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CANNONBALL (RIVER ROCK) ARCHITECTURE

Cannonball architecture Medicine Park

In 1911 a cobblestone marker recognizing the first parade grounds was erected on Fort Sill north of Lawton. During the same year Boulder Cabin, constructed with the same materials, was erected in the present Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Three years later the hotel at nearby Medicine Park was built with the small pink granite cobbles, or river rock, and began the legacy of cannonball architecture in the Wichita Mountains area. Through the 1910s and 1920s soon-to-be senator Elmer Thomas spearheaded the building of the Medicine Park resort, replete with dozens of cobblestone cabins and public buildings and recreational facilities.

Cannonball architecture, Wichita Natl. Forest gate

By the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps adopted this architecture as they erected nearly a dozen buildings on the refuge. Cobblestone structures sprang up to the north and west, at the old Victory schoolhouse, and the O'Pry grocery building, and on numerous farms and ranches in the Slick Hills. Through the 1970s and 1980s many of these fell into disrepair. By the 1990s the renowned architecture became a magnet for community and landscape revitalization in Medicine Park and the surrounding area, indicating its uniqueness to southwestern Oklahoma and its important place in the state's landscape.

SEE ALSO: ARCHITECTURE, FOLK ARCHITECTURE, FOLKLIFE.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Peter J. McCormick, "River Rock Resort: Medicine Park's Landscape and Wichita Mountain Vernacular Architecture," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 75 (Fall 1997).

Peter J. McCormick

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