Members of the Legislature traveled to Guthrie, the State’s first capital, for a joint ceremonial session on Thursday to pay tribute to Oklahoma’s one-hundredth birthday. The session was held at the Legislative Hall, now a part of the Scottish Rite Temple, where legislators met nearly 100 years ago.
Many of the legislators and other dignitaries, including Gov. Brad Henry and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, traveled from Oklahoma City to Guthrie on a special Centennial Train provided by BNSF Railway Co. Passengers were greeted at the Guthrie Santa Fe Depot by Guthrie officials, citizens and members of civic organizations, including the Guthrie Lions Club.
After a legislative luncheon, legislators, members of the executive branch and guests traveled by bus and trolley to the Legislative Hall where the session was convened.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan encouraged members of the Legislature to help build the foundation for an even stronger state in the next 100 years.
“Today we sit at a time when we begin our second century in Oklahoma, and to the members of the legislature I’d like to challenge each of you as we prepare to convene in February to remember and celebrate the past 100 years,” said Morgan, D-Stillwater. “But members, more importantly, let’s build for the next 100 years. Let’s recognize the prosperity and build on that, let’s recognize the opportunities that our forefathers have built for us and let’s build on that, let’s work together to make Oklahoma a better place for those who will follow us and just think 100 years from now they’re going to be sitting in this room thinking I wonder what it was like and we know.”
Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee said Oklahoma will continue to meet challenges with creative solutions.
“Oklahoma’s centennial is not just a celebration of our past, it is a reflection of our optimism about the new Oklahoma century,” said Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “Many of the challenges of the next 100 years will be different from those in Oklahoma’s first century - a changing national and global economy, an aging infrastructure, issues relating to water, global competition and education. But just as we always have, Oklahomans will rise to meet whatever those challenges are. Oklahomans should dream big about the next 100 years.”
House Speaker Lance Cargill also encouraged legislators to look to the future.
“We assemble here today as the representative body that’s going to lead our state into its second century,” said Cargill, R-Harrah. “We must live up to the expectations of those men and women who sat in these very seats 100 years ago and who dared to found a state based on nothing more than their own ambition and a prayer for help from an almighty God. We must look to those who will form the passion, the ambition, the talent of the next 100 years and begin to leave for them a state with as much pride and as much progress as has been given to us today.”
Special presentations were made by Scottish Rite Temple Executive Director Robert Hall, as well as by an actor portraying President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt signed the official proclamation of Oklahoma’s admission into the Union as the forty-sixth state on November 16, 1907.
Before the session adjourned, officials of the City of Guthrie were presented with the State Seal in acknowledgement of the city’s role as the first capital of Oklahoma.
The Seal will remain on display at the Guthrie Territorial Museum through Saturday, November 17, and then will be returned to the State Capitol in Oklahoma City.