Oklahoma City turns 125 this year, and it’s celebrating in a big way. The celebration begins on April 22 with free cake and tours of the city’s historic Art Deco-style city hall.
Celebrants will also enjoy a unique retelling of the city’s history Oklahoma Historical Society Director Dr. Bob Blackburn featuring real-time illustrations by local architect Jim Loftis.
In a statement about the event, Mayor Mick Cornett said the celebration would help “set the stage for growth and prosperity in the next 125 years.”
The event also marks the start of the city’s annual Festival of the Arts, which this year will offer special children’s activities focused on the city’s history and scheduled to take place in the Children’s Art Field at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
The festival will also feature artists from across the state and around the country, including four stages featuring performing arts and entertainment. Dozens of food vendors will be offering their fare at the festival’s International Food Row.
Even the city’s bicyclists are getting into the spirit of the celebration. Spokies, Oklahoma City’s downtown bicycle share and rental program, will be offering free historic bike tours of the downtown area for anyone 16 years of age and older. And they’re even providing the bikes.
So, how did Oklahoma City come to be? As part of the historic “Land Run,” a rush to claim and settle Oklahoma’s “unassigned lands” in 1889, more than 10,000 homesteaders put down roots on the land that would become the state’s capital. As word of their success spread, more settlers were drawn to the area and the city’s population doubled within the next decade. Shortly after Oklahoma was admitted to the Union in 1907, the state capital relocated from Guthrie whose population it had far surpassed.
And the rest, as they say, is history.