No. 3 on Map of Okemah Showing Location of Sites Associated with Woody Guthrie (PDF)
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Okemah has three small water towers, the oldest of which are jokingly labeled "HOT" and "COLD." The third, a "light-bulb shaped" structure, is painted a pale yellow and bears the words, "HOME OF WOODY GUTHRIE."
In 1972, when this water tower was erected, recognition of Woody Guthrie in almost any way, shape or form was vehemently opposed by the Okemah city council and the local Chamber of Commerce on the grounds that America's most famous folk singer was purportedly a "Communist." It was "a maverick," reported one newspaper, "a Democratic oilman who controlled the county waterboard," who had the words put there, and they have remained there ever since.
These water towers are located in a modest residential area just a few blocks east of downtown Okemah. From downtown Okemah, drive west on W. Broadway, crossing 5th, 6th and 7th streets. Almost as soon as you cross 7th Street, you'll be able to see the towers (to your left). Turn left on S. 8th Street and go past the towers, which will be on your right. Turn right at W. Birch Street and go down almost to the next intersection. The towers can best be seen from W. Birch Street, between S. 8th and S. 9th streets.
To return downtown, turn right on S. 9th Street, then right on W. Broadway. Be sure to watch out for traffic (although there probably won't be much), stop at the "stop" signs and obey the speed limit.
Photo of Woody Guthrie's childhood home (above), courtesy Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
All color photos copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
This is a personal website with no official connection to the City of Okemah, Oklahoma, the Woody Guthrie Coalition or Festival, or any other entity or organzation.
This website is completely not-for-proft. Its sole purpose is to inform and entertain.
This website copyright © 2012 (except where noted) by Steven R. Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.