Exhibits & Upcoming Events
The Greater Southwest Historical Museum is the premier museum of south-central Oklahoma history. Exhibits at the museum have a wide range of focus and utilize many unique artifacts collected from around the area. Everything from an early electric car to one of the earliest examples of a steam-pumper fire engine can be found here. The largest artifact is the museum building itself. Built in 1935-1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) this imposing limestone walled structure was originally used as the local National Guard Armory.
Oklahoma Centennial Spudder Rig
Among the more impressively sized artifacts in the museum’s collection is its Wichita Falls Spudder Rig. This monstrous oil rig is located right next to the museum building and was widely used in the Ardmore area oil fields during the 1920s-1940s. The rig was moved to the museum’s grounds in June of 1990 and dedicated to the Oil Producers of Oklahoma.
The Spudder Rig employed four enormous wooden legs, two huge iron wheels with cable, and a tall wooden derrick. The power equipment included a steam boiler or a gas engine, a long walking beam to lift and drop the bit, and wheels with cables. The large bits were used to pound a hole into the earth to search for oil. As drilling progressed, the loose soil from pounding the earth was brought to the surface with a bailer and cleared from the hole. The bits were heated and reshaped as needed to continue drilling. This type of rig was very labor intensive and was later replaced with the more familiar rotary type drill.
The Spudder Rig was selected as an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission during the state’s centennial in 2007 and underwent rehabilitation and beautification work that was completed in spring of 2008. Be sure and take time to view this important part of Oklahoma’s ‘Black Gold’ heritage while visiting the museum!
Santa’s House on the Prairie, Dec. 1 to 4 and Dec. 7 to 11