Saturday, January 4, 2014

Oh, Balls!

Bowling Balls, that is!

For a few years, I've heard rumblings from various quarters about a man in the nearby town of Nowata, OK who has an amazing collection of bowling balls.  This is not, as far as I know, the same gentleman who is building a bowling ball Peace Monument here in Tulsa on the Admiral alignment of Route 66.  I don't know if having a bowling ball obsession is an Oklahoma thing. Maybe this is common, but I've never heard of such a thing before.

Anyway. . . despite it being a gray, cloudy, windy day Ron M. agreed to be dragged along with me to Nowata to check out this phenomenon.   We were fortunate to find the place, guided by a crudely penned and well-worn sign on the corner of a country dirt road which we traveled for about a mile before coming upon the place. What follows are the photos we took at this rather amazing site.  Remember, it was a very bad picture-taking day.  After looking at these shots, please go to and see those taken in much more vivid color by the gentleman who I later found out is responsible for the creation and is named Chris Barbee.  That page also contains the history of Mr. Barbee's passion.  And passion it is!  I love folk art, and this has to be one of the most creative and labor-intensive example of such art that I've seen.

There was nobody in sight when we went there, but there was a sign at the entrance inviting folks to drive in and have a look.  Please remember to go to the link above, which gives much more detail to this interesting collection.  Mr. Barbee is also featured at   Although the yard is about 25 miles off Route 66 (nearest Route 66 town is Chelsea, OK) it might be worth the side trip for folk art lovers.  We certainly enjoyed it.


Trevor Hilton said...

I'm from Nowata County, up near Wann, and I never knew about that.

If you're ever in that area again, Nowata's First Presbyterian Church has a 500 year old stained glass window entitled "The Crucified Christ." Might be worth a visit.

Laurel said...

Trevor - We drove through Wann on the way home. At least the map said it was Wann, but there wasn't much there. As for the stained glass window, I remember seeing it on a previous visit to Nowata, but only from the outside. Stained glass is so much prettier when seen from inside. I'll have to do that some day because I love stained glass.

DennyG said...

Glad you found the balls. Looks like several things have been added since I was there in 2010. For example, I don't remember the bowling pin flowers being there.