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Ozark Trail Obelisk

County Rd. #E0890 & N3540 Rd., Stroud, OK

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The original 1926 alignment of the Mother Road followed the then current path of the Ozark Trail from Stroud to Davenport. About 3.5 miles west of Stroud you come to this Ozark Trail obelisk,originally called a pyramid.

GPS: 35.724107, -96.698476

The section of road from the obelisk going 1.3 miles west to the Dosey Creek bridge, at the railroad tracks also includes a small stone box drain and a large stone box drain and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

About the obelisk, the story goes that in early 1920 it was built in Stroud, right smack in the center of the intersection of 3rd (Route 66) and 8th. That intersection was chosen because it was where two alignments of the Ozark Trail crossed. That part of the story is supported by newspaper articles from the time.

The story continues that after the increase of traffic that came with Stroud's 3rd Street becoming part of Route 66 in 1926 the obelisk became a traffic hazard and was moved to this location sometime after 1926.

But why here? Well in the November 29, 1920 the Stroud Democrat newspaper carried a story about a smaller marker being erected

"... west of Stroud where the trail to Prague leaves the main trail."

The National Register of Historic Places nomination form says this is that spot. Prague is few miles to the south from here so it kind of makes sense that if they had to move this thing, this would be a likely spot to relocate it to and at the same time replace the smaller marker that was here.

Exactly how and when it was moved is still a mystery to me. This thing is made of concrete, is 21 feet tall with a base that is 4 feet square. In town that base extended 5 feet down into the ground to rest on solid rock. I'm guessing a local farmer didn't just toss the whole thing in the back of his Model T Ford pickup and haul it 3 or 4 miles down what was at best a gravel and/or dirt road.

Typically other Ozark Trail town names would have been painted on the sides of the obelisk as well as the miles to those towns. There were 21 of these things spaced out along the Ozark Trail and placing them in the center of an intersection was apparently the normal practice. This is the only one left on Route 66 in Oklahoma.

Directions: Taking the 1926 alignment of 66 west from Stroud go south on 8th Ave/US377/Hwy99 to Central St, then go west on Central and curve left unto Old Stroud Rd. At the next crossroad go west on E0880 Rd. to Ozark Trail Rd, Turn south on Ozark Trail Rd/N3540 Rd to E0890 Rd. The Obelisk is at this triangle. Then go west on E0890 Rd and connect with newer Route 66 into Davenport.

The Obelisk stands in the grassy center of a wye in the road. As you can see the graffiti artists have been busy turning it into a work of public art. I believe the graffiti shown has been painted over with white. But as these things go, the white has probably been replaced by more graffiti

Near the top you can see four electric boxes where lights were placed on each side to illuminate the obelisk at night. At the very top of the peak there is another electric connection box where a beacon was attached.

Apparently there is some debate about whether this obelisk was moved to this spot from Stroud or if it was simply built here. The electrical connection boxes shown here are pretty convincing evidence, to me anyhow, that the obelisk was moved to this location. If the obelisk was moved in the 1920s it is unlikely that there was any electricity available at a location as remote as this, so why include the electric connection boxes? For reference, the Rural Electrification Act wasn't passed by the U.S. Congress until 1936.

Photo(s): 2016



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.