July 3, 2016, Ponca City- I spent about forty minutes visiting this spacious northern Oklahoma town’s three major landmarks, all associated with the oil magnate, E.W. Marland, and his family.
Prior to arriving here, I stopped at the roadside memorial to Chief Joseph, logistics chief of the Nez Perce, in the mid-Nineteenth Century. The captive Nez Perce, native to Idaho, had been brought here, to Tonkawa, in 1877, and made to remain there, until 1884. They were allowed to return to Idaho, then, and given the choice of becoming Christian and staying in Idaho, or retaining their old ways, and being moved to Colville, Washington. Chief Joseph and his band chose the latter. Below, is the photo of the memorial to him.
Ponca City, in Osage country, has among the earliest ties to the petroleum industry in Oklahoma. It is, nonetheless, among the state’s most spacious and well-appointed communities. Here is a look at downtown.
City Hall is also strikingly modern.
There are two homes, built by E.W. Marland, which feature prominently in Ponca City’s civic life. Marland’s Grand Home, built by him in 1916, now serves as the city’s cultural center and Indian Museum.
Veranda, Marland’s Grand House, Ponca City
Ernest Whitworth Marland had a sincere respect for the sacrifices made by women, on the prairie, and had this statue built, in their honour.
The Marland Mansion, where the family lived after 1916, is the centerpiece of a city park, and is maintained in the spirit of the early 20th Century. I toured the grounds, as the interior is not open on Sundays.
The Marland children, George and Lydie, are honoured with statues, at the northern and eastern ends of the property, respectively.
The mansion itself was built in grand, European style. Ernest was a generous man, and did not spare himself or his family of that largesse.
There is a wealth of flora on the grounds.
There is an extensive walking trail around the grounds, which I did not have time to explore, given my invitation to a Fourth of July gathering, east of Joplin.
The pond, though, lends a serenity, and a wildness, to this most epicurean of parks.
The park is a refreshing place for Poncans to gather, so in my view, E.W.’s largesse has had a good long-term effect. Now, as long as we keep moving towards cleaner energy….
NEXT UP: Christmas in July