Oklahoma

Roy Inman

For all the reasons one thinks of a small town in America — a small, blue-collar community where people leave their doors unlocked and kids play ball in the streets — Picher, Oklahoma was a fantastic place to grow up.

Ed Keheley remembers the closeness of his community.

“The adults in the community basically policed all the kids. You were afraid to do something, if anyone saw it they would immediately call your parents,” Keheley told Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.  

Picher, Oklahoma rode the wave of lead and zinc mining in the region that began in the late 19th Century. By 1980 it was an EPA Superfund site and by the 2010 Census, fewer than 20 persons were counted as residents. We look at how Picher is remembered through former residents and through the lens of a local artist.

Guests:

Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Just 20 miles south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border lies a structure that can’t be missed. The tower draws crowds from around the world and has given a little city a big name.

Bartlesville’s Price Tower is an anomaly. In an oil and gas town filled with short red-, orange- and brown-brick buildings, its 19 stories stand tall with green patina copper and cantilevered floors.

Frank Morris / KCUR

If you think of an illustration of Oklahoma, you may picture a pan-shaped state, with an oil derrick on it.  But Oklahoma is fast becoming famous for something else — earthquakes.  In 2014, it registered more perceptible tremors than anywhere else in the contiguous United States, and they seem to be getting stronger. The industry that has long sustained Oklahoma is likely the one now cracking its foundations.

Athletics Communications / Iowa State Cyclones

With a large contingent of Iowa State fans clearly outnumbering the Oklahoma followers, the Cyclones advanced to the Big 12 tournament semifinals.