Picture worth a thousand turtles

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Run. The Cherokee Strip historical society published a poster from an event held by their ancestor in 1933. It caught my attention initially because it was printed by Cromwells, where I worked in the ’70s. The poster is advertising a TERRAPIN DERBY to be held on the square. The picture explains how it worked: Turtles would be packed inside a circular barrier, then after the barrier was raised the turtles would start crawling outward. The first to cross the circumference was the winner.

“You can mail or express your terrapins to the Derby headquarters.”

Live animals were a major part of postal traffic, especially in rural areas. I wasn’t thinking about this fact a few months ago:


WPA was simultaneously creating new styles with its colorful impromptu rock arches, and conserving old styles by seasoning them with Deco Salt. I needed to do an example of Deco Classical for counterbalance.

This post office at Nowata is a perfect example of the style, but not really a Lost Place. The real building has been continuously used and maintained, and hasn’t been Environmentalized with teensy little windows. It looks the same now as it did in 1937.

The loading dock seems to be open in both the original and modern pictures. In the original it’s covered with something like a bug screen, but I don’t see any folding doors or rollup doors.


I was puzzled by the open parcel area, secured only by a bug screen. I wasn’t thinking about the bodies and emissions of chickens and piglets and turtles.

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