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Oklahoma Becomes a State / Leo the Lion

November 15, 2000

Historian's Notes

Of course this date had to make it into the Almanac. Happy Birthday Oklahoma!!!

The Leo the Lion story I thought was an interesting bit that nicely rounded out the segment.

Resources for "Statehood":

Any standard Oklahoma history text can supply you with more information on this topic.

Resources for "Leo the Lion":

Tulsa Tribune. November 12, 1929.

Almanac Transcript

Oklahoma becomes a state.

It's in this week in 1907 that Oklahoma officially became a state. The process of preparing Oklahoma for statehood, one could argue, technically began in the 1830's with the forced relocation of the southeastern tribes. The land openings beginning April 22, 1889 further pushed the territory in the direction of statehood and on November 16th 1907 the long awaited day, eagerly awaited by some, dreaded by others, finally arrived. The act was official with the signing of the proclamation by then President Theodore Roosevelt which stated that "the state of Oklahoma is to be deemed admitted by congress into the Union on equal footing with the original states." With that done the state and US flags were raised above the capital in Guthrie and Charles N. Haskell took the oath as Governor. The celebration in Guthrie included speeches, a town wide BBQ as well as music throughout the day provided by a Cherokee band. One of the more interesting activities of the day was the ceremonial marriage of a Native American woman in traditional dress to a man in frontier cowboy regalia symbolizing the unification of Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory. Streets, rail lines and roads leading into the new capital were packed with people eager to participate in the celebration. A new state joins the union this week in 1907, happy birthday Oklahoma!

Twenty-two years after statehood Oklahomans played host to a famous celebrity of sorts. It was this week in 1929 that movie star Leo the Lion, the famous MGM mascot toured Tulsa and surrounding communities. Leo traveled to Oklahoma in a custom made traveling car which along with his following entourage was valued at over $100,00.00. A large calliope preceded Leo into each city announcing his arrival. During his visit in Tulsa Leo spent time with the Mayor and various city officials, visited various children's homes in the city and made a tour of local theatres. The local American Legion Unit hosted Leo’s dinner party providing the celebrity with his daily requirement of twenty five pounds of raw meat. On the morning of the thirteenth Leo escorted by a parade of fans, left the oil capital continuing their tour of the plains states.

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