A Landing a Day

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Big Cabin, Vinita, Spavinaw and Disney, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on July 14, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2356; A Landing A Day blog post number 787.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (36o 30.532’N, 95o 13.704’W) puts me in NE Oklahoma:

My very-local landing map shows my immediate proximity to Big Cabin:

My somewhat-less-local landing map shows the usual VP* of mid-continent small towns:

*veritable plethora

I know my readers are chomping at the bit to find out in which watershed I landed. 

Well, here you go:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Rock Creek, on to the Neosho River (6th hit).  Zooming back a little:

The Rock Creek is connected to the – Neosho and the Neosho is connected to the – Arkansas (127th hit) – and the Arkansas is connected to the – Mississippi (916th hit) – and the Mississippi is connected to the Big Gulf (1258th hit) – and the Big Gulf is connected to —  all the waters of the world!

I wonder what percentage of my readers get the connection to “Dem Dry Bones?”

Anyway, it’s time for the Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin to take its rightful place in NE Oklahoma.  Click HERE and it will be done.

GE Street View coverage of my landing is OK here in OK:

And here’s what the OD sees:

Sorry about that pesky train! 

I had the OD move a few miles SE to get a look at the Rock Creek, just before it enters the dammed-up Neosho:

Here’s the creek, much enlarged due to that dammed Neosho:

So I think this is going to be one of those little-bit-of-this, little-bit-of-that kind of posts.  I’ll start with this, from Wiki about Big Cabin:

In 2004 Big Cabin raised nearly three-fourths of its revenue from traffic citations for speeding. The state of Oklahoma enacted a law in 2004 that penalizes towns where the citation revenue exceeds 50% of the annual budget.

As a result, the town’s police force was prohibited from writing traffic tickets for six months.

Take that, Big Cabin and your obnoxious speed traps!  And BTW, yes, Big Cabin was named after a historic (but long gone) big cabin . . .

And then I saw that one Ralph Terry was born in Big Cabin.  He was a baseball player best known for pitching for the Yankees and giving up the 1962 bottom-of-the-ninth, World Series-winning homerun by Bill Mazerowski of the Pirates.

Sharing the “Notable People” billing with Ralph Terry is Grady Louis McMurtry.  Of course, I Googled him, and it got real thick real quick.  Check out Wiki’s intro:

Grady Louis McMurtry (1918 – 1985) was a student of author and occultist Aleister Crowley and an adherent of Thelema. He is best known for reviving the secret fraternal organization, Ordo Templi Orientis, which he headed from 1971 until his death in 1985.

So, I Googled Aleister Crowley, Thelema and Ordo Templi Orientis, and it got thicker and thicker. I started to copy some Wiki materials, but then realized that I was bored.  So as the editor-in-chief of ALAD, I made an executive decision to scrap this feature.  Here’s my two-sentence summary:

McMurtry and Crowley were very active in a mostly-19th century Freemason-ish secret quasi-religious movement. They took it very seriously, and dedicated their careers to promoting it.  Curious?  Hey, you’ve got a computer and know how to use Google.


Moving on to Vinita.  From Wiki:

Vinita was established in 1871 by Elias Boudinot (a Confederate General and politician). It was the first city in the state with electricity.

The city was first named “Downingville”, and was a primarily Native American community. It was later renamed “Vinita” after Boudinot’s friend, sculptor Vinnie Ream.

Vinnie Ream?  From Wiki

Lavinia Ellen “Vinnie” Ream (1847 – 1914) was an American sculptor. Her most famous work is the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. Capitol rotunda

Here’s a portrait of her with her work:

Peculiar, isn’t it, that a Confederate general ended up good friends with the creator of a Lincoln bust?

But the big story on Action News is that Vinita is the home of the world’s largest McDonald’s!

GE Panoramio shot by Robert E. Burke:

It wasn’t originally built as a McDonald’s, but they couldn’t resist the arch!

Spavinaw has one and only one claim to fame, but it’s a doosey.  So Big Cabin has Ralph Terry.  But Spavinaw has . . . Mickey Mantle!

And the two were teammates!  Mickey was a Yankee from 1951 until 1968 while Ralph was a Yankee from 1956 to 1957 and again from 1959 to 1964.

You can bet your bottom dollar that they exchanged stories about growing up in NE Oklahoma!

My final stop on this abbreviated tour (after skipping hookless Ketchum, Adair, Strang and Langley) is Disney.

Disney (named after Wesley Disney, an Oklahoma legislator) is geographically interesting.  It’s an island, created by the Grand Lake of the Cherokees, a reservoir created by the Pensacola Dam across the Neosho River.  Here’s a GE shot:

From Wiki:

When the dam was built in the early 30s, Disney was a different place—hundreds of workers, bosses, engineers, truck drivers, and all the services a large workforce would require were based in and near Disney.

Disney’s growth is limited by the size of the island and the technical difficulties with bringing municipal services across the dams.  Disney has its own water plant, no public sewer system (all septic), and no natural gas service.

Here’s a 1939 shot of Disney back in the dam-building heyday of the town (from TheOtherDisneys.com):

Something special was going on – I’m sure traffic wasn’t like this on a regular basis . . .

Here’s a GE Street View shot of the western-most spillway.  This spillway (along with the others) are bare bedrock!

Speaking of bare bedrock (which surrounds the island to the east, south and west), it provides a challenge for off extreme off-roaders.  Check out this video from RockBouncer.com (by Brian Lohnes), showing Bobby Tanner and his “death-defying” climb:


Here’s a GE Pano shot (by Tony E. Walker) of one of the spillways actually functioning as a spillway:

Staying with GE Pano shots, I’ll close with this reflective sunset shot over the lake by John Gibe:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day


2 Responses to “Big Cabin, Vinita, Spavinaw and Disney, Oklahoma”

  1. Steve Towe said


    This brings back memories. I lived in Vinita from 1982 to 1987. I was an engineer for Grand River Dam Authority, and my first project there was replacing and modernizing the controls for the powerhouse at Pensacola dam.

    The flow through the bedrock area when the flood gates are open is quite impressive when viewed in person!

    Our department got moved to Pryor a couple years after I started there, so for 3 years I passed Big Cabin every day on my way to and from work.

    Still enjoying ALAD!

  2. Jordan said

    Nice to turn an otherwise boring post into a good one fath. Mostly commenting though because I’m surprised you didn’t respond to Steve! Seems like you guys would be friends. As you can see, I’ve been maintaining my ~7 months behind schedule rate.

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