The Lost Empire of Greer

The Oklahoma Historical Society has two historical markers listed for Beckham county. Since these would be the closest to were I live in Elk City, I thought I would start with the one I didn't know, the "Empire of Greer".

After a brief Google search, I found an excerpt from the book, "Mark of Heritage" by Muriel H. Wright on the Fort Tours web site. It stated that the "Empire of Greer" marker is located on Route 66 in Texola.
The Empire of Greer

"This region was in land claims of 14 different governments from 1629. Granted Choctaw Indians by U.S. Treaty 1820, in meeting of Chief Pushmataha and Gen. Andrew Jackson, later U.S. President. Organized as Greer CO., Texas, 1860. White settlement began 1880's. After U.S. Supreme Court decision, 1896, became part of Oklahoma."

... The marker for the "Empire of Greer," or old Greer County, is on the One-hundredth Meridian, now the west boundary of Oklahoma,...
Oklahoma Highway Map 2004 - Texola
2004 Oklahoma State Highway Map (3.71 MB)
Texola is just across the county from Elk City, so Donna and I thought a brief road trip to the state line would be a nice diversion to a Friday evening.

Depending on which way you are going, Texola is the first (or last) town on Route 66 in Oklahoma. It's a small town with an approximate population of 50.
(More on Texola here.)

Taking exit 1 off I-40 we drove into Texola looking for Route 66 and the "Empire of Greer" marker. Heading west on Route 66 we found where we thought the maker would be next to the Texas border.

It wasn't there.

In it's place we found a dedication marker for the Will Rogers Highway.

Will Rogers Highway - Route 66 Marker
Originally uploaded by programwitch.

June 26, 1952, on this location, Route 66 was rededicated as the Will Rogers Highway. This was one of the many ceremonies that took place on the state lines of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California as well as Oklahoma, when a booster caravan traveled from St. Louis, Mo. To Santa Monica, CA. The Caravan was organized by the Natl. U.S. Highway 66 Assoc., Warner Brothers Film Studio, Ford Motor Company, and the Rt. 66 Associations from those eight states.

The original bronze plaque placed here to mark the dedication read:

Will Rogers Highway
Dedicated 1952 to Will Rogers
Humorist - World Traveler - Good Neighbor
This Main Street of America
Highway 66
Was the first road he traveled in a career that
led him straight to the hearts of his countrymen.
We even drove a mile into Texas and a few miles east of Texola on Route 66. We just could not find The "Empire of Greer" marker.

It started to get late and we were getting hungry. So we called off our search to head back home. We will need to come back to Texola and look around some more.

On a side note, Donna and I had dinner at the Rafter T cafe in Erick. (North from I-40 Exit 7) It was a good meal with friendly people and an interesting decor.

Historical note: Old Greer County was part of a long-standing boundary dispute between the United States and the State of Texas. Greer County, Texas was comprised of current Oklahoma counties of Greer, Jackson, and Harmon and part of Beckham. Greer County became part of Oklahoma in 1896 by a decision of the United States Supreme Court.
(More on Greer County, Texas here.)

So my first Historical Marker visit was a bust, but I did learn more about Oklahoma. Well at least I know where the other Beckham county marker is.

Next up, "Highway".