The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 5, 2011

Museum complex all about history in Waynoka

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

WAYNOKA — Waynoka is a small town in northwest Oklahoma that is home to a huge history.

Waynoka Historical Society, which is 25 years old this year, helps preserve and present the history of Waynoka and surrounding area.

“We operate the Waynoka Air-Rail Museum and the Waynoka Station Complex. It is right on the tracks, with lots of trains going by every day. It is on the main line from Chicago to Los Angeles,” said Sandie Olson, president of Waynoka Historical Society.

“Our Waynoka complex has the beautifully restored Harvey House. The Fred Harvey Company established eating houses along the railroad. Before him there was no eating places along the railroad. Our Waynoka Harvey House was built in 1910. It was operational until at least 1937. It was listed as one of the best Harvey Houses to visit in the U.S. last year. It is the only remaining Harvey House in Oklahoma, and one of only three in the country you can still eat at,” said Olson.

The Harvey House is an example of mission architecture. One room of the society’s Harvey House has been retained as a Harvey Girl bedroom.

Harvey Girls were women who worked in Harvey House restaurants and lived above them on the second floor.

Exhibits in the Waynoka Air-Rail Museum encompass a variety of Waynoka history such as pioneers, Santa Fe Railroad, Cherokee Strip, Fred Harvey, Transcontinental Air Transport and German POW art. The community and schools also are represented. The museum has rare artifacts, an extensive photograph collection and original art and art prints.

Besides running the Air-Rail Museum, Waynoka Historical Society owns a railroad store house, a former telephone office, a 1904 log cabin and a diesel locomotive.

“We are planning to repaint the locomotive in blue and yellow. We are looking for a qualified painter,” Olson said.

Information about Charles Lindbergh also can be found at the museum. Lindbergh, Olson said, chose Waynoka in 1929 to establish the first transcontinental airport.

“It was a stop on the line to go from coast to coast in 48 hours,” she said. “Amelia Earhart has been here and spent the night at the Harvey House.”

Waynoka Air-Rail Museum is open 12:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and any time by appointment. Contact Waynoka Historical Society at (580) 824-1886 for an appointment or information.

“We have a fantastic transportation history, and Waynoka also has other interesting history throughout.”