You immediately get a feeling of what’s important in this part of Oklahoma, when you see the state capitol grounds. Just a few hundred feet away from the rotunda stands an oil derrick. OKC sits atop a rich pool of black gold, Texas tea, so you’ll be seeing a lot of drilling and pumping equipment around town.
[tmt_info =””]You can choose from a couple of old Route 66 alignments through Oklahoma City. The 1926 alignment went down Kelley and Lincoln to 23rd Street (this is the route I followed, and the one you should take to see the Capitol Building). Alt-66 was routed in 1931, taking traffic from Kelley to Britton to Western to 23rd. For more details, and other routes, get a good guidebook.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]If you’re not following Route 66, and simply want to see the Capitol Building, take the Lincoln Boulevard exit off I-44, and head south. The Capitol will be right in front of you.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]The Oklahoma Capitol is the only state capitol with oil rigs on its property.[/tmt_info]
Even though the Oklahoma State Capitol building dates back to 1919, the dome that sits atop it is just a few years old. During construction of the building, money ran low, and the state couldn’t afford a dome. So, they added a saucer-shaped top to fill the hole. Everyone was more or less content with the saucer until the late ’90’s, when the state started looking forward to its centennial (which was approaching in 2007). In 1999, fundraising for a $21 million dome begun, and in 2002 (on the state’s 95th birthday), the dome was complete.
As it turns out, I had stumbled into the capitol building on a day when mental health advocates were rallying for increased funding from the state. Since the building was packed with people, I didn’t get to stay long or see much.
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.