Claremore needs a museum
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for this privilege. My name is Phil Johnson, I live at 16031 S. 4170 Road.
I am a retired pastor. I moved my family here from Tulsa during the ice storm of December 2000. We have enjoyed our life here.
We were pleasantly surprised by all Claremore had to offer: Factories, fine stores for shopping, good schools, a well-equipped and staffed hospital, and a well-stocked, friendly library, and later, the Robson Performing Arts Center, and the Northeast Technology Center.
And we love the many wonderful museums and landmarks here. We have visited all of them many times, and proudly have taken friends and members of our family there.
But we need one more museum! And that is what I appeal for tonight. Please consider making the entire old library building, recently vacated by the Fire Department, available to the Rogers County Historical Society for a much-needed Claremore Museum.
The Lynn Riggs Museum, which occupies only one small corner of that building, needs to be expanded and improved to give the great playwright the honor and respect he deserves.
And we need a place to rightly honor other Claremore celebrities who have contributed so much to this community, the nation and the world.
I am thinking of Clem Rogers, the father of Will; Clem McSpadden, statesman and cowboy, loved by all of Oklahoma; Andy Payne, long distance runner; Stuart Roosa, one of the many astronauts from Oklahoma; Patty Page, “the Singin’ Rage”; W. R. Howell, former chairman of the J. C. Penny Co., and Mrs. Sam Walton, who was born Helen Robson here!
I believe much of the work of renovation, construction, cleaning and moving for such a facility can be done by volunteers. It can be funded by private donations, grants, and perhaps even some government funds. At least give us a chance!
I can see the Grand Opening. With flags waving, bands playing, and lilacs blooming, a dignitary will cut the ribbon. Tour buses will park in front and school children and senior citizens will spill out of them! Inside, in front of each exhibit, sound bites in the deep, rich voice of Michael Wallis, a registered friend of the Lynn Riggs Memorial, will describe what they are seeing.
Let me close with these familiar words from Shakespeare in Julius Caesar:
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows. . .
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
I believe you have such an opportunity-- an opportunity to leave a legacy to this community for which future generations will remember you and thank you. I don’t know that anyone else at any time will have that same opportunity.
Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making tough decisions. Thank you for considering this request at this time. God bless you!
Rev. J. Phillip Johnson
Council had already made up their minds
I am a junior in high school, and also enrolled in a course at Northeast Technology Center called Environmental and Spatial Technology. Part of the course includes a community project. I have chosen to assist the Rogers County Historical Society in creating a Claremore Museum of History.
Tonight I attended a meeting of our City Council where leaders and members of the RCHS and I requested the Council to grant us the use of the old Will Rogers Library Building. We were disappointed when the fragmented and biased members of the Council, without any discussion, voted to renovate the building at the city’s expense and allow the Fire Department to move back into it.
It was obviously a cut-and-dried political move about which they had already made up their minds. We assured them that local business people were interested in helping fund a museum honoring our many outstanding historical figures. And in my project we were already exploring available grants.
It seems the Council does not care about students and young people like me, or the wishes of their constituents. We will not give up our goal, but this City Council has missed a great opportunity to leave a valuable legacy to this city. And I would only remind them that election day is coming, and a new generation with the ability to lead is coming on the scene.
Cooper R. Phillips