KGOU

How Curious

Have you heard some story about Oklahoma and wondered if it was really true? KGOU's Claire Donnelly gets to the bottom of legends, rumors, tall tales and other curiosities about the state we call home in our podcast How Curious. Are you curious about something? Email Claire at curious@kgou.org.

Ways to Connect

Reynolds Ford in Norman is prohibited from selling cars on Sunday under an Oklahoma state law.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

KGOU listener John Potts noticed every auto dealership in the state is closed on Sunday, so he asked How Curious for an explanation. It turns out that Oklahoma is one of several states that forbids motor vehicle sales on Sundays.

A mysterious ball of light seems to appear and disappear on a road in far northeast Oklahoma. One listener who witnessed the so-called “spooklight” asked: Where is it coming from?

Wiley Post is seen in a 1921 mugshot.
Oklahoma History Center

Aviator Wiley Post gained global fame in the 1930s. He was known for smashing around-the-world flight records, but did he also spend time in an Oklahoma prison for a felony?

A woman with her land claim in 1889.
Oklahoma History Center

In 1893, an anonymous reporter from Kansas wrote about a town in northern Oklahoma  comprised entirely of women. But when he tried to go back to the site one week later, it was gone. Was this town real?

Land surveyor Aaron Morris stands with his equipment on "Magnetic Hill" near Springer, Oklahoma.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

On a special stretch of road near Springer, Oklahoma, it feels like gravity doesn’t quite work--  when you shift a car into neutral gear, you feel like the car is rolling backwards up the hill. KGOU listener Vicki Weiss asked How Curious: Does this spot really defy gravity?

OU researcher Miranda Vesy holds a Texas horned lizard, often called a horny toad.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

KGOU listener Gabe Denton remembers seeing horny toads all the time when he was growing up in Choctaw, but he hasn’t seen one in decades. Denton asked How Curious: What happened?

Photograph used for a story in the Daily Oklahoman newspaper June 28, 1984. "Tony Sinclair applies makeup in his dressing room."
Doug Hoke / Oklahoma Historical Society

Listener Daniel Humphrey heard Oklahoma City’s drag performances used to be famous nationwide and that celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson visited the city to see shows. So he asked How Curious: Was Oklahoma home to one of the country’s most renowned drag scenes?

KGOU listener Adam Cotton heard the famous “talking” horse’s final resting place is in the Sooner State. He asked How Curious: Is that true?

Highway 62, west of Hollis in southwest Oklahoma.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

George Bogaski is trying to walk the entire perimeter of Oklahoma, about 1,450 miles. Bogaski estimates he’s hiked about 25 percent of the total distance, and he has a tradition of smoking a cigar at each of the state’s corners. He’s lit up at all of the others--but could not find the state’s southwest corner. He asked How Curious: Where is the corner? Is there a marker?

Writer Louis L'Amour sits at a desk.
Unknown

Western author Louis L’Amour is said to have lived in Choctaw, Oklahoma during the 1930s and 1940s. One listener wanted to know if the rumor is true, and, if so, where exactly was his home?

Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce neighborhood was home to many listings in The Green Book.
Unknown

The Green Book was a guide for African Americans traveling during segregation. It listed businesses that did not discriminate on the basis of race. KGOU listener Luciana Simmons asked How Curious: Where were Oklahoma’s Green Book entries? Do they still exist?

The first QuikTrip store opened in Tulsa September 25, 1938.
QuikTrip

KGOU listener Nick Jungman  heard a rumor that an old agreement between business owners is keeping the Oklahoma-based QuikTrip out of the state’s capital city. He asked How Curious: Is this story true?

Oklahoma school districts 2018- 2019. Boundaries based on information provided by the Oklahoma Department of Education.
Center for Spatial Analysis / University of Oklahoma

Oklahoma has more than 500 school districts--up to three times more than some states with similar student populations. KGOU listener Beverly Funderburk emailed How Curious and asked: “How did Oklahoma end up with so many districts?”

 

A photo from the Daily Oklahoman in December 1964 shows a tower atop Byron's liquor store.
Dave Heaton, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection / Oklahoma Historical Society

Byron’s Liquor Warehouse in Oklahoma City has been around since the state legalized alcohol in 1959. Listener Adam Hicks heard the store had a machine gun turret on its roof in its early days. Hicks asked How Curious: Is this true? And if so, why did the business need a gun?

Workers use 200 sticks of dynamite to uproot trees as they start work on the Bluff Creek Reservoir, 1941.
Unknown / Oklahoma Historical Society

When John Hiller moved to Oklahoma City, he noticed a lot of businesses near May Avenue and 63rd Street have “lakeside” or “lakeview” in their names. His friend told him it was because developers thought Lake Hefner’s shore would be closer to that area. Hiller asked How Curious: Is Lake Hefner in the wrong place?

The dining room at the Masonic Childrens Home in Guthrie.
Dominion House

One night when Caleb Germany was in high school, he and some friends drove from Oklahoma City to Guthrie to see an abandoned building they had heard was a haunted orphanage. Germany asked How Curious: What’s the history of the building? Is it haunted?

Tri-State Spook Light booklet from 1955.
Sean B. Palmer

For years, people have seen a mysterious light appear and disappear on a road in far northeastern Oklahoma. KGOU listener Lora Nall asked How Curious: What is this light? And where's it coming from?

Woman on her claim in 1889.
Oklahoma Historical Society

A Kansas reporter wrote in 1893 he had discovered an all-female town in Oklahoma. But when he tried to go back to the village one week later, it was gone. 

 

KGOU listener Bart Varner asked How Curious: What happened? 

The Wewoka train depot in Wewoka, Oklahoma.
Seminole Nation Museum, Wewoka, OK

Frank Baker grew up hearing his family members use a specific expression. If something was messed up or shady, they would say it was "worse than a Wewoka switch."

He asked "How Curious:" Where did this slang come from? And what is a "Wewoka switch?" 

How Curious question-asker Greg Elwell stands outside Robert's Grill in El Reno. Elwell asked How Curious if it's illegal in Oklahoma to take a bite of someone else's hamburger.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

In our last episode, listener Greg Elwell asked How Curious if it was really illegal in Oklahoma to take a bite of someone else’s hamburger. This week, we have an update.

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