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Notes on the Geography of Oklahoma: Downtown Oklahoma City: Photo 11

world pictures Oklahoma: Downtown Oklahoma City

Funny thing is, the streets of downtown Oklahoma City today are almost as empty as they seem on those old maps. Nights and weekends--this happens to be about noon on a Sunday in hot, hot August--the place is just about deserted, but even at noon on weekdays there aren't a lot of pedestrians, partly because most of the main buildings are linked either by bridges or tunnels. You don't have to walk a lot this time of year to understand why. To make the place even less inviting, almost all the downtown streets became one-way in 1955. And just to drive everyone completely crazy, the street names that lasted for 70 years or more have gradually been changed to stroke local vanities. The street here, for example, is R.S. Kerr. That would be Senator Robert S. Kerr, of Kerr-McGee. The same street used to be the perfectly intelligible North 2nd. A block behind the camera, the old North 3rd is now McGee. Straight ahead, the old North 1st is now Park. There have been lots of other changes, too, so what used to be an easily navigated grid has become a lot more confusing.

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