Buildings Reclaimed by the Prairie

An old hotel built of stone, old schools, roadside motel and a rock house abandoned to undergrowth are reclaimed eventually by the prairie that mothered them.

Have you driven past this old hotel in Muskogee? I’ll bet you have. It was last used as a hunting supply store and is located on highway 16 which enters Muskogee from the West and is named Okmulgee Street.

This was the front office. It is overgrown with vines, signs are gone and windows are missing. The rear cabins each stood separate and housed one traveling family.

The cabins are constructed of flat native stones as are many park cabins and shelters that were built by the W.P.A. in the dust bowl days of the Great Depression.

The arch above each “cabin” was outlined with bricks, possibly bricks from the Boynton Brick Factory. Now the property is abandoned and the prairie has reasserted itself in every crack and crevice. Shrubs and grass and weeds and trees are breaking up concrete and stone work.

Time and weather have rotted doors and window frames. Animals have found shelter along with hobos and vagabonds. Neighborhood children may have played here and teens lingered in the forsaken roadside rooms.

At night I imagine owls haunt the spaces.

What was this place like in 1950? I imagine an old car parked at one of the cabins, a father carrying a box of food and some luggage to the door. A child is playing in the grassy area out behind the motel. A mother seated in a old wooden chair nursing her baby in the welcome shade of a Osage Orange tree.

God has erased the scene with time and change and covered it with vines and branches, grass and wildflowers. I heard birds singing overhead, cicadas thrumming their afternoon songs, and wind like ghosts moving in the shadowy places making leaves shiver.The prairie wins!

Buildings Reclaimed by the Prairie

An old hotel built of stone, old schools, roadside motel and a rock house abandoned to undergrowth are reclaimed eventually by the prairie that mothered them.

Have you driven past this old hotel in Muskogee? I’ll bet you have. It was last used as a hunting supply store and is located on highway 16 which enters Muskogee from the West and is named Okmulgee Street.

This was the front office. It is overgrown with vines, signs are gone and windows are missing. The rear cabins each stood separate and housed one traveling family.

The cabins are constructed of flat native stones as are many park cabins and shelters that were built by the W.P.A. in the dust bowl days of the Great Depression.

The arch above each “cabin” was outlined with bricks, possibly bricks from the Boynton Brick Factory. Now the property is abandoned and the prairie has reasserted itself in every crack and crevice. Shrubs and grass and weeds and trees are breaking up concrete and stone work.

Time and weather have rotted doors and window frames. Animals have found shelter along with hobos and vagabonds. Neighborhood children may have played here and teens lingered in the forsaken roadside rooms.

At night I imagine owls haunt the spaces.

What was this place like in 1950? I imagine an old car parked at one of the cabins, a father carrying a box of food and some luggage to the door. A child is playing in the grassy area out behind the motel. A mother seated in a old wooden chair nursing her baby in the welcome shade of a Osage Orange tree.

God has erased the scene with time and change and covered it with vines and branches, grass and wildflowers. I heard birds singing overhead, cicadas thrumming their afternoon songs, and wind like ghosts moving in the shadowy places making leaves shiver.The prairie wins!

Through Barbed Wire

 
What can you see through a barbed wire fence? No city streets, no glorious architecture, no people?
So what is there to see? If you never look, how much of life you miss. You might miss a wild pink rose bush stirred into the green windblown grasses.
A pasture fenced with barbed wire is a common sight in Oklahoma.
 Pasture roses climb old fences and gradually weigh them down. 
 
Foxglove beard Tongue blooming along the fenceline.
 
Prairie Plantain in the thick summer grasses with wild grape vine climbing the fence like a trellis.
Here is foxglove just beginning to blossom.
 
Coreopsis and coneflowers
 
The cattle graze across green ranch lands.
Trees slowly retake a pasture where no animals graze.
 
Clover and milk weed in the spring grass show through rusty barbed wire.
 
A green pasture full of plants.
 
A roofless stone shed tells of earlier landholders.
 
A curious donkey comes to look back at passersby.
 
A bird on the fence watching for flying snacks.
The Big Oklahoma Sky!

Through Barbed Wire

 
What can you see through a barbed wire fence? No city streets, no glorious architecture, no people?
So what is there to see? If you never look, how much of life you miss. You might miss a wild pink rose bush stirred into the green windblown grasses.
A pasture fenced with barbed wire is a common sight in Oklahoma.
 Pasture roses climb old fences and gradually weigh them down. 
 
Foxglove beard Tongue blooming along the fenceline.
 
Prairie Plantain in the thick summer grasses with wild grape vine climbing the fence like a trellis.
Here is foxglove just beginning to blossom.
 
Coreopsis and coneflowers
 
The cattle graze across green ranch lands.

Trees slowly retake a pasture where no animals graze.
 
Clover and milk weed in the spring grass show through rusty barbed wire.
 
A green pasture full of plants.
 
A roofless stone shed tells of earlier landholders.
 
A curious donkey comes to look back at passersby.
 
A bird on the fence watching for flying snacks.
The Big Oklahoma Sky!

Wild Prairie Roses

In a dry and sun-filled place like this along a fence bordering a highway, a wild rose bush will encumber a fence until it hides it completely. It is a beautiful sight in late May and early June. I found this rose along highway 16 in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.
An old fence post is barely visible. You can’t see the barbed wire at all.
A rose bush can grow up a post or tree and overtake it.
This bush is brighter colored than most. It was at an abandoned homesite.
 
In shady spots, the pasture rose blooms. 
Its blooms are less profuse and  the simplicity is wonderful.
Finding a wild rose climbing a pasture fence, is like finding a friend in an unexpected place.

Wild Prairie Roses

In a dry and sun-filled place like this along a fence bordering a highway, a wild rose bush will encumber a fence until it hides it completely. It is a beautiful sight in late May and early June. I found this rose along highway 16 in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.

An old fence post is barely visible. You can’t see the barbed wire at all.
A rose bush can grow up a post or tree and overtake it.

This bush is brighter colored than most. It was at an abandoned homesite.
 
In shady spots, the pasture rose blooms. 
Its blooms are less profuse and  the simplicity is wonderful.
Finding a wild rose climbing a pasture fence, is like finding a friend in an unexpected place.


An Old Cellar

I passed this cellar at an old homesite many times before I noticed it. It is on a corner of an acreage, where the main paved road is intersected by a gravel road. The roof is concreted and arched. The front and back walls are bricked, as are the stair guards and the chimney.

Large trees have grown so close that they have probably intruded and caused the cellar to leak. In that case, it is likely to be half filled with murky water. I couldn’t investigate the inside because of a fence around the property.

I think it was a tornado shelter, (the old timer’s called it a fraidy-hole), but it probably served also as a cool place to store fruits and vegetables. There was no door, but maybe never was one. From the side, you can see how low the roof really is; and you get a view of the chimney on the back, added to assure plenty of oxygen.

I’ve heard that this spot was once the site of a small rural community called Pumpkin Center. A country store and early gas station, and a house or two were situated there where now only cattle graze in the hot sun.