Historical Marker Program
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Atlas F Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Site
Location: Beside OK Highway 34/U.S. Highway 283, immediately west of the Willow missile site. Willow, OK
To counter the Soviet Union’s Cold War nuclear threat in the 1950s, the United States government created the Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Twelve Atlas F Missile sites were built near Altus Air Force Base between 1960 and 1962. One of these sites sat immediately east of this marker.
The underground silo that housed the 82-foot-long missile here was 174 feet deep with a diameter of 52 feet. Connected to the missile silo by a tunnel was the underground Launch Control Center. A five-person crew lived there around the clock, ready to fire the missile. Once fired, the Atlas stored here was capable of reaching the Soviet Union in 43 minutes.
This missile site was attached to the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron at Altus Air Force Base. All 12 Altus-area missiles were put on alert during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. On March 25, 1965, the 577th SMS was inactivated.
The Atlas Missile program was a national security priority under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. The Willow Atlas Missile site played a crucial role in the nation’s Cold War nuclear arsenal from 1962 to 1965.
This marker provided by the CHARLES T. and MARY ELLEN DOYLE FAMILY.
Location: on OK-34A southeast of Willow
As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's program to stabilize blowing topsoil in the Dust Bowl, the Prairie States Forestry Project coordinated the planting of wide belts of trees from North Dakota to Texas. The first shelterbelt in the nation was planted on the H. E. Curtis farm near Mangum on March 18, 1935. For the next seven years more than 18,000 miles of shelterbelts were planted, including nearly 3,000 miles in Oklahoma.
Giants of the Great Plains
Location: in Granite, Oklahoma only 38 minutes south of Elk City or 30 minutes north of Altus
Will Rogers (face, 30' wide and 28' tall) was dedicated November 10, 1979, in recognition of Rogers' 100th birthday anniversary. This giant mosaic is comprised of 195 two-foot-square granite panels.
Location: on county road, two miles west of OK-6 north of Granite
Pioneers settled the Lake Creek area beginning in 1898. The consolidated Lake Creek School served area children until 1957. The community included the oldest church in Greer County, the Lake Creek Baptist Church, founded in 1888.
Location: on OK-44 near Lugert grain elevator
Frank Lugert, an Austrian immigrant, ran the post office, train depot, and general store in the town he founded after the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation opened for settlement in 1901. The town thrived until it was destroyed by a tornado in 1912. The original townsite is now covered by the waters of Lake Altus-Lugert.
Old Greer County
Location: on courthouse grounds in Mangum
The North Fork of the Red River was originally the northern boundary of Spanish territory after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The area between the North Fork and the main stream of the Red River became Greer County, Texas. However, in 1896, the US Supreme Court ruled that the main branch of the river was the northern boundary of Texas and Old Greer County became part of Oklahoma Territory.
Peace on the Plains
Location: at junction of US-283 and OK-44 near Quartz Mountain State Park
One of Oklahoma's most important peace conferences was held at the mouth of Devil's Canyon on July 21, 1834. It was the first meeting between army dragoons, led by Colonel Henry Dodge, and Plains Indians, and the first formal contact between the federal government and the Indian tribes of the Great Plains. The dragoons camped a mile away from the Indian village that contained more than 200 grass lodges.
The Battle of Saint Etienne France by the Infantry Division on October 8, 1918
Location: Veterans Park 410 N. Main, Granite OK
The 36th Infantry Division was organized by combining the Oklahoma and Texas National Guards. Sixty men that volunteered from Old Greer County were kept together and placed in the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion in that Division. On October 8th, 1918, these men fought on Hill 140 at Saint Etienne France. The Division suffered 1,300 casualties in the first day of fighting, which was the single day highest casualty rate of the war. After three days of heavy fighting, the enemy began to retreat, and one month later, the war came to an end on November 11, 1918.
Fifty-five other men from Old Greer County fought in the same battle with the 141st and 142nd Infantry Regiments of the 36th Division. One of these soldiers, Sergeant Samuel Sampler from Mangum, received the Medal of Honor for his action on Hill 140 as he fought alongside his fellow Doughboys from Southwest Oklahoma. These men were from Granite, Mangum, Blake, Reed, Willow, Duke, Eldorado, Gould, Hollis, Victory, Vinson, Blair, Altus, Elmer, Headrick, Martha, Olustee and Delhi.
This marker is dedicated on the Centennial of this historic World War I battle by American Legion Post 121 from Mangum and the City of Granite.
Location: 222 W. Jefferson, Mangum, OK
Captain William Thomas Ponder of Mangum, OK joined the Lafayette Flying Corps in France in 1917-1918. He was awarded five French Croix de Guerras and the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. Ponder outnumbered thirteen to one, destroyed one enemy plane, so demoralizing the enemy they fled back to Germany. Ponder married Jeanine Dezerville of Paris. They settled in Oklahoma and he became city manager. He later worked for Lockheed as a test pilot and instructor. He is one of the few aces to survive WWI.
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