The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

June 6, 2014

Osage County provides numerous cultural delights

EDMOND — Osage County is the largest of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. It’s about the size of the state of Delaware. And I had half a day to check it out during one of the several tours offered during the Central States Chapter conference of the Society of American Travel Writers, which met in Tulsa in April.  

First things first, our trio — a travel writer from Ohio, our hostess Trisha Kerkstra from Tulsa’s Post Oak Lodge, and I —  stopped for lunch at the Osage Casino in Skiatook. I’m not a big fan of casinos, but the food in the Fiery Grille was impressive. My first clue that I was going to like it — they spelled Reuben correctly. I take points off for menu misspelling! And the sandwich was great: Tender, shaved corned beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, 1000 Island dressing on toasted rye bread — perfect!  

I ordered the half-and-half soup and sandwich option, so I got to try their loaded baked potato soup. Thick and rich, it was topped with Nueske’s bacon (so special it’s been written up in the New York Times), cheddar cheese and green onions. According to Chef Drew Flatt, their steaks are their signature items and it would be worth a trip to try one.

Then it was on to Pawhuska and the Osage Tribal Museum. While the exhibits were interesting, the best part of the museum was visiting with the volunteers. They were gracious in giving their time to talk to us and share stories special to their tribes. I loved the way Leon Hawzipta — actually Kiowa and Comanche — finished his story: “That’s the way it was; that’s the way it is; that’s the way it always will be.”  

For me, the shining star in Pawhuska is the beautiful Cathedral of the Osage, more properly Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Built between 1910 and 1915, the building shows some French influences, appropriate considering the relationship between the Osage people and French missionaries. The bright, white interior features graceful arches and outstanding stained glass.

The nine apse windows came from a Chicago studio and depict Old and New Testament figures with Christ in the center. Thirteen more windows had been ordered from the Bavarian Art Glass Company in Munich, but World War I intervened. Munich glass was highly prized both for the quality of the glass, which incorporated expensive elements including manganese, copper and gold, but also for the exquisite style of painting on the glass.

Of the German windows, installed after the war, the two most famous ones are found on either side of the transept. The window on the south shows Christopher Columbus meeting Native Americans. The north window depicts a Jesuit priest, Father John Schoenmakers, meeting the Osage Indians in Kansas in 1846. The window is unique in featuring the likenesses of Osages living when the windows were designed, a break with tradition which required special permission of the Catholic Church.

Our final stop was in Hominy at the gallery of Native American artist Chá Tullis. Smack dab in the middle of Osage country, Tullis’ own heritage is Blackfoot and Cherokee. You can see Tullis’ work even before you get to the gallery. A magnificent set of sculptures — 15 mounted Native warriors, each about 20-feet tall, are ranged along a ridge above town. And in town, many of the buildings are decorated with colorful murals by this talented artist.  

Tullis works in a variety of media from paint and steel to precious metals and gemstones, creating paintings, sculptures, jewelry and home décor items. For me, he was the biggest attraction — tall, handsome, with flowing white hair and the most beautiful smile.  

He’s been asked many times why he isn’t in Santa Fe, Taos or some other more lucrative market. His answer — Hominy is his home and he wants to give back to the community.  Art collectors from all over make the trek to this tiny Oklahoma town to meet him and purchase his art.

Time was running out — we had an hour’s drive back to Tulsa — and we hadn’t seen the Tallgrass Prairie. We’d missed the Bivin Garden near Shidler and the work-in-progress Tulsa Botanic Garden, but we did see Woolaroc another day — same for Gilcrease Museum which sits on the far southeast corner of the county.  

We had a great dinner that night at Post Oak Lodge (also in Osage County). This spot is making me use a phrase I swore off of years ago — it is one of Oklahoma’s best-kept secrets. Built by the Williams Company as a company retreat, it has great conference facilities in a beautiful setting in the Osage Hills. Individual travelers also can make arrangements to stay there.

It was a busy day with a full schedule, but oh, so satisfying. And like any good destination, it left us wanting to see more. I’m the lucky one. I live in Oklahoma, so I can easily go back. My friend from Ohio will just have to make another trip.

ELAINE WARNER is an Edmond-based travel writer.

1
Text Only
Arts & Entertainment
  • Never Girls Good Reads

    NOTE: Email dpeery@edmondsun.com to have your name entered into a drawing for the following titles: “The Never Girls: A Pinch of Magic” and/or “The Secrets of Tree Taylor.” Deadline is 10 a.m. July 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • garner4.jpg Family, friends remember Garner’s Norman roots

    Flowers started arriving at the James Garner statue at Main Street and Jones Avenue Sunday morning after residents learned of the famed actor and Norman native’s death Saturday night in California.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Banjo 1 American Banjo Museum offers look at past

    What do you call perfect pitch?  If you can throw a banjo through the window and onto the garbage truck!  My brother-in-law, a musician, told me this joke.  Boy, the banjo is the Rodney Dangerfield of instruments — it gets no respect.  Well, get ready to appreciate the banjo for its history and heritage — at the American Banjo Museum in OKC’s Bricktown. This cool museum takes you through 370 years of banjo history in eight minutes, then settles down to give you details which will keep you interested for many more.

    July 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Enjoy affordable romance in Dahlonega, Ga.

    Nestled in the mountains of northern Georgia against the Chattahoochee National Forest lies a tiny town that offers an authentic peek at a time long past. The charm of yesteryear combined with the calm of nature, friendly locals and the fun of back country roads dotted with vineyards and tasting rooms results in the perfect getaway for couples in search of a romantic escape or honeymoon destination. Those headed to Dahlonega for an intimate weekend will want to consider the following itinerary items.

    July 19, 2014

  • Kyle_Dillingham_cutout useBH.jpg Dillingham in benefit concert Monday at Symphony Center

    Musician Kyle Dillingham will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday to raise funds for a local man in need of a liver transplant.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Book to be launched at Uptown Grocery Co.

    A book focusing on support for children with autism will be launched at Uptown Grocery Co. from 2-5 p.m. July 19. “New Frontiers in Sensory Integration” is the most recent work of internationally acclaimed educator Stephanie Mines. Although based in Colorado, the neuropsychologist has gained experience in various parts of the world. Edmond was chosen as the launching place in honor of the local physical therapists who influenced Dr. Mines during her clinical trials.

    July 17, 2014

  • City Council approves $114,500 for statues

    City Council members have approved a $114,500 supplemental appropriation for public art.
    During the previous fiscal year, private contributions covered costs of a couple of larger art pieces that exceeded the city’s matching contribution limit of $35,000, causing the city to run short of budget authority as year-end activity approached, according to background provided by the council.

    July 17, 2014

  • line of girls 2877.jpg Summer camp enriches children

    Edmond's Historical Society 1889 summer camps were held in the historic one-room Territorial Schoolhouse on Second Street in Edmond. The children learned what their counterparts used 125 years ago to clean, cook and play with and experienced what a school day in the life of a child in 1889 was like.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • seamstresses.jpg Sewing camps helps girls hone in skills

    Anna Paladini (foreground) and her twin sister Alex Paladini work on their patchwork purses during the Sewing Camp held at the Parks and Recreation department in Mitch Park. The girls planned their summer vacation to see their grandparents, Kay and Mark Mades, around the camp Jeanine Smith teaches each summer.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • FAI camp 4 SLIDESHOW: Fine Arts Institute camp Campers learned how to apply stage make-up, do magic tricks and clown around this week at the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond's Theatre Escape Camp. This annual summer camp offering combines a number of hands-on exercises and fun for students interested in drama and the arts.

    July 16, 2014