If you are in Guthrie stop and look at the beautiful glass work, but do not miss the chance to watch the glass formation.
We ran out of time before we were able to visit the many historical sites of Guthrie. If you visit, watch for the historical markers that share the history of buildings and locations.
Park your car and enjoy the walk on brick sidewalks, grab some coffee, take a deep breath, stop at apothecary park, and enjoy a slow moment form the past.