Will Rogers still graces downtown
Will Rogers spent his last summer in Oologah in 1906. He returned to the downtown pump 89 years later as “The Cherokee Kid” statute on Aug. 12. 1995.
The statue depicts Will watering his horse, Comanche, at the historic town pump.
On Saturday, Aug. 15, walk through the past as the community observes the 25th anniversary of “The Cherokee Kid” as well as the restoration of Historic Downtown Oolagah. Those efforts began in 1984 under the vision of Wanda Sanders. Oolagah is a historic spelling of the town’s name
The Oolagah Historical Society will rededicate the monument at 6 p.m. But watch out, the Belle Starr gang has been seen casing the downtown bank. She may try to stage a robbery during the ceremonies.
The downtown walking tour is 5 to 7 p.m. The Oolagah Historical Museum at 202 W. Cooweescoowee Ave. will be open, and other historic buildings may be open depending on COVID-19 status. Visitors are asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
For children, the Oologah Area Chamber of Commerce will host roping lessons and games, also from 5 to 7 p.m.
Several of the downtown buildings date before statehood, including the 1906 Bank of Oolagah, restored to its original look. The bank, pump, and other buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum gift shop features a new limited-edition mug noting the 25th anniversary.
Jimmy Rogers, Will’s son, and Ben Johnson, Academy Award winning actor, unveiled the monument in 1995. Sculptor Sandra Van Zandt worked three years on the statues of Will and Comanche. The Oolagah Historical Society and the community raised $100,000 to fund the monument. It immediately became the statewide symbol for Oologah.
Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry, Will’s great-granddaughter, will attend the rededication ceremony.
Other events that day include the Will Rogers/Wiley Post Fly-in at the Birthplace Ranch from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The ranch is located on 380 Road two miles east of US-169.