Our pioneers road trip to Oklahoma took us to Pawhuska, Bartlesville, Dewey and began in Ponca City at the Pioneer Woman Museum. For everything Amory and I have gone through and learned on our own (you can read more on my store here) walking through the museum doors with the inscription “I SEE NO BOUNDARIES” emblazoned on the overhang over the entrance was quite moving.
During my marriage we really did not travel, my ex-husband liked to stay home and keep us home. A few trips were made – I can count them on one hand and have fingers left over. Now that we are free, our plans are for Amory and I to see ALL THE THINGS! So, to start our trip with the words “I SEE NO BOUNDARIES” and a museum dedicated to woman who changed the face of Oklahoma history and in turn our nation’s history was almost overwhelming.
Pioneer Woman Museum
Outside of the Pioneer Woman museum stands “Confident”, the pioneer woman statue standing seventeen feet tall and weighing twelve thousand pounds. Standing atop a quarry-stone pyramid base, she rises to a total of thirty-three feet.
In 1926 Ernest Whitworth Marland, an oilman, philanthropist, US Congressman, and the tenth governor of Oklahoma began a project to build a monument to the disappearing West. He commissioned twelve 3-foot sculptures that were submitted by United States and international sculptors as models for the Pioneer Woman statue. Marland told the sculptors to pay tribute to “the pilgrim mothers, the Puritan women, the mothers of the south, the sturdy broods.” The sculptures that were submitted were
“Protective” by John Gregory
“Determined” by Maurice Sterne
“Challenging” by H.A. MacNeil
“Affectionate” by James E. Fraser
“Self-Reliant” by A. Stirling Calder
“Fearless” by Wheeler Williams
“Heroic” by Mario Korbel
“Adventurous” by F. Lynn Jenkins
“Sturdy” by Mahonri Young
“Faithful” by Arthur Lee
“Trusting” by Jo Davidson
“Confident” by Bryant Baker
Bryant Baker’s was chosen after the small statues traveled the United States and his received the most votes. Bryant Baker said of “Confident”, “. . . the woman was to me the courageous character marching out, carrying all her worldly belongings, her bible, and her son, the man of tomorrow to a new life . . . She is the abstract, beautiful, ideal woman of the spirit of great faith and hope.”
“Confident” was dedicated and set in place with a ceremony on April 22, 1930.
I admire the names they gave these pioneer women. Traits I know that the women of the young state of Oklahoma had. But I think they apply to women throughout history too. Protective, Determined, Challenging, Affectionate, Self-Reliant, Fearless, Heroic, Adventurous, Sturdy, Faithful, Trusting, and Confident.
The gift shop at the Pioneer Museum was filled with vintage items, gifts and quilted items. Amory and I could not pass up a quilted pig pillow. The best part about the pig pillow and the other items in the gift shop were that they were made by and benefit a special organization of ladies that embody those pioneer women traits and instill them in others. Soroptimist International of Ponca City is part of a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. Soroptomist loosely translated in Latin ”best for women”.
The 12 original statues are in the museum at Woolarac (see more about Frank Phillips and our visit to Woolarac here) and you can see and feel the spirit of the trait they are given.
Marland Mansion and the Marland Grand home
After the Pioneer Museum we visited “the Palace on the Prairie”, the Marland Mansion. Although it is two blocks from the museum and on beautiful grounds, not the prairie! It was a stunning mansion with gorgeous architecture and craftsmanship – the guidebook given to you for a self-tour is well laid out and full of details.
Amory and I had a picnic lunch on the grounds before heading to the Marland Grand Home to learn about the history of the Marland family and see Western and Native American art of Oklahoma.
Sign up to receive your travel guide for the Pioneer Road Trip with all the sites in the cities of Ponca City, Pawhuska, Bartlesville and Dewey here. You’ll find everything you need – links, addresses and phone numbers – to make your own visit to Oklahoma so easy to plan!