In 1957 Oklahomans commemorated fifty
years of statehood with events scheduled between
April 22 and November 16, 1957. These dates were
chosen because the first land run in present
Oklahoma had occurred on April 22, 1889, and
statehood had taken place on November 16, 1907.
Statewide events began with a parade in
Guthrie on April 22, and with the dedication of
the 200-foot-tall "Arrows to Atoms"
tower at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
Both events were attended by actor Joel McCrea,
star of the 1957 movie The Oklahoman.
major event of the year was the Semi-Centennial
Exposition, held at the state fairgrounds from
June 14 through July 7. Oklahoma oil companies
sponsored the building of a two-block replica of
an early Oklahoma oil-boom town, complete with
several wooden oil derricks. The Boom Town
included a "House That Oil Built,"
inside of which was an exhibit explaining the
petroleum industry. Other highlights included a
Teen Town, an international exhibit, science and
industrial displays, and a women's fashion
center. The International House had displays from
the Soviet Union, India, Japan, Korea, Belgium,
Venezuela, Italy, and Israel. Nationally known
performers such as the Ziegfeld Follies, Mickey
Rooney, the McGuire Sisters, and Patti Page
appeared. Many television and radio programs
originated from the fairgrounds, including NBC's Today
show with commentator Dave Garroway. A stainless
steel time capsule was buried at the south end of
Boom Town on July 7. On August 14, 2006, the
capsule was unearthed, and its contents,
including newspaper clippings, photographs,
letters, and souvenirs were placed on display at
the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
The nationally televised football game between
the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Notre
Dame Fighting Irish in Owen Stadium in Norman,
Oklahoma, on November 16, marked the close of the
semicentennial activities. Unfortunately, the
Sooners lost the game to the Irish, 7-0.
Oklahoma Historical Society
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