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What's a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? - Pawhuska, OK I often ask myself that very question. How in the world did I ever end up someplace so beautiful

Pawhuska Area Insight

  • Kelly Hurd
    RE/MAX Results
    I often ask myself that very question. How in the world did I ever end up someplace so beautiful and so western, where it just seems like a perfect fit? Every day when I wake up, I sip my coffee slowly to window views of gorgeous Osage County sunrises where the grass is green and the trees are tall and straight amongst rolling hills.

    No mesquites. Now, if you understand that comment, there's a good chance you're from my old stomping grounds down south of the Red. Where I came from in Texas is home to some wonderful ranching country and friendly folks, but we have this tree down there that grows more like a weed with long thorns on it. The Mesquite trees in Texas almost suck the life right out of the ground in the summertime - and you just almost can't get rid of them. Tree weeds - that's what they are.

    Anyway, you won't find mesquites in the Osage. Just beautiful tall Postoaks and the like. I'm telling you, if we'd have known Oklahoma had country like this, we wouldn't have made quite so many trips to New Mexico or Colorado just looking for some green in the sweltering summers where the grass cures out and turns a burnt beige before the end of May in North Central Texas.

    Osage County, Oklahoma is a hidden paradise of flowing water, rolling topography, belly-deep grass, and fat cattle, and inhabited by some of the best salt-of-the-earth folks you'll ever find!

    Wanting to plant roots or expand your vistas? Before you settle down anywhere else, explore Osage County - you'll be glad you did! Points of interest would include Frank Phillips' historic ranch and a 50,000-square-foot world-class museum out at Woolaroc, The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in downtown Pawhuska, beautiful Osage Hills State Park, the Tulsa Botanic Garden, and Lake Skiatook's CrossTimbers Marina with boat rentals and more!
  • Kelly Hurd
    RE/MAX Results
    Ask Kelly a question about Pawhuska.
    Pawhuska, OK
    It was the week of Halloween, and the Constantine Theater was showing The Wizard of Oz on the big screen! As I loaded up on popcorn and Milk Duds from the backroom, old-timey concession stand, I had the thought that when this “There’s No Place Like Home” classic first came out in August of 1939, the Constantine probably looked just like it looked tonight. Same stage, same lights, same tile… As I strolled down the aisle and situated myself on a squeaky theater seat, thoughts of my mother telling me stories about her and her sister running home from the movie theater back in the day – scared the witch and her monkeys were after them - made me smile. Even the cost to see the movie fit the days of old. I believe I only paid $3 – and this was only about three years ago. Believe it or not, tickets to the very first live performance in the Constantine back in December of 1914 ranged in price from $2 - $4, while a silent movie ticket was about a quarter. What was expensive seven years post-statehood, is now a heck of a deal!

    In fact, every year during the Christmas season, the Constantine shows a Christmas classic movie – for free! Santa Claus is usually in the lobby visiting with kids and parents alike, and then you’ll see the lights dim, smell the popcorn, and hear the music start as families make their way to their seats for the show. This is Pawhuska at its best. I’m tempted every time I’m in there to climb up on stage, take the mic and belt out a little Willie Nelson, “Hello Walls – (hello, hello)” and see if they answer me back. Partly because it’s been said thru the years that the Constantine is haunted and partly because - can you just imagine the tales they could tell if they would?!?! Why the flood of 1915 tried to take it out, but the Constantine survived. Imagine the backstage chatter of the vaudeville acts and touring stage companies from the early 1900s. How about the conversations between oil tycoon legends like Phillips and Marland as oil leases were auctioned off to the tune of a million dollars? I can almost hear the gasps from the crowd as well as the cheers. Add to the list - operas, church services, and even boxing matches. Oh, if walls could talk…

    Before the Constantine was a theater, it was first an Osage hotel in the late 1800s. Sometime between 1906 and 1911, it is said that a man by the name of Dan Parker was shot just outside the hotel doors. Murder was no stranger in Osage County in the early 1900s. While yes, this was still - or had recently been known as Indian Territory – it carried the spirit of the wild west and etched some painful marks on the sands of time. What would they reveal, if walls could talk???

    As oil was creating barons, Charles Constantine purchased the hotel in 1911, added on to it, and turned it into the “Finest Opera House in the Southwest” according to the Sequoyah National Research Center. Then in 1926, Mr. Constantine sold the theater to a Mr. Abbott. It changed hands several times through the following years while still remaining a theater but finally closed in the 1970s, left to sit alone in silence for over a decade. Nothing but the past echoed off the walls in this historic relic. During this period, the City of Pawhuska acquired the building.

    Finally, in the late 1980s, a group of visionaries came together to make a difference in Pawhuska and set their sites on the old Constantine Theater. Funds were raised and restoration endeavors took place that once again had the doors open to the public. Mr. Garrett Hartness was the theater director when I first arrived in Osage County, and it was obvious he poured his heart into preserving the history and heart of the theater. Annual ballet performances, theatrical productions, live music, and more began taking place – bringing life back to 110 West Main Street.

    Just last year during the downtown filming of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” (a yet-to-be-released Martin Scorsese movie starring Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio about the 1920s in Osage County), the Constantine Theater hosted cast and crew. It was like the clock had been turned back to the days of the oil boom as actors in their costumes were coming in and out of the theater all during the day and night. Locals and tourists alike lined the streets just hoping to get a glimpse of the star-studded cast. The movie theater became the host to the movie stars, in person. If walls could talk…

    The good news is, that life continues at the Constantine Theater, thanks to one group of visionaries handing off the baton to the next generation - who is running strong and continuing the race. Focus has recently turned towards making The Constantine more of an event center available for private bookings and community events. The orchestra pit has recently had decking put in place to cover it without permanently altering the historic integrity, to allow for dancing at music events. Board treasurer, Steve Overacker, listed several upcoming events already on the books for the second half of 2022, including a New Year’s Eve blowout party. When asked about the future goals of the current board, Overacker stated, “Success would be when people say we are going to go to a show at the Constantine and while we’re there, we’ll go over to The Mercantile… and to make the Constantine the Cain’s of Osage County,” placing the theater as a major draw for tourism due to the quality of entertainment that would consistently remain family-friendly.

    Here we are, one hundred eleven years later, and Mr. Constantine’s vision continues to thrive in downtown Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma where music, laughter, and tall tales continue to echo off the walls of the historic Constantine Theater. One thing is for certain, this relic turned relevant hasn’t seen its last curtain call yet, and if the walls could indeed talk, I think you’d hear them whisper, “The Show Must Go On” – and it is…
  • Kelly Hurd
    RE/MAX Results
    “Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River. Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, growin’ like a breeze. Country roads take me home to the place I belong.” No, that’s not it… How about, “Rocky Mountain High, in Colorado... Rocky Mountain High, in Colorado.” Yes! That’s the one I’m looking for! I knew it was a John Denver song that captured the feeling I had when I first met Neil and Teresa Fisher, our newest attraction owners in Osage County.

    Out west of Pawhuska on Highway 60, the Old West Buffalo Co. has staked their claim and we think, will soon hit pay dirt on their Oklahoma sod due to their one-of-a-kind experience offered on their homestead.

    Coming to Osage County from Colorado, the Fishers are new to the territory. Due to extreme Covid restrictions last year in the Rocky Mountain state, Neil and Teresa began exploring other locations for their Buffalo Company – and one day when driving through Pawhuska, it was as if their country roads had just led them “home” to the place they belong. We here in the Osage think it’s a perfect fit as well.

    Just four miles west of Pawhuska, keeping with the old-west theme, the Fishers have constructed an event venue that resembles a town from a black and white Ben Johnson/John Wayne western. Inside is a large open great room with a loft. This huge open room is equipped with tech sure to suit any event planner’s vision. From a mounted projector with a drop-down big screen to a sound system designed for quality – this old west venue is versatile and stylish, teched-up and equipped, but surrounded by western elegance with a simplistic style that makes a statement. Large elaborate chandeliers cascade from the tall black ceilings and pop off the vintage wood walls. A large rustic fireplace enhances the welcoming atmosphere in the room, almost upstaging the views invading from portals on the south wall where pasture and bison dance together in the Oklahoma breeze.

    Not only can you host your own event at the Old West Buffalo Company, but history and adventure can also be experienced on one of their “tours” through time and pasture. Telling the story behind the preservation of America’s bison, Neil and Teresa have written and produced an entertaining documentary involving men such as Theodore Roosevelt and Charles Goodnight. Visitors get to enjoy the show and tour their hall of fame before loading up for a good old-fashioned hay wagon ride through the pasture where the bison come right up to the wagon for interaction with their latest visitors! From the safety of an elevated wagon, folks can actually have an up-close experience with one of this country’s greatest animals.

    In addition, the Fishers have a “General Store” in their old west town, where bison meat is available for purchase. The General Store has a farm-to-table feel with country charm in abundance.

    Come have your own Old West Buffalo Co. experience and see if you don’t get the same impression I did upon meeting the Fishers. They’re like a cool breath of some fresh Colorado mountain air right here on the prairie of Osage County, Oklahoma. To book an event or an experience, connect with Old West Buffalo Co. on Facebook and on their website listed below.
  • Bad Brads B-B-Q in Pawhuska is a great place to stop and eat. Frequently you can see friendly motorcycle enthusiasts parked out front as they know a good place to stop and eat. The BBQ here is excellent and the waitstaff will treat you like family. There is sassy and friendly banter making you feel right at home. Great folks-great food!! How can you go wrong? So give this place a try sometime when you are out exploring the northwestern corner of Oklahoma. My recommendation is the cowboy fries... french fries covered in chili, BBQ Brisket, cheese, jalapeno peppers, and love.
  • Ask a Local Expert a question about Pawhuska.
    Pawhuska, OK
    Pawhuska sits in the middle of Osage County and is truly like taking a step back into the "real" west. This small town with a population of 3,440 was named after the 19th-century Osage chief, Paw-Hiu-Skah, which means "White Hair" in English. Small but mighty, this town offers plenty of recreation, modern restaurants, and Oklahoma hospitality.
  • There are many things to do in Pawhuska, Oklahoma! A few local favorites are as follows:

    Tallgrass Prairie Preserve: This is one of the last remaining prairies in the United States. Whether you are enjoying the open sky, wildflowers, or wild horses grazing on the swaying grass, this is truly one of the last places in America to experience the land as it once was.

    The Swinging Bridge: this is a historic landmark attraction in Pawhuska. It was once the only way people could get across the creek into town. Directions to the bridge: go a couple of blocks south of downtown where Kihekah curves at Bird Creek. First Baptist Church South sits across the street from the north entrance to the Swinging Bridge.

    Pioneer Woman Mercantile: If you watch many Food Network shows then you know who she is. This is her hometown, and she has several restaurants and shops to showcase recipes seen on TV. Just drive down Main, and you'll find her. Definitely have a cupcake and .25 sweet tea!

    The Buckin' Flamingo: After cruising around town and having lunch, stop here for unique yard art and custom-made jewelry.
  • Pawhuska is one of those sleepy little towns that seemed doomed to die. But, when you take the time to look around Pawhuska you find hidden gems like the Bluestem Waterfalls. You can sit on the rocks in the heat of the summer as the cool waters swish around you in the peaceful beauty that is Oklahoma.

    Pawhuska was named after the Chief of the Osage Nation and that is where you will find the headquarters and museum. The museum is chocked full of native history and celebration. The town is also home to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. It features self-guided tours, hiking trails, exhibits, and a multitude of bison free to roam the Preserve.

    After exploring the Tallgrass Prairie, Osage Museum, and Bluestem Waterfalls, you can find plenty to eat and drink in town. Among the offerings is the Mercantile and P-Town Pizza, owned by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. "The Merc" has a lot of shopping options as does the rest of the downtown area. There is also a schedule of tours available for the farm where The Pioneer Woman's show is taped. There are also some very cool B&B options in town. Adults and children alike will find something to love about Pawhuska.
  • The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is located downtown in the old historic town of Pawhuska. Until just a few years ago it was slowly starting to resemble a ghost town. Then, seemingly out of nowhere came Ree Drummond, a rancher's wife who loved to cook. She took her skills to television and cookbooks, nearly single-handedly reviving the town of Pawhuska. She has built the now famous Mercantile with gift shops, restaurants, etc. Be prepared to walk when you visit. The streets are bumper to bumper with visitors from numerous states and hard to find a parking place close to the Mercantile. The area is booming. You will love it!

Pawhuska, OK

What's a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

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