Heritage Association Maps Offer History, Entertainment

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By Bill Johnson The Oklahoma Heritage Association has a new series of state maps for the person who not only wants to know where he's going, but what he can see, do or learn once he's there.

There's the Famous Oklahomans Map, for instance, with entries ranging from the state's favorite son, the late humorist Will Rogers, to Sylvan Nathan Goldman, inventor of the shopping cart. Map references show where those listed were born or made their mark.

Spanish trails, early military roads and the paths of the railroads that opened the prairie are recorded in the Oklahoma Trains, Planes and Riverboats Map. Among historical facts laid out are that Waynoka was an overnight stop on the nation's first transcontinental airline and that the first keelboat came to Oklahoma in 1821.

And who wouldn't be enticed a bit by the Oklahoma Ghost Towns, Mining Camps and Boom Towns Map with its directions on how to find the ruins, or the Oklahoma Outlaw and Lawman Map with its photos of dead outlaws and map locations of famous gun battles.

``People tend to forget what's here in Oklahoma, it's so close,'' said Kenny A. Franks, director of education for the Oklahoma Heritage Association and author of most of the text on the 12 maps. ``They think they have to go to Colorado to see an old boom town.''

Franks said the map project, believed to be unique in the nation, got started with an educational grant from the Noble Foundation of Ardmore.

``The original idea was to use them in schools to aid teachers in teaching Oklahoma history,'' Franks said. ``From there it grew into a much more elaborate thing when we found that the general public was as much or more interested in them than the teachers were.''

Now the maps are on sale at independent book stores and the Oklahoma Heritage office in Oklahoma City. Price, including tax, postage and handling, is $4.88 per map or $41.70 for the set of 12.

Just about any interest can be piqued by at least one of the maps.

Where else but the Oklahoma Historic Homes and Buildings Map can a browser find a listing of the unusual, from the sod house at Beaver to La Quinta, the 32-room, 14-bath home build by H.V. Foster at Bartlesville, or the Thorpe House in Yale, the only home ever owned by Jim Thorpe, the Olympian.

Only in the Oklahoma Natural History Map is there a discussion of the geological evolution of the state, the location of earthquakes since 1900, photos and information on famous - or infamous - tornadoes and the monthly temperature extremes. …