Posted by: an acre of oklahoma | November 4, 2009

History of the Mural Images


Cowboys on a Cattle Drive

The rich abundant pastures made Nowata an ideal location for the cattle industry. Cattle drives and ranches brought many pioneers here to settle. Nowata County has a rich history of cowgirls and cowboys that played such an important part of our history. One of those cowgirls was Pauline Nesbitt who became a world renown trick rider on the rodeo circuit. She started trick riding in 1927 at Burwell, Nebraska. Pauline was a national prize winner in 1936 and she was inducted into the National Cowboy Museum in 1999. When you visit the Depot Cafe, look on the west wall for many pictures of Pauline’s experiences.

Nowata County was abounding with cowboys, the heroes of the west! Lenapah was home to 5 World Champion Cowboys:

  1. Fred Lowry 1916, 21, 24, 25, 27,29
  2. Nowata Slim Richardson 1926
  3. Everett Shaw 1946, 48, 51
  4. Shoat Webster 1949, 50, 52, 54, 55
  5. Buck Rutherford 1952, 54


The Gallopin Goose

The Gallopin Goose (car #75) trolley car of  the Union Electric Company Interurban line that ran 22 miles from Nowata to the Kansas border, just three miles south of Coffeyville. The full trip took four hours as the trolley meandered through hill and vale. The Interurban existed from 1921 until April 4, 1948, when it was no longer viable on a “yearly basis”. The automobile took to the highways and the “mass transportation” went by the wayside.


Chief Journeycake's Meeting House

Chief Charles Journeycake, a famous Delaware leader and preacher, organized a church of eleven members on November 8, 1871. His dream of building a substantial meeting-house was fulfilled within a year after he and his family moved to this part of northeast Oklahoma from Kansas. A treaty made possible the sale their original tribal lands in Kansas which caused many a Delaware to move to Indian Territory.


Nowata County Courthouse

The Nowata County Courthouse was built in 1912 and is on the US National Register of Historic Places.


American Flag, City of Nowata Seal, Oklahoma Flag

Symbols of our great nation, state and city!


Savoy Hotel

The original Savoy Hotel burned to the ground two days before the grand opening in 1909. The Savoy was rebuilt in 1911 with the capacity for 200 guests. The hotel was well-known for its radium baths which was told could cure multiple ailments. The original sign for the radium baths can still be seen today on the west side of the building with a hand pointing downwards toward the basement. What a site The Savoy must have been!


The Glass Mansion

An early prominent Nowata family, J Wood Glass and his wife, Eva Payne Glass, built their home at 324 W Delaware. When their son,  Julian Wood Glass, Jr, passed away in 1992, the mansion was given to the Nowata County Historical Society. A Scottish architect, John Duncan Forsyth, designed and supervised the building of the home of the Glass family. He also designed the Marland Mansion in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The Glass-Glen Burnie Foundation is still making a positive impact on our area today.

Oil Derrick

The Oil Derrick

Oil played a huge part in the development of Nowata, both city and county. According to many sources, many millions worth of oil deals were made at the Carey Hotel. Millions does not seem like much money now, but in the early 1900’s, it was wealth only imagined for many.


Iron Mountain Railroad Engine

The Missouri Pacific Railroad was driving onward through the northeastern section of the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation around 1886. I am positive that there are many interesting stories about building the railroad in Indian Territory.

Our city and county has such a varied and bountiful history that should be shared with the world as our fellow citizens drive by this mural on their way to another destination! Maybe, just maybe,  some will come back to make Nowata their home and the circle of bountiful history goes on.

The history facts that I have shared in this post has come from many sources, such as the internet, the Nowata County Historical Society Museum, and Links Volume 4, Issue 9, 2007 (published by Community Links, Chelsea, Oklahoma).



  1. Suzan-The mural piece is fantastic!! We are putting a box for the Blog on the home page of the new website-hopefully this weekend. If you woudl like to see the temporary site it is at We are still wating for the domain transfer.

    Thanks you so very much for all that you are doing for Nowata!! You are a treasure!

    Billie Roane
    Executive Director
    Nowata Area Chamber of Commerce

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