A complete pictorial history of the Oklahoma Panhandle, full of fun facts and “I didn’t know that” moments. Dr. Richter aptly states in one of the book’s many photo captions, “entertainment was, and sometimes still is, rather difficult to find. Obviously, Panhandlers can create their own fun.” So in the true Panhandle spirit, Sara Jane Richter has put together an informative and entertaining pictorial history of the “handle” of Oklahoma.
The Panhandle is Oklahoma’s best-kept secret and possesses a unique landscape, the highest point in Oklahoma. It bears a fascinating history and tenacious residents, from Folsom Man to contemporary cowboys. The Panhandle even once tried to become its own US territory. With photographs of the “Land That Time Forgot,” readers will discover tales of outlaws, college students, settlers, ranchers, native peoples, dust storms, immigrants, ghost towns, cattle, dinosaurs, lawmen, soldiers, and traders. The Panhandle has never been a mecca for settlement, but through the years, many heading for better days and other destinations have traveled across it. Mother Nature makes Panhandle residents work for their survival even today. She isn’t too free with her moisture but does like to hear the wind blow and see snow on the ground. “Panhandlers” pride themselves on their independence, resiliency, and friendliness. Once folks move in and get comfortable, they won’t be leaving soon.
Sara Jane Richter, PhD, has lived in the Oklahoma Panhandle and taught at Oklahoma Panhandle State University since 1985.