Thursday, March 6, 2014

On A Clear Day....

... you can see Clearview!

I mentioned the other day that I had read some interesting things about Clearview, Oklahoma, one of the last historic all-black towns in the state.  Readers here will know that I've been trying to visit all of them.  When I have a free day I love to go rambling the back roads of this beautiful state, and seeking out the black towns is a perfect excuse, since they're all on the back roads and, frankly, not easy to find since most of them are almost totally abandoned and in ruins.

When I heard about Clearview, one of those towns which might be having a rebirth, I had to go see it.  So I gathered our little road trip crew -- Ron, Joe, and me -- and off we went!  The reason for Clearview's rebirth is explained in the Tulsa World article below.  I posted it before, but here it is again if you didn't catch it previously.

Of all the black towns I've visited, this was the most remote.  We drove down several miles of dirt (and mud!) roads before finding it.  The population of Clearview had fallen to 53 until recently it became 55 when a gentleman and his wife decided to move there and establish a Black Educators Hall of Fame in the Community Center.   It wasn't hard to find the Community Center in a town with virtually nothing but abandoned buildings, weeds, and ruins.  It was closed, as was everything else in the deserted town, so we drove around and photographed the following sites....
The faded Welcome to Clearview sign
 An abandoned saloon
 Ruins of another building
 A sign explaining the concept of All-Black towns

Our trip continued all morning and afternoon as we drove through Henryetta, Weleetka, and Wetumka.   Small towns in rural Oklahoma are both all alike and all different.  Since all three of us are observers of the unique and unusual, we love to explore and look for interesting facets of each town.  We concluded the trip with a great lunch at a restaurant called Kirby's Cafe in Okmulgee.  If you ever should find yourself in Okmulgee (which, incidentally, is the tribal center of the Creek Indian Nation), do stop in to Kirby's for a good  meal.

Home now, and shaking off the effects of 8 hours in the car.

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