We are getting great feedback from our new WPA Tour series. I am writing this post to share a little of the behind the scenes process of the creation of these tours. One of my main goals with the creation of the LCHS website was to create a place where we could share self-guided tours, virtual exhibits, and great conversation. I am very proud of our new site, and I am excited about the future potential. Last year we started an annual Picnic in Parks series to highlight the great history of the county’s historic parks, while sharing picnic dinner with good company. This year, my husband Mark and I spent many Saturdays reading newspapers on microfilm in an effort to uncover the true stories of Highland Hall and our current swimming pool. Without firm construction dates we went through many reels of microfilm before finding anything on either of these sites. Along the way we started collecting images of WPA news articles, with the vague thought of doing some type of program. My initial research led me to believe that Highland Hall could have been constructed in 1935, but in fact the building was not completed until 1940. The New Deal efforts encompassed this entire time period, so by the time I was ready to share the park’s history we had also collected enough information to tell a different story of the WPA and the New Deal in Logan County. Along with the newspaper articles, I was able to gather more information and some great historic photographs by looking through the Oklahoma State Preservation Offices online historic property survey records, the Gateway to Oklahoma photo archives and the Living New Deal website. Next, Mark and I hit the road to confirm details, design the tour routes, and to take more photographs. Combined, all of the information became the basis of our new tour guides. Fortunately, our new Weebly website makes it easy to layout the guides, add maps, and even lets me add slideshows of multiple images and Youtube videos. Personally, I learned that the New Deal’s impact and remaining trail is much greater than I ever imaged. I think that Logan County’s history has focused on the land run and the territorial period of the county for far too long. There are many other stories to share which highlight different chapters of the county’s history. My hope is that our WPA tours are just the first in a series of new tours and programs about the county’s history beyond statehood. Please check out our tours and give me your feedback. We need your support in order to continue to grow and expand.
Amy Loch is the Executive Director of the Logan County Historical Society. This blog was created to share stories of experiential history in and connected to Logan County.