Here Today : Oklahoma's Ghost Towns, Vanishing Towns, and Towns Persisting against the Odds, Paperback / softback Book

Here Today : Oklahoma's Ghost Towns, Vanishing Towns, and Towns Persisting against the Odds Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback

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The history of Oklahoma runs through the thousands of towns that sprang up in the wake of statehood and even before then--readable in the traces of bygone days, if you know what to look for.

In Here Today, Jeffrey B. Schmidt conducts readers, armchair travelers and adventurers alike, through places that tell Oklahoma’s story: towns all but disappeared, waning, or persisting despite the odds.

Part travelogue, part field guide, part history, the book--replete with photos, maps, and GPS coordinates--documents the rise and fall of one hundred of these towns, from the arrival of pioneers and settlers to the rise of buildings and businesses to the decline that came with natural disasters, manmade crises, and cultural change. Schmidt provides an enlightening look at what has made these towns work--the role of roads and railways, public schools and churches, community building and commerce, and, perhaps most significant, the official recognition that a post office conferred.

He notes the oil strikes, coal mines, intriguing crimes, violent weather, and twists of fortune that played into the fate of each; points out the landmarks that still stand and the shadows of those that have succumbed to indifference, destruction, or the passage of time; and puts the story these towns tell into the larger context of westward expansion, Native American history, and, in the case of the many all-Black towns, discrimination and segregation. Whether visiting ghost towns or small towns that still draw on the power of rural resilience to survive and even thrive, Here Today offers a rare chance to travel through the state’s history before its remnants may be gone tomorrow.

Representing the extraordinary extent of Schmidt’s research, legwork, and mining of archives and data sources, the book preserves for all time a vanishing vision of Oklahoma.