Back in the 1880s, when the US government was forcing Native American tribes to relocate to Oklahoma Territory, one parcel of land in the center of the Territory was never assigned to any tribe. It was known as the Unassigned Lands, and it covered the area where the Oklahoma City metropolitan area now exists. This land was seen as free for the taking by some pioneers, who set up camp in the middle of the Unassigned Lands illegally; they were known as Boomers.

The Boomers didn’t have to wait long for the chance to settle legally. On March 2, 1889, President Harrison signed a bill authorizing the settlement of the Unassigned Lands. The government held a Land Run for the Lands on April 22, 1889. Anyone who was quick enough and lucky enough to stake a claim could have 160 acres of their own, and some 50,000 people participated. Of these, around 10,000 staked claims near Oklahoma Station, which is now Oklahoma City.

The livestock market and new railroads drew more and more settlers to OKC, and by 1900, the population of the city had doubled. On November 17, 1907, Oklahoma was awarded statehood. The original capitol was Guthrie, a town north of Oklahoma City. In 1910, the citizens of Oklahoma petitioned to move the state capitol to Oklahoma City. The move was authorized by a popular vote, and night following the election, Governor Haskell and some "conspirators" traveled to Guthrie to retrieve the State Seal. They set up a temporary capitol in a hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. The state capitol building was not finished until 1917. It is one of the very few capitol buildings without a dome.

Oklahoma City is home to the following:
Firefighters Hall of Fame
Cowboy Hall of Fame, which includes a delightful selection of Western artists
Softball Hall of Fame and Hall of Fame Field
● Oklahoma City Zoo, one of the top zoos in the nation
● The Kirkpatrick Center, an art gallery with an extensive Native American art collection
● Remington Park, a large horse racing facility
Sonic Headquarters (you know, the drive-in fast food joints)
Taco Mayo Headquarters (hey, we really like fast food)
● Tinker Air Force Base, home of AWACS and B-2s
Oklahoma City University
Feed the Children
● The Oklahoma City Philharmonic
● Bricktown, a revitalized warehouse district now home to a minor league baseball team, restaurants, dance clubs, and a scenic canal
● The Oklahoma City Blazers, a hockey team

What to Do If You Go There
If you’re ever in OKC and you’re bored, wander on down to Bricktown and check out the clubs. On summer nights, you can catch some great local bands playing on the restaurant patios. I recommend the margaritas and the fajitas at Chelino’s, but not the chile rellenos (too seedy.) Then you can take a boat ride down the canal, or wander on over to Bricktown 54, a dance club that plays mostly 70s and 80s stuff. It’s a meat market, but it’s fun. For a more cerebral adventure, I recommend the zoo. It has excellent exhibits of lowland gorillas, big cats, aquatic life, reptiles...you name it (except for the dolphins. Don’t ask about the dolphins.) If all else fails, you can grab some grub at the Popeye’s Chicken on NW 23rd and hit one of the 15,000,000 movie theaters in the area (I’m almost not exaggerating.)

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