Journeys

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TISHOMINGO, Okla. - Nestled in a corner of Murray State College campus in Tishomingo is an often overlooked historical treasure.

 

Built in the early 20th century to provide housing for a growing student body, Bessie Poe Hall is a prominent landmark. Its historic and architectural beauty led to it becoming one of the six sites within Johnston County listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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VINITA, Okla. – The rest stop on Interstate 44 in Craig County once known as the “Glass House” has been renamed the “Will Rogers Archway.”

Drivers have stopped at the Vinita rest stop since it was built in 1957. Originally built as a “Glass House” restaurant before becoming the “World’s Largest McDonald’s,” the renovated rest stop that stretches across east and westbound lanes of the Will Rogers turnpike was renamed in August at the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s monthly meeting.

Rogers, a cowboy, actor and humorist, was one of the world’s best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s. He died in 1935 in an Alaska plane crash along with aviator Wiley Post.

The turnpike remains open for traffic but the rest stop closed in June 2013 for renovations. It is undergoing a $14.6 million makeover. When re-opened, the rest stop will still house a McDonald’s. It will also be the site of a Subway restaurant and a larger Kum & Go convenience store.

“We believe the name ‘Will Rogers Archway’ will for years identify this iconic location for millions of visitors traveling in northeast Oklahoma,” said Tim Stewart, OTA executive director.

During the renovation all the glass in the arched part of the building will be replaced, and the aluminum curtain wall blinds on the west side will be removed.

The rest stop’s estimated completion date was this past spring. Now the OTA estimates it will be completed by the end of the year.

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Native Oklahoma is a monthly publication featuring the art, people, culture and events of Oklahoma's intertribal community.

Native Oklahoma is available for free at tribal and Oklahoma welcome centers; hotels; travel plazas and online at www.nativeoklahoma.us

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