Senator Charles Ford announced the dedication of another original painting depicting a moment in Oklahoma’s rich history. The painting, titled “The Butterfield Stage at Boggy Creek” by artist Joe Beeler of Sedona, Arizona, was unveiled during a ceremony in the Senate Chamber this afternoon.
“This is an exceptional piece that displays the simplicity of an earlier time, a time with no automobiles or planes,” said Senator Ford, President of the Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. “It’s an interesting story about one of the first postal delivering services in the U.S. Few people realize that Butterfield Stage had major stops in southeastern Oklahoma.”
The Butterfield Overland Mail Company was formed in 1858 when John Butterfield won a government contract to carry mail from St. Louis to San Francisco twice a week. Boggy Depot was one of the stops in Oklahoma for the stage line.
When the citizens of Texas voted to secede from the Union, the southern mail route was discontinued in favor of a more northerly route, but the old Butterfield Road was later used by both the Confederate and the Union armies.
“Boggy Depot remains a major tourist attraction. Not only was it the site of the depot, but it’s where our state’s name was born,” said Ford. “Boggy Depot was home to Chief Allen Wright, principal chief of the Choctaw Nation, who suggested the word “Oklahoma” or “Home of the Red Man” in 1866 as the name for the proposed Indian Territory; and in 1907, it became the official state name.”
The painting is a gift from William E. Lobeck and wife, Kathryn Taylor. Lobeck is President and CEO of Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. and the operator of National and Alamo car rental companies. Kathryn Taylor currently serves as Secretary of Commerce and Tourism for the State of Oklahoma. The couple has always taken a substantial interest in promoting art in the state. They both serve on the Board of Directors of the Philbrook and Gilcrease Museums of Art.
The artist, Joe Beeler is considered a pioneer in the field of Western art. In 1965, Joe Beeler helped found the Cowboy Artists of America, the organization credited with inspiring the popularity of west art today. His art has been exhibited in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Charles M. Russell Museum, the Heard Museum, and the Institute of Texas Cultures, among others.
Special guests, Clarke and Jacqueline McEntire attended the ceremony. The historical mail route runs through the middle of their ranch in Stringtown. The McEntire’s are the parents of internationally-renowned country singer, Reba McEntire.
The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund dedicated the artwork to the memory of Joe’s wife, Sharon Beeler, who passed away earlier this month.
This and other art commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. can be found on the Internet at: http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/senate/welcome.html.