Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 7, No. 1
THE DEDICATION OF THE MONUMENT ON BLACK MESA
Cimarron County, Oklahoma, July 4, 1928
BY CHAS. N. GOULD
Director, Oklahoma Geological Survey
Black Mesa is the roof of Oklahoma with an elevation of 4,978 feet, or nearly a mile above sea level. Pike’s Peak, far to
the northwest in another state, may be seen from the summit of the mesa on clear days, according to my friend W. E Strong.
Black Mesa consists of a tongue of black basaltic lava, half a mile wide, extending three miles into Oklahoma, which, during
a former geological age, was poured out as a hot, molten mass from a now extinct volcano located some ten miles to the west.
This molten lava evidently flowed down the valley of what was then the Cimarron River, blocking the channel and forcing the
stream to the south. Since that time this valley has been cut downward a distance of about 600 feet, leaving the black lava
as a protecting cap forming the mesa which stands sentinel over the valley of Cimarron River. Four miles north of the mesa
is a sandstone pillar which marks the northwest corner of Oklahoma.
It was in the summer of 1903 that I first saw Black Mesa. With a party of four young men, Chas. T. Kirk, Pierce Larkin, Chester
A. Reeds, and Chas. A. Long, students in the geological department of the University of Oklahoma, I was making a trip across
the plains in a covered wagon, following the Cimarron and North Canadian rivers to their sources. This work was being done
for the Reclamation Service of the United States Government.
On the evening of July 2, 1903, we had camped on Beaver Creek a few miles southwest of where Boise City is now located. On
July 3 we drove northwest across the plains. On the edge of the breaks of the Cimarron we came in sight of a long, flat-topped
hill lying away to the northwest. I remember that as we approached nearer we discussed among ourselves what made the hill
black, and finally decided that
it must be covered with cedars. But as we got nearer and nearer, we noted that it was the rocks that were black, and from
the general topography and nature of the hill we decided that it must be a volcanic mesa covered with black basaltic lava.
We made camp that night on Tequesquite Creek a few miles east of Kenton, and on July 4th, drove into Kenton, then the largest
town in that part of Oklahoma Territory, and camped on the Eddleman ranch between the town and the Cimarron River. I remember
very distinctly that a Fourth-of-July celebration was in progress, with rodeo, roping, horse racing, steer throwing, and other
forms of American sports. We spent several days in the vicinity of Kenton, and climbed the mesa at three places. Later we
moved camp up the river toward Folsom, New Mexico.
At that time we recognized the fact that Black Mesa was probably the highest point in Oklahoma, and made an estimate that
the elevation was somewhere about 4,800 feet, and recorded this guess in our note books. Some time later, in discussing the
matter with Fred S. Barde, a writer for the Kansas City Star, I mentioned the fact that my best guess was that the high point
of Oklahoma on Black Mesa near Kenton in western Beaver County was about 4,800 feet above sea level. This statement was published
in the Star. Some government man saw the statement and sent the clipping to Washington where it was adopted by the U. S. Geological
Survey, and for about a quarter of a century this guess of mine, made in 1903, stood as the official elevation for the high
point of Oklahoma.
In July, 1925, in company with Mr. C. L. Cooper, chief geologist of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, I attempted to correct
this measurement with an aneroid barometer. We made two trips back and forth to Clayton, New Mexico, the nearest railroad
point having a known elevation, reading our barometer as we traveled, checking for variations of temperature as best we knew
how, and arrived at the conclusion that the summit of the mesa, otherwise the high point of Oklahoma, was about 5,050 feet
above sea level.
It was not until the early part of the year 1928 that we were able to get correct elevations for this point. Mr. Frank C.
Hughes, topographer of the U. S. Geological Survey, and
Mr. J. A. Stone of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, spent some time in this region and carried a line of levels from an established
government bench mark, and determined that the high point of Oklahoma is 4,978 feet above sea level.
So that the dedication of the monument on July 4, 1928, exactly a quarter of a century, to a day, after I had first climbed
the mesa in 1903, marked the consummation of my endeavor to mark accurately the high point of the State of Oklahoma.
A number of years ago I conceived the idea of building a monument on top of Black Mesa to mark the high point of Oklahoma.
After the elevation had been established by Mr. Hughes, the matter was taken up with the citizens of Cimarron County, and
particularly of the town of Kenton which lies at the foot of the Mesa. The most hearty co-operation was given by all concerned.
During 1926 and 1927 I had had considerable correspondence regarding the building of the monument with Mr. John Skelly of
Wheeless, who was one of the early settlers in that region, and Mr. Skelly was very much interested in the matter and was
doing all he could to assist. Unfortunately, Mr. Skelly died during the winter of 1927. The chief movers in the matter of
the building of the monument were R. C. Tate, Ira A. Meyers, R. B. Eddy, J. W. Hadden, and Rev. W. H. Guy all of Kenton. The
greater part of the correspondence was carried on with Mr. Tate.
The monument was constructed of blocks of black volcanic lava or malpais laid in cement mortar. It is 5 feet high, 3 feet
wide at the base, tapering to 18 inches at the top, and is capped with an 18 inch cube of Wichita Mountain granite weighing
600 pounds, which was donated by Pellow Brothers of Granite, Oklahoma. On the east face of the stone is carved the elevation
of the mesa.
After a considerable consultation with parties concerned, the dedication was set for July 4, 1928. A letter was written to
Governor Henry S. Johnston of Oklahoma who entered heartily into the spirit of the occasion. He very kindly wrote letters
to the governors of the four states cornering near Black Mesa, namely, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas, asking each
to designate some citizen of his state to join in the ceremony. The governor of Kansas appointed Willard Mayberry, editor
of the Tri-State News of Elkhart.
The governor of New Mexico designated Professor E. H. Wells, president of the New Mexico School of Mines at Socorro. From
Texas came Mrs. Olive K. Dixon, wife of Billy Dixon the buffalo hunter who participated in the fight with the Indians at the
battle of Adobe Walls. Colorado did not send a representative.
It had been planned to hold the celebration on top of the mesa on the morning of July 4, and the citizens of Kenton had spent
considerable time and money in the attempt to improve the old road by which it was hoped cars might be able to make the ascent.
However, it was found by trial that on account of the steepness of the road at the place where it crossed the cap rock very
few cars would be able to make the climb. For that reason, it was decided at the last minute to hold the dedication in the
town of Kenton, chiefly on account of the fact that otherwise many people would not be able to take part in the ceremony.
People came from all, parts of western Oklahoma and the adjoining states of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. It was
estimated that more than 1,000 were present at the time of the dedication.
Hon. W. E. Strong of Boise City, former representative from Cimarron County, the owner of a ranch a few miles east of Kenton,
whose father had been one of the pioneer citizens of No Man’s Land, was master of ceremonies.
The order of exercises follows:
Call to order by W. E. Strong.
Invocation, Rev. W. H. Guy of Kenton.
The following addresses, given in the order in which they appear:
ADDRESS OF WELCOME
BY R. C. TATE
We have assembled this morning for the purpose, as you all know, of unveiling and dedicating the monument erected up there
on the summit of Black Mesa at the highest point in the great state of Oklahoma. Other speakers of the hour will give you
many interesting details in connection with this high point; the survey that determined its location and of what this monument
will mean to this and all future generations. In addition to that the position of Black Mesa in the
history of the Southwest will be brought out. I will therefore take little of your time but in these few brief words extend
to you a hearty welcome from every man, woman and child in this, the Switzerland of Oklahoma, once an isolated section of
old No Man’s Land, but which is to-day your next-door neighbor.
We want you to think of the Kenton area as your own particular playground and of this monument as something in which you own
I deeply regret that the soft condition of the grade on the recently completed road to the summit of Black Mesa has made driving
to the monument in cars inadvisable, but I sincerely trust that this handicap may be overcome in the not distant future and
that in the interim many of you may come back here during your stay, find time to visit the monument where a view worth all
of your efforts may be had for mile upon mile in every direction.
In closing I repeat that your welcome here is as boundless as the view from the summit of Black Mesa and as enduring as the
stone and concrete monument marking Oklahoma’s high point up there on its high-arched bosom. We welcome you one and all and
invite you back again as often as you will come.
THE GEOLOGY OF THE BLACK MESA REGION
BY CHAS. N. GOULD,
Director Oklahoma Geological Survey
If a deep well were to be drilled starting on top of Black Mesa, it would penetrate a number of different formations as follows
First, is the lava rock, otherwise known as malpais or basalt, upon which the monument stands, perhaps fifty feet thick. Next
in order would be a series of soft, white clay or shale beds with rounded pebbles of quartz and other hard rock, which geologists
know as Late Tertiary. This is the so-called cap rock or caliche which covers the greater part of the Great Plains of Texas,
Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states.
Beneath the Tertiary lies the Dakota sandstone, a ledge of heavy, dark-brown sandstone averaging 75 feet thick, which forms
the cap of the hills and buttes which may be seen up and down the valley of the Cimarron, near Kenton. Next in
order is a black shale containing oyster shells and other fossils, some 30 feet thick. This is known as the Purgatoire shale.
Beneath the Purgatoire shale lies the Purgatoire sandstone, a yellowish or white sandstone which makes up the greater part
of the hills and buttes in this region. The lower parts of these hills are made up of sandstone beds known as the Morrison
and Exeter. Below that the drill would penetrate sandstones and red and greenish shales, and finally enter the red beds.
All the formations I have mentioned, with a combined thickness of 500 to 600 feet, are exposed along the slopes of the hills
and buttes in the Valley of the Cimarron. If the well continued it would pass through red beds consisting of shales, clays,
and sandstones for many hundreds of feet. Salt and gypsum would probably be encountered in the red beds. Eventually at a depth
of somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 feet the red beds would change to gray shales and limestone with possibly some arkose
or granite wash and eventually at a depth now unknown the drill would hit solid granite.
So much for the formations that would be encountered by the drill down to a depth of perhaps 4,500 or 5,000 feet. Let us now
reverse the process, start at the bottom, and build up our geological section, trying to learn the sequence of geological
events that have taken place in this part of the Great Plains. The record of these events we may read in the rocks, partly
on the surface, partly from well records.
Our knowledge of the very early geological history of this region is obscure, just as is the case in the knowledge of early
human history. The farther we go back the more difficult it is to read the records. The reason of course is that both in geological
history and human history many of the early records have been lost, or obscured and covered up, and if present they are difficult
The primitive rock which makes up the greater part of the center of the earth is known as granite. In some places as for instance
in the core of some of the mountain ranges, granite is exposed on the surface. If a well is drilled anywhere on the surface
of the earth it will eventually penetrate granite. So that we may say with confidence, that granite is the base rock that
underlies all of Oklahoma, and the adjoining states as well. Granite is exposed on the surface in the Ar-
buckle and Wichita mountains of southern Oklahoma and in the cores of the high ranges of the Rocky Mountains.
We have very little record of what happened in this region during early Paleozoic times. Along the front range of the Rockies
and in the Wichita and Arbuckle mountains in Oklahoma, are ledges composed of limestones, sandstones, and shales of early
Paleozoic age found lying above the granites usually dipping away from the core of the mountains. Along the buried granite
ridge of the Panhandle of Texas, the deep wells find no record of these early Paleozoic rocks. We are therefore, at the present
time, not quite certain whether or not these older stratified rocks, lying above the granite would be reached by the drill
in the vicinity of Black Mesa.
We have found, however, from the records of deep wells, that at a depth of something like 4,000 feet the drill reaches limestones
and granite wash supposedly of Pennsylvanian age, this being the material in which the oil, and the gas have been found in
the Panhandle of Texas, a hundred miles or more to the southeast of this place. The various deep holes drilled in Cimarron
and Texas counties are said to have penetrated these rocks. What underlies these formations we do not definitely know.
Above the Pennsylvanian occurs a great series of red beds formations known as the Permian red beds. This is the formation
which occupies the surface in much of the western half of Oklahoma, and the Panhandle of Texas, and extends southward as far
as the Pecos River. From the nature of the red beds deposits we believe that they were laid down in part at least in deltas,
estuaries and shallow seas. These seas seem to have been retreating to the southwest. At any rate, one finds great quantities
of salt, gypsum, dolomite, and other evidences of aridity in these red beds. The great mass of the material, over 3,000 feet
thick in this region, is red clay shales with an occasional bed of red sandstone.
Geologists are not quite certain whether or not these Permian red beds formations outcrop on the surface in Cimarron County.
Some red exposures along the Cimarron River in T. 5 N., R. 6 E., CM., not more than 30 miles east of Black Mesa, are thought
by some geologists to represent the Permian red beds. Other geologists believe these exposures to be of Triassic age, the
Triassic being the next higher geological
formation above the Permian. Be that as it may, red beds of Permian age lie not far beneath the surface in the valley of Cimarron
Above the Permian lies the Triassic red beds formations, and these beds are exposed in many places on the Cimarron River west
of this point. These rocks are also often red, consisting largely of red shales and sandstones, but in general the color of
the Triassic is darker than that of the Permian, the Triassic red beds being more often of a maroon tint while the Permian
are usually brick red.
The formations heretofore described all lie beneath the surface in this region and for our knowledge of them we must depend
upon the records of deep wells. The formations described from this point on are all with one exception exposed on the slopes
of Black Mesa and other buttes along the Cimarron River near Kenton.
Above the Triassic red beds, there are two other formations usually considered of Triassic age. One is a shale formation usually
spoken of as the Kenton shales which outcrops in a few places in this vicinity. The place easiest to find is along the arroyo
which runs north in the west edge of the town of Kenton. Another place is along Carrizzo Creek north of Black Mesa. These
shales are variegated in color, chiefly maroon, greenish, and red. The next higher formation is the Exeter sandstone, a whitish
yellow sandstone which is exposed near the base of the various bluffs and hills in this vicinity. It also is supposed to be
of Triassic age.
Above the Exeter is the Morrison formation of upper Jurassic or lower Cretaceous age, which outcrops usually in the lower
one-half or one-third of the slopes of the various hills and buttes near Kenton. The Morrison consists of yellowish sandstone,
variegated shales and one or two thin beds of limestone.
The next formation in ascending order is the lower Purgatoire formation which consists of fifteen to fifty feet of white sandstone.
Lying on the sandstone is a bed of black, fossiliferous shale, the upper Purgatoire, about 40 feet thick. This shale contains
many oyster shells and other marine fossils. The Purgatoire is of lower Cretaceous age.
The heavy sheet of sandstone which caps most of the buttes in the vicinity of Kenton and extends east for 25 miles
or more is known as the Dakota sandstone. The Dakota is one of the most extensive ledges of sandstone found anywhere in the
United States. It was first named many years ago from the town of Dakota in northwestern Nebraska. It is exposed in South
Dakota, northwestern Iowa, eastern Nebraska across central Kansas, into southeastern Colorado and northwestern Oklahoma. It
is found in the extreme northwestern corner of the Panhandle of Texas and far into New Mexico. It also outcrops on the surface
in the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming and surrounds the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Dakota contains many fossil leaves, and a number of localities near Kenton have yielded these fossils. One good collecting
locality is on the eastern end of Black Mesa. These leaves are somewhat like the dicotyledons, or broad-leaved plants of to-day.
Such species as oak, willow, cottonwood, sassafras, sycamore, and elm are found in the Dakota sandstone, and also species
of trees not now living in this country, such as magnolia, fig, palm, and the Sequoia or big tree of California. The Dakota
formation is usually considered the lowest formation in the upper Cretaceous.
There has recently come to light in this part of the State one formation very common in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, but
not heretofore known in Oklahoma. This is the Benton, the next formation above the Cretaceous and is usually a gray shale
with ledges of limesone containing certain characteristic fossils. The Benton is exposed near the post office of Mineral,
some ten miles southeast of this place.
The various formations just described, Purgatoire, Dakota, and Benton, are all of Cretaceous age. All of these rocks consisting
of sandstones, shales, and limestones, were laid down at the time when the sea covered this region, the shales and limestones
being shallow water deposits and the sandstones representing ancient shore lines.
At the close of Cretaceous time this area was elevated above the ocean and has never since been submerged. During the next
geological age, known as the Tertiary, the Rocky Mountains were uplifted and eroded. Vast amounts of material were washed
out of these mountains and spread out as a great blanket of debris over the Great Plains. This material consists of sand,
pebbles, clay, shale, and some lime-
stones, and is exposed all the way from North Dakota to central Texas. It makes up the level upland of the High Plains sometimes
known as cap rock or caliche. There is no general name for the formation, but it is generally spoken of by geologists as Late
Tertiary. On Black Mesa a remnant of this formation may be seen just above the Dakota sandstone and underneath the lava.
The last scene in the geological drama of this region is represented by the rocks upon which the monument stands and of which
the greater part of the monument is built. I refer to the volcanic intrusions which occurred in this general region during
later Tertiary times. This was a period of great volcanic activity throughout many parts of western North America and western
South America. For some reason which no one thoroughly understands, but probably on account of the contraction or shrinking
of the earth, great masses of volcanic material were ejected from the interior of the earth, broke through the crust, and
formed volcanoes. One center of this volcanic activity was in northeastern New Mexico, and the remnants of scores of volcanic
cones are present in this general region. The largest of these cones is Sierre Grande, south of Des Moines, New Mexico, which
dominates all the landscape which may be seen from Black Mesa. The most perfect cone is Capuline, northwest of Sierre Grande,
which is now a national monument. The two peaks standing out on the plains which can be first seen by the traveler crossing
the Panhandle of Texas from the east are the Rabbit Ear Mountains, a few miles northwest of Clayton. All of these and many
others represent the remnants of volcanic eruptions.
Black Mesa, upon which the monument has been built and which is the high point of the State of Oklahoma, is a tongue of lava
averaging one-half a mile wide and transgressing for about three miles into Oklahoma. The source of this material is believed
to be the volcanic plug known as Piney Mountains or Bar-7-L Buttes, lying some fifteen miles northwest of this point. The
soft, molten lava which issued from this volcano when it was in action spread out in all directions and the material now forming
Black Mesa extended eastward down the slope of the country in what in all probability was at the time the valley of Cimarron
River. This material
hardened, becoming basalt or malpais. The bed of the Cimarron was shifted to the south, another stream, now known as the Carrizzo
Creek, came in from the north, and the valley of the two streams has since cut to a depth of something like 600 feet below
the point on which the monument is built.
BY JOSEPH B. THOBURN,
State Historical Society
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is always a pleasure to visit Cimarron County and to meet and greet its people. The open-heartedness of the great, wide
West is theirs and there is no mistaking its cordiality and its sincerity. I am not privileged to come out this way very often
but I have always appreciated each opportunity to do so when it comes. I also prize the friendships which I hold among the
people of this remote corner of the State, several of which have extended backward over a quarter of a century.
If I know myself—and I think I do—I am not provincial in spirit and sectionalism has no place in my ideals. Yet, I confess
to you that I have an especially warm spot in my heart for the Great Plains and their people. It is not that I entertain any
feeling of prejudice against other parts of this great land of ours, neither do I respect and esteem their inhabitants the
less but, rather, that I love the Plains and cherish the Plains people the more.
Eleven years ago, it was my privilege to visit the county-seat town of western Oklahoma county simultaneously with the arrival
of sixty-seven young men from all parts of that county, who were to entrain together for one of the great training camps,
where they were to be prepared to go overseas to fight their country’s battles in the great World War. The people of the whole
countryside, as well as their relatives, sweethearts, friends and neighbors, turned out to do them honor in a great farewell
reception. As I was unaware of all this when I arrived in the community, I was much surprised to find myself drafted to participate
in the program of that occasion by the delivery of a brief address. I protested that, while I sometimes made informal addresses
groups, schools, club meetings, farmers’ gatherings and other like assemblages, I had always passed up patriotic occasions,
not that I did not appreciate them but simply because I doubted my ability to qualify as a "spellbinder." In response to this,
I was informed that my arrival there just then was most timely, as the community was "shy on" local talent, at least for the
time being. So, on very short notice, I had to face an assemblage and talk about something quite out of the ordinary line
of previous public addresses.
When I faced that audience, it was to realize that a hastily formed outline of what I had intended to say had to go into the
discard, for, as I looked into the faces of those sixty-seven lads, lined up in double ranks immediately in front of the gathering,
I forgot the crowd behind them and I forgot what I had intended to say. Aye, there before me stood young men who had hardly
ever been away from home and mother overnight, yet here they had foregathered to go far from home and loved ones, to cross
the great sea, to go into battle and, it might be, "to keep a rendezvous with death." Sadness beyond expression and homesickness
that was incapable of description were plainly written on some of those faces. No, I was not there to talk to that crowd-I
was to speak words of cheer to those splendid young men who were answering their country’s call for service that might mean
for them "the last full measure of devotion." So, after a few brief words of greeting, I said
"There may be some young man standing before us who had a grandfather who rode or marched under the command of General Phil
Sheridan, during the great war in our own country which ended more than fifty years ago; or, again, it may be that there stands
before us some young man whose grandfather once faced General Sheridan and his army across on the other side of the field.
But, whether such a grandfather wore the blue or the gray, I am sure you will all be interested in a story which General Sheridan
is said to have related to Judge Frederick T. Dent, who was the father of Mrs. President Grant. It will be remembered that,
in 1870, General Sheridan had gone to Europe and, as a military observer, was attached to the headquarters of Field Marshal
Count Von Moltke, of the Prussian Army, during the course of its trium-
phal campaign from the Rhine to Paris. General Sheridan said:
’The German army seemed to win another battle every day. These victories were celebrated with banquets or dinners about every
other night, at headquarters. Field Marshal Count Von Moltke, Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm, General Von Steinmetz or some
of the other high commanders. Their armies were then campaigning in the very region where champagne was made and it flowed
as free as water. By the time such a dinner was ended and a few enthusiastic talks had been made, some of the young German
officers would be greatly excited. They would shout "Hoch! hoch. hoch !" and then they would turn to me and ask: "Now what
do you think of the Deutscher Soldotten as compared with the Amerikaner Soldotten?" Time after time and night after night,
for reasons of manifest propriety, I declined to discuss the matter, begged off, asked to be excused and even brusquely refused.
At last, one night, I suppose there must have been a little too much champagne, so that my tongue worked a trifle too easily,
so, in response to such an inquiry, I said
"Well, gentlemen, if you must know, I will say that we had a great war in America that ended, five years ago. When that struggle
was about half through, General Robert E. Lee, of the insurgent army, started north with a force of about 83,000 troops, every
man of them a seasoned veteran. At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he was confronted by a Federal army of 125,000 soldiers. Man
for man, it was nowhere near the equal of General Lee’s army, since it was largely composed of new recruits, raw levies and
it even included some militia organizations. But it was better equipped with arms and munitions and better provisioned and
so, after three days of heroic struggle, Lee and his legions were hurled back in defeat.
"Now you say that you have 500,000 men in your army and that you expect to be in Paris in six weeks and I judge, from your
present rate of progress, that you may be, but I just want to tell you that if General Robert E. Lee was between you and Paris
with an army of 83,000 Americans, you would not reach Paris in six months!"’ Then I continued:
"Now you boys are going over to make General Sheridan’s word good and we believe that you are the boys to do it.
True, you will not have the dauntless leadership of a Lee or a Grant, or of a Stonewall Jackson or a Phil Sheridan, but you
will have capable leaders and I believe that you will not only keep the Germans out of Paris but you will hurl them back to
Berlin if need be. I would not say a word against the men who are being inducted into the service from east of the Mississippi,
or even those from east of the Alleghenies, but, man for man, they are nowhere near your equals on the average. Do you boys
realize who and what you are? Fifteen to twenty-five years ago, your parents came out into what was then a bleak, inhospitable
country, to set up their altars and build their firesides and develop a wilderness. They did not face savage foes but they
were met by a hostile climate, that had the effect of sifting and sorting the hearts and souls of men and women. The faint-hearts,
the ne’er-do-wells and the failures eventually gave up the struggle and drifted back where living conditions were easier,
while your folks, who were the stout-hearts, the resourceful and the unafraid, were the stayers who made this land what it
now is. So you boys represent the survival of the fittest and we have no doubt as to what you can do or what you will do when
the opportunity comes for you to meet even an epochal crisis."
I wonder if it ever occurred to you that you people of this far corner of the State, while loyally devoted to the commonwealth
and its institutions, are really deserving of the distinction of a special appellation in the way of a generic name that shall
be all your own? If not, I want to bring the matter to your attention and, in a way, suggest if not confer such a distinction
at this time. I salute you, Oklahoma Highlanders! The name of a Highlander has ever been an honorable one in other lands and
I am sure that it will not be otherwise among those who are privileged to bear it in this part of Oklahoma.
I would be glad to talk longer to you were the time available. I congratulate you upon this splendid gathering and its patriotic
purpose. In conclusion, I want to thank you for your kind attention.
BY SENATOR W. J. RIZEN
Representing Governor Johnston
Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen. It has been assigned to me to represent Governor Henry
S. Johnston on this occasion, which is very unfortunate for you.
As we to-day place another milestone in the long road of industry, we are glad that we are in the line of march, with the
great industries of the world, and that we personally are present to help place this marker on the highest point in our beloved
State of Oklahoma, whose industrial development, has made such gigantic strides in so short a time as no other state has ever
done before. Our public schools, colleges and University, are second to none. All of which are the bulwark of our citizenship.
We are honored with the presence of one of the greatest geologists of the day, Dr. Chas. N. Gould, head of the Oklahoma Geological
We are also glad to have Professor J. B. Thoburn of the Oklahoma Historical Society with us. It is he who is recording the
deeds that have transpired in the silent past, as well as the present history in the making that they may be read and studied
by the future generations.
The industry of our state has rapidly increased since statehood. From a railroad standpoint the industry has increased from
a few trunk lines crossing our state, until now, every county in the state is served with a railroad, giving transportation
to all parts of our state, enabling the farmer to market every conceivable product of the farm; hauling tons upon tons of
freight, day after day, which helps the farmer dispose of his farm products, and enhancing the value of his farm.
Our Highway System. I helped draft when a member of the State Senate in 1915, the first road bill passed of any consequence
in the state which was the beginning of our highway system of to-day, which stands as a monument to the administration of
our State government.
We have splendid highways traversing our state from east to west and from north to south, and through every county and township,
facilitating travel in every direction.
We are no longer compelled to limit our travels to a small radius. Now, through our splendid road system, we have extended
the horizon of our neighborhood to almost the entire state.
And with the splendid program authorized by Governor Johnston, for the State Highway Department, will make this one of the
best places in which to live.
Governor Johnston is not only doing a great work in the highway department, but is deeply interested, in our public schools,
agricultural colleges and university. Also our eleemosynary institutions, where our unfortunates are well cared for.
He has ever been watchful of every industry of the state, holding down taxes and expenditures where possible. Yet not hampering
the progress of our farmers and stockmen on down the line of varied industries, for I place them at the head of the list.
With the enviable position which our state holds, with its fertile soil and ambitious citizens, the Panhandle of Oklahoma
is destined to be the greatest wheat growing country in the world. From a stock raising country, to this high station, she
has attained in a few short years.
I was asked by a State Senator, what we raised in this country, except rattlesnakes and prairie dogs? In 1926 there was shipped
from my town over three million bushels of wheat. Is that not industrial activity, in the Panhandle of Oklahoma?
How well do I remember when Governor Johnston and I were campaigning over the north plains and with what ecstasy he exclaimed
when he beheld Robber’s Roost and Black Mesa, with all its variation and contour.
When he would gaze far eastward, over the vast fertile plains, yet only scratched as it were, in the way of development. He
could visualize some day, a little Empire in the Panhandle alone.
It was those days of happy comradeship, I learned to admire Governor Johnston, with a vision, what the future would bring,
and his sincere, honest and lofty ideals, fitted him, for the high position which he now holds. Our friendship has been continuous
and one of great pleasure.
I am happy to take a part in this memorable occasion.
This monument will stand as a sentinel to those who come after us, when we are gone.
That we of to-day visioned a great future, for the Panhandle of Oklahoma.
BY WILLARD MAYBERRY
Representing Governor Ben S. Paulen
and the State of Kansas
Mr. Chairman and friends:
I am sensible of the great honor conferred on me in allowing me to represent the Honorable Ben S. Paulen, Governor, and the
great Commonwealth of Kansas on this memorable occasion. And for Kansas, herself, I can say that she is proud to be the sister
state of Oklahoma and to be included in the festivities at such a happy time.
My own personal pleasure in this program began some four years ago while a student at the University of Oklahoma, when I was
taken into the confidence of Charlie Gould, father of the idea which finds fruition here to-day. He told me all about Black
Mesa at that time and said that it was his dream that this lofty eminence should some day be crowned with a marker bearing
testimony to its significance. I exacted a promise from him that he would notify me should his dream ever come true and told
him that I would make a pilgrimage to the spot regardless of my location. Happily enough, when the summons came, I had taken
up residence within a few miles of the spot and lost no time in making the happy journey.
This morning as I swept along over the vast stretches of Texas and Cimarron counties with my good friend, Clyde Washburn and
party from Elkhart, my joy in the occasion mounted. The rapid progress and advance made in the country since my first visit
some twenty years ago; the amazing fertility of the plains and the enterprise of the inhabitants all served to heighten my
admiration for my new home and to increase my pleasure in the happy event about to take place. Upon arriving at Kenton, I
found my old friends whom I had known since childhood including Doctor Gould and Dr.
Thoburn, a zealous historian of my native state. My first intimate acquaintance, I might say in passing, with the science
of historical research occurred nearly twenty years ago out in Dewey County when I accompanied Dr. Thoburn on a trip out to
the home of an old Indian fighter and squaw man, a veteran of the battle of Adobe Walls, whom many of you no doubt would know
were I to mention his name. Certainly my enthusiasm knew no bounds upon meeting and conversing with these, my life-long friends.
Instinctively, the human race turns to the heights for inspiration and idealism. The lofty places of the earth fascinate us
peculiarly and symbolize the best and noblest in the achievements of life. Fortunate is Oklahoma to have a beautiful eminence
such as Black Mesa and fortunate is the State to have had among its pioneers the men and women that converted what was once
known as "No Man’s Land" into one of the richest and most beneficient territories within the boundaries of the state. To-day
as we stand here in the valley of the Cimarron and view the surpassing fertility of its soil and the illimitable sweeps of
its pasture lands, well stocked with blooded animals, we can incline our heads and thank an all-wise God and rejoice that
he has crowned the region with a mighty mesa toward which we can lift our eyes.
Better than the tremendous material resources of Oklahoma are her leaders in thought and action, and high among these stands
the author and originator of this program, Charles N. Gould, state geologist. I need not tell you people of the Panhandle
that Charlie Gould was instrumental in the discovery of the Oklahoma oil fields with their untold billions; that he was in
the vanguard in the development of the State’s other mineral resources, the vast deposits of lead and zinc and clays and pigments;
and that his knowledge of the topography and geology of the Southwest is second to that of no man living or dead. But I am
here to say that Charlie Gould’s labors in the development of Oklahoma’s mineral resourses will not hold a candle to his magnificent
service to the state in inculcating high ideals and a dynamic spiritualism in the hearts and minds of children and grownups
of this wonderful empire. And to-day as we dedicate this shaft on the highest point of the State, we can christen it symbolically
as the monument to enlightened leadership as typified by that
scholar and gentleman, Charles N. Gould, a product of a Kansas college, to make a provincial boast and take some glory to
ourselves of Kansas.
Kansas in hearty fellowship and enthusiastic admiration for Oklahoma sends these small specimens of Pawnee rock which is the
symbol of its glorious pioneer days and the guardian of the old Santa Fe trail. No more precious mementos of affection and
regard exist in the minds of true Jayhawkers. May they find a safe repository in the shaft emblematical of our sister state,
BY E. H. WELLS,
President New Mexico School of Mines, Socorro, N. M.,
Representing the Governor and State of New Mexico
As the representative of Mr. R. C. Dillon, governor of New Mexico, and on behalf of the people of that state, I extend cordial
greetings and good wishes to Oklahoma on this memorable occasion.
You are gathered here to-day to dedicate a monument on the highest point within the boundaries of your state, this being on
Black Mesa half a mile from the New Mexico line, and at an elevation of nearly a mile above sea level.
You are to be congratulated in thus giving publicity to one of the notable points in your state. It will be visited by thousands
of your own citizens and by visitors in the years to come, and their knowledge of the physiography and other physical features
of Oklahoma will thereby be increased.
This occasion should have special value as a means of strengthening the bond between the inhabitants of the panhandle and
the main portion of Oklahoma. The business interests of this part of the state are perhaps more intimately related to those
of New Mexico, Colorado and Texas than to eastern Oklahoma. This should not lead the people of the two separate geographic
units to neglect their mutual obligations and responsibilities.
In order that New Mexico’s participation in this dedication may be permanently recorded I am presenting a small cube of New
Mexico rhyolite from the Sadia Mountains near Albuquerque to be placed beneath one corner of the capstone.
On one face are inscribed the words "New Mexico." It is presented with the hope that mutual feelings of cordial esteem and
good will between the two states will always prevail.
BY MRS. OLIVE K. DIXON
Mrs. Olive K. Dixon of Miami, Texas, wife of William Dixon, scout, plainsman, and buffalo hunter gave a brief address commenting
on the hereditary friendships between the people of Texas and Oklahoma, and reciting various incidents of her experiences
on the plains, particularly in the matter of the dedication of a monument to commemorate the battle of Adobe Walls, where,
in 1874, her husband took part in a battle with the Comanche Indians.
DEDICATION ADDRESS OF BLACK MESA MONUMENT
BY REV. W. H. Guy,
Representing Governor Johnston
We have met on this glorious Fourth of July for the purpose of dedicating what has come to be known as the Black Mesa monument.
We who reside in this region are honored by the presence of the following distinguished guests
Dr. Chas. N. Gould, J. B. Thoburn, Sen. W. J. Rizen, Hon. W. A. Strong, Mrs. Olive K. Dixon, E. H. Wells and Willard Mayberry.
It is the purpose of this address to call attention to some of the noted places and to some of the possibilities within the
horizon of the Black Mesa. The spot on which this monument is erected is the highest point in the State of Oklahoma, the altitude
being 4,978 feet.
The surface of the Black Mesa is basalt rock or lava flow of exceeding compact structure, having the thickness of fifty to
one hundred feet; a width of from one-half to four or five miles and a length of fifty miles. It is as flat as a floor and
its height is six hundred feet above the bottom of the Cimarron River.
One of the possibilities of the future is that this fifty mile long mountain will be used as an airport with electric lights
on its entire length for the guidance of aviators.
Another possibility of the future is that on this long
mountain, there may be built, at comparatively small cost, a highway connected at Kenton, two miles distant, with U. S. 64
The 64 highway as now projected is receiving wide publicity through U. S. Highway 64 Association of which Major G. W. Lillie
(Pawnee Bill) is President, and extends from Little Rock, Arkansas through Guthrie, Enid, Guymon, Boise City, and Kenton to
Raton, New Mexico.
Imagine tourists and others seeking rest, recreation or diversion, visualizing from this mesa the scenic beauty of the Cimarron
Valley. Our scenery though not so massive, rivals that to be found west of us, in beauty. Looking southwest from where we
now stand there may be seen the following mountains: Rabbit Ears, Sierra Grande, Capulin, and if we would go two miles east
of this monument we would be on the east point of the mesa. Looking west and north there would come within our vision numerous
deep canyons, bluffs and buttes. Hidden among these is the old copper mine. Perhaps we shall stand above the very spot from
which the United States artillery hurled cannon balls into "Robber’s Roost," a mile east of the point near the junction of
the North Carrizzo Creek and the Cimarron River.
About ten miles east of the point of the mesa in a circular enclosure of about three miles in diameter is to be found what
is called South Park. Into this enclosure flow the Gallienas, the South Carrizzo and Water Canyon. To fully appreciate the
scenery of South Park, it will be needful for the visitor to traverse the entire region. On 64 highway, five to six miles
east of Kenton among the canyons and along the streams leading to South Park, may be seen the Old Maid’s Face and the Three
Between Boise City and Kenton, on 64 highway the traveler who will take the pains to look when on the breaks of the Cimarron
and some twelve miles south of the stream, will be rewarded by a magnificent panoramic view of canyons, mesas, buttes, and
a long drawn out profile of the Black Mesa.
It is likely that this last mentioned view cannot easily be surpassed for sublimity and beauty.
In the name of the people of Oklahoma, I hereby dedicate the monument on the summit of Black Mesa, the roof of Oklahoma.
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