Will Rogers was born on a large ranch in present-day Oologah, Oklahoma, in the Cherokee Nation. Rogers became a nationally known cowboy as the star of radio programs; Broadway plays 71 movies in the 1920s and ’30s. He was also a featured columnist, writing more than 4,000 syndicated articles.
The world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935.
In Bristow, Oklahoma, it is against the law to serve water to a customer in a restaurant unless one peanut in a shell is also served. The consequences for this “serious” offense can result in a fine of up to five dollars.
Vinita, Oklahoma, was the first town in the state to have electricity. It is also the oldest incorporated town in the state.
The Oklahoma State Capitol is the only capital in the world surrounded by working oil wells. Not too many years ago, giant oil rigs dotted the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol.
If you play catch in the streets of Bartlesville, you’re breaking the law.
Per square mile, Oklahoma has the most tornadoes of all U.S. states.
Sylvan N. Goldman of Humpty Dumpty Stores and Standard Food Markets invented the first shopping cart so that people could buy more in a single visit to the grocery store. He unveiled his creation in Oklahoma City on June 4, 1937.
You could be jailed if you wear New York Jets in Ada, Oklahoma.
Boise City, Oklahoma, was the only city in the United States to be bombed during World War II. On July 5, 1943, at approximately 12:30 a.m., a B-17 Bomber based at Dalhart Army Air Base (50 miles to the south of Boise City) dropped six practice bombs on the sleeping town.
Whaling is illegal in the state of Oklahoma.
In Ponca City, a tornado once picked up a house with a man and his wife still in it. Though the walls and roof were blown away, the floor remained intact and eventually glided downward, setting the couple safely back on the ground.
In Tulsa, you may not open a soda bottle without the supervision of a licensed engineer.
Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party. Each June, Okmulgee host the annual Pecan Festival.
Oklahoma was the setting for the movie “Twister.”
It is against the law to spit on a sidewalk.
Big Foot was sighted in Vici, Oklahoma, in 1977. Though a search party was sent out, no evidence was found.
The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City.
In Clinton, Oklahoma molesting an automobile is illegal.
The town of Beaver is the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World. Here that the World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held each April.
It is unlawful to put any hypnotized person in a display window in Hawthorne.
The Port of Catoosa, just north of Tulsa, is the nation’s largest inland port.
Women may not gamble in the nude, in lingerie, or while wearing a towel in Schulter.
Initially, the state of Oklahoma was set aside for the exclusive use of the Indians and was called Indian Territory. However, in 1889, the land was opened to settlers in what became known as the “Oklahoma Land Rush.” On the first opening day, on April 22, 1889, 50,000 people swarmed into the area. Those who tried to beat the noon starting gun were called Sooners. Hence the state’s nickname.
Musician Bob Dunn from Beggs, Oklahoma, invented the first electric guitar in 1935.
Guthrie was Oklahoma’s first capital before a popular vote moved it to Oklahoma City.
Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is the Tribal capital of the Cherokee Nation.
The Pensacola Dam, built in 1940, is still the World’s Longest Multiple Arch Dam. At 6,565 feet in length, the dam is located on the south shores of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees between Langley and Disney.
Don’t you dare carry a fishbowl full of fish on a public bus in Oklahoma. It’s against the law!
Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa and grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma.
It is against the law to take a bite out of another person’s hamburger.
One of the most famous women outlaws, Belle Starr, is buried in an isolated grave southwest of Porum, Oklahoma, near the Eufaula Dam.
Tissues in the back of cars are illegal.
Oklahoma has four mountain ranges, including the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas, and the Kiamichis.
You could be fined or jailed if you make an ugly face at a dog.
Guthrie, Oklahoma, has the nation’s only museum devoted to the collection of lighters. Nearly 20,000 lighters and “fire starters” are displayed at the National Lighter Museum.
In Bartlesville, it is illegal to own more than two adult cats.
Tattoos, at one time, were illegal in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is one of only two states whose capital cities name includes the state name. The other is Indianapolis, Indiana.
It is illegal to read a comic book while driving a motor vehicle.
Clinton Riggs designed the YIELD sign. It was first used on a trial basis in Tulsa.
Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface acres of water.
In Wynona, mules may not drink out of birdbaths, and if you wash clothes in this avian spa, it’s also illegal.
Oklahoma has the largest Native American population of any state in the nation. Many of the 250,000 American Indians living in Oklahoma are descended from 67 tribes who inhabited Indian Territory in the 19th century. Oklahoma is tribal headquarters for 39 tribes.
One may not promote a horse tripping event or a bear wrestling exhibition in Oklahoma.
A frontier house of logs in Akins, Oklahoma, called Sequoyah’s Cabin, was occupied from 1829-1844 by Sequoyah, also called George Gist. Sequoyah, a teacher, invented the Cherokee written language in 1821.
The official State Meal of Oklahoma is chicken fried steak, fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, black-eyed peas, and pecan pie.
In Oklahoma, it is illegal for a bar owner to allow anyone inside to pretend to have sex with a buffalo.
In Bristow, Oklahoma, a woman was found in a chair severely burned with no damage to either the chair or her home. Reported to be spontaneous combustion, the poor woman lingered a few days in the hospital before passing on.
It is mandatory in Oklahoma to tether your car outside a public building.
NEXRAD (Next generation weather radar) was invented by a pair of professors on the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology faculty. The Operational Support Facility for the NEXRAD program is located at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, men arrested for soliciting a hooker must have their name and picture is shown on television.
Henry Starr, one of the last outlaws of the Old West, was from Oklahoma. During his 32 years in crime, he claimed to have robbed more banks than the James-Younger Gang and the Doolin-Dalton Gang put together.
Quapaw, Oklahoma, is famous for “spook lights,” bouncing bright balls of white fire reported as far back as the 1700s.
If you put the hind legs of a farm animal into your boots, you are breaking the law.
Bristow was the site of Oklahoma’s first radio station, KRFU, “The Voice of Oklahoma,” renamed KVOO and moved to Tulsa in 1927.
Milk is the official state beverage of Oklahoma.
It is illegal to wear your boots to bed.
The first Boy Scout Troop in the U.S. was formed in Pawhuska in 1909.
Philip H. Sheridan, George A. Custer, and William T. Sherman were the founders of the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center at Fort Sill. Fort Sill is the only active installation of all the forts built on the south plains during the Indian Wars.
If you have sex before you’re married in Oklahoma, you are breaking the law.
Billionaire J. Paul Getty began his oil empire in Tulsa.
Oklahoma’s state dance is the square dance.
It is illegal to cause “annoying vibrations” in the Bartlesville city limits.
Elvis Presley liked staying at the Best Western Trade Winds Motel in Clinton, Oklahoma.
It is against the law to bring an elephant into Tulsa’s downtown area.
While passing another vehicle in Yukon, it is mandatory to honk your horn.
The State of Oklahoma forbids women from doing their own hair without having a license.
Oklahoma has more miles of the original Route 66 than any other state.
Dogs who want to congregate in groups of three or more on private property must have a permit signed by the mayor.
The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw words okla, meaning people, and homa, meaning red, which translates to land of the red people.
In Wynona, your mode of transportation must be tied up while unattended.
Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, fathers of western swing music, began their careers in Oklahoma.
It is illegal to tether your horse in front of city hall in Yukon, Oklahoma.
Chester Gould, an Oklahoman, created the comic strip, Dick Tracy.
Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated December 2021.