The Norman Transcript

Breaking News


September 29, 2012

Keystone encampment to be re-enacted

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — It was 180 years ago when Washington Irving embarked on a quest to discover the American West in Indian Territory.

The author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” left Fort Gibson on horseback, accompanied by U.S. Army Rangers, an Indian agent, some Creek Indians and a “count” from Switzerland.

With the Arkansas River as their guide, the party arrived northwest of today’s Sand Springs on Oct. 15, 1832, and made camp.

Irving wrote of his experience in “A Tour on the Prairies.” Although the party’s dream of hunting buffalo with the Osage Indians didn’t pan out, its members did experience the ruggedness of the cross timbers forest.

As part of the yearlong celebration of Sand Springs’ centennial, the encampment will be re-created Oct. 6 with history experts portraying Irving and his group.

The event, dubbed “A Day With Washington Irving,” will be held in that same forest, which is now recognized and appreciated ecologically as the Keystone Ancient Forest.

“We always wanted to do a Washington Irving encampment, and this forest shows pretty much how it looked when Irving was here. It’s just a few hundred yards from his actual camp,” said scriptwriter Whit Edwards, a former special programs director at the Oklahoma Historical Society who is now with the Texas Historical Commission in Marshall, Texas.

Although many of the post oaks in the forest are 300 to 500 years old, they are not large. There are low-hanging limbs and abundant brush.

It was so thick that the party went through it single-file, with the lead person hacking his way through, Edwards said.

“Everything just slows down out here,” Sand Springs Parks Department Director Grant Gerondale said. “The forest is still very much the way it was 100 years ago.”

Edwards said Irving’s trip was arduous.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Fallin disappointed SBAdenied loans

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she is disappointed that a federal agency denied a request for loans to businesses in two Oklahoma towns affected by an emergency bridge closure....

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014

  • March Oklahoma revenue misses mark by 9.1 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s finance secretary says collections by the general revenue fund fell 9.1 percent below the official estimate in March....

    April 16, 2014

  • University of Tulsa researchers find new species

    TULSA — A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy....

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma House passes state trooper pay raise bill

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could get their first pay raise in seven years under a plan given final legislative approval Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether money will be available in the overall state budget to ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Barresi decries plan to eliminate Okla. tests

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi is raising concern about a bill before the Legislature that would eliminate state testing in social studies and geography....

    April 16, 2014

  • State-mandated minimum wage draws ire across state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers seeking a higher minimum wage in Oklahoma are upset with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day ...

    April 16, 2014