Wacky Facts about Oklahoma

By Judy Wade

Oklahoma has a rich history, and everyone should be familiar with the background of our great state. However, it is also home to some unusual inventions, facts and laws, and it is always fun to learn more about our state.

The shopping cart was invented here. The first one was actually a folding chair on wheels with a basket attached. With the coming of supermarkets, Sylvan Goldman saw the need for shoppers to have a convenient way to carry large quantities of groceries, thus the first cart. The aerosol can was also invented in Oklahoma.

The world’s first parking meter, called a Park-O-Meter was installed in Oklahoma City in 1935.

Oklahoma City was supposed to be located where Lawton is, but a major error by a surveyor moved it 100 miles north.

Women in Oklahoma had been voting for a year before the 19th Amendment giving women the vote was passed in 1920.

Spitting on the sidewalk is still against the law.

Oklahoma has a WWII submarine sitting on dry land in Muskogee. The U.S.S. Batfish sank 15 Japanese vessels and destroyed three enemy subs in 76 hours—a war-time feat not equaled to this day.

The Dust Bowl was devastating to Oklahoma and brought its own share of bizarre events. Hordes of rabbits and grasshoppers descended on what little was left of crops, completely destroying anything in the fields.

The horrendous dust storms caused static electricity to build up and could be seen jumping from wire to wire on fences. The buildup could knock grown men to the ground when they shook hands.

Static electricity can short out a car engine and radio, so drivers attached chains that dragged the ground to their back bumpers to ground their vehicles.

The first tornado forecast in the state was 1948 just before a tornado hit Tinker Air Force Base, causing $10 million in damages ($98 million in today’s figures).

The highest temperature recorded in the state was 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Tipton on June 24, 1994; the lowest -31 degrees in Nowata February 19, 2011.

Oklahoma experiences more earthquakes than any other place in the world.

Cimarron County is the only county in the U.S. touching four states: Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas.

Oklahoma is the only state to produce iodine.

We have 200 man-made lakes—more than any other state.

At one time or another, 67 Indian tribes have called Oklahoma their home.

WinStar Casino in Thackerville is the largest casino in the United States, based on square footage of gaming area.

Finally, Oklahoma City has the only state capitol with an oil well directly under it!