Tag: American West

The Oklahoma Panhandle: Creating and Settling No Man’s Land

 

I grew up in the small town of Optima, OK, which had 92 people, in the heart of No Man’s Land, the Oklahoma Panhandle. I’ve become curious how my home region became No Man’s Land, so I did some research. It turned out to be a story of how a series of unrelated decisions by the federal government, foreign governments, and American politicians affected a largely unsettled portion of North America and accidentally formed the land in which I grew up. Here is the story of each of the four borders of the rectangular Oklahoma Panhandle.

Source: http://www.emersonkent.com/images/us_expansion_1820_adams_onis.jpg

A Tale of a Real Shooting Railroad War

 

Railroad rivalries played a significant role in nineteenth-century US history. No rivalry was as intense or bitter as the one between the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, and the Denver and Rio Grande railroads.  At times it erupted into actual gunfire.

“From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West,” by John Sedgwick tells the stories of their battles. The stakes were high. The winner could gain access to the Pacific. Could, rather than would because other railroads sought to block the winner from advancing.

Sedgwick frames the story as a personal duel between two individuals: General William J. Palmer and William Barstow Strong. Palmer, a Civil War hero, had relocated to Colorado to build the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Strong was the corporate-minded manager of the Santa Fe. Both men had a vision of driving a railroad to the Rio Grande River and from there west to the Pacific Ocean.

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘The Woolly West’ examines sheep industry in storied region By MARK […]

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