In his last email, Elliot told us that he was being transferred from Clinton, Oklahoma, to Noble-Purcell, Oklahoma, as part of the regular process of missionaries being transferred within their mission area, as I previously described on the blog. I did a little checking to see what I could find about Elliot's new area and will share some of that here.
Noble and Purcell are two separate towns south of Oklahoma City. Noble is about 28 miles south of OKC, with Purcell another 11 miles further south. Noble has 5,260 residents (as of the 2000 census), and Purcell has 5,571. Both border the Canadian River and fall along the I-35/Highway 77 corridor.
After the jump, check out some pictures, videos, and fun facts about Noble and Purcell, Oklahoma.
According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, rose rocks – the reddish-brown sandy crystals of barite that resemble a rose in full bloom – are more abundant in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the world. In 1968, the rose rock was named the official state rock – marking its place as an Oklahoma symbol.
Where do rose rocks come from? Legend explains that rose rocks are a reminder that Oklahoma was the destination of those Native Americans who traveled the Trail of Tears:
Decades ago, historians uncovered legends and interesting folklore about the origin of the rose rock. The Stines recorded one of the Native American legends surrounding the rose rock, which was handed down by E.L. Gilmore, a Cherokee storyteller.
According to Gilmore, in the 1800s – despite a decision in favor of the Cherokees by the Supreme Court – President Andrew Jackson ordered the removal of the Cherokees and other Indian tribes from their Eastern homelands to Oklahoma, a journey later referred to as the Trail of Tears. About 4,000 people died on that journey, and Native American folklore states that "God, looking down from heaven, decided to commemorate the courageous Cherokees. As the blood of the braves and the tears of the maidens fell to the ground, they were turned to stones in the shape of a rose." The rose rock is found in Oklahoma, the end of the journey.
Here is a link where you can find a couple of videos about rose rocks.
Elliot can try the southern fried catfish or a redneck burger at Kendall's Restaurant. And I'm sure he'd enjoy a visit to The Wildcare Foundation, a wildlife rehabilitation facility for wild animals native to Oklahoma.
Purcell, Oklahoma - The Heart of Oklahoma
The City of Purcell's website tells us that "[w]hat was only a river crossing in the vast plains of North America little more than a century ago has now developed into the thriving Oklahoma community known as Purcell, the Heart of Oklahoma." Indeed, Purcell's official motto and registered trademark is "the Heart of Oklahoma."
Why is Purcell known as the Heart of Oklahoma? I haven't found a definitive answer but suspect that it's partly geographic and partly promotional. Whatever the origin, this YouTube music video, "Heart of Oklahoma," seems to capture the spirit and also includes some great images of Purcell. (There's a single mild profanity in the song but otherwise it's a lot of fun.)
The McClain County Museum, located in Purcell, is the product of civic pride and the spirit of volunteerism:
Mrs. Marjorie Hesse (the first curator) and her volunteers begged, borrowed and persuaded county residents to give or loan artifacts and photographs to the Museum. When the state legislature unexpectedly dropped the Museum funding from its budget (along with other county museums) and reassigned the OHS employees effective July 1, 1983, plans had to be completely reorganized. Determined not to give up on the Museum, a massive volunteer project began, which included raising operating funds and re-labeling everything in the Museum. The 1000 plus photographs in the photo collection were also indexed. The City of Purcell continued their contribution of the building, utilities and maintenance. Today the museum continues to thrive on the continued support of the city and its membership.