Sunday, August 29, 2010


My girlfriend's dad's truck Eli's Hog Hauler

 The photos above were taken this August at the Dewey Antique Car show at the Dewey Hotel. 

Veranda of the Dewey Hotel before statehood when it was Indian Territory


History of Dewey, Oklahoma

Dewey, Oklahoma is located approximately 49 miles north of Tulsa in Washington County. Dewey is about 15 miles south of the Kansas border.
Jake Bartles started the city of Dewey (which was originally part of Indian Territory, allotted to the Cherokee Nation) back in the 1890's after moving his general store from Bartlesville. During the move of the store, the Bartles family also began building the Dewey Hotel, which was completed in 1899. Dewey became a thriving community thanks to oil drilling, and was officially chartered December 8, 1905.
Today Dewey, Oklahoma sits quietly enjoying its role as a small town in the northeastern part of the state. If you drove through Dewey today you might find it hard to believe that for almost 20 years, the community was known around the world for its annual roundup. "The Dewey Roundup," as it was called, occurred every year for three days over the 4th of July holiday.
The event was foremost a contest of cowboy skills with prize money given to the winners, but other things happened as well. Airplane demonstrations were given everyday. Car and horse races, boxing matches, and Wild West shows filled the arena north of town. The Roundup began as a reunion for town founder Jake Bartles and his friends from the Civil War. It soon, however, turned into much more than that. After the first Roundup in 1908 Jake's son Joe made the event an annual affair, and so the tradition began.
So many people flooded into Dewey beginning in late June that special railroad tracks were built just to handle the traffic. Lodging was so impossible to find that people camped out in the yards of nearby houses or strung hammocks between building columns.
Every year the Roundup promised something special for those attending. Bulldogging from an airplane occurred in 1915, while in 1919 all of the prize money was issued in the form of solid gold coins minted especially for the event. Legend has it that the Dewey Roundup was the inspiration for the now famous Calgary Stampede and that a train car of Roundup officials from Dewey traveled to Canada to oversee the creation of that event.
The Roundup was an unofficial measure of one's skill as a cowboy. If you did well at Dewey then you knew that you were one of the best in the country. Ropers, riders and bulldoggers made their way to Dewey each year from almost every state in the union putting their skills, reputations, and sometimes careers to the test. Western movie stars were discovered and hired at the Roundup, and many a ranch hand got his first job based on his performance there. The Roundup is a piece of cowboy history, and many people from Dewey still remember the chaotic three days occurring every July. The Great Depression of 1929 put a stop to the Roundup, and the collapse of the mammoth grandstands in the 1930s signaled the end of any hope for a revival. It was in this week of 1908 that the first Dewey Roundup took place, starting a tradition and creating memories that would live on for decades.

Tom Mix served as town Marshal in 1912. He later became a world-famous silent film adventure actor. Dewey is home of the Tom Mix Museum and hosts an annual Tom Mix Festival and Wild West Show in September. The Tom Mix Museum serves as the city's Visitor Information Center.
The Dewey Portland Cement Company was most beneficial to the city. Owner Don Tyler not only benefited the local economy with Dewey Portland Cement, but was able to build the Washington County Fairgrounds, Library, the school gymnasium, and a community center. Several houses in the city are made with Dewey Portland cement. Dewey also had concrete electrical poles, some of which are still being used. Dewey had paved streets and sidewalks before most cities did!

Attend the city of Dewey

Western Heritage Days Parade
September, 18, 2010
3 PM  
Dewey's Tom Mix Festival and Wild West Show are coming up September 18 and 19. The events together make up Deweys Western Heritage Weekend.

Saturday's entertainment will include music, gun fights, children's games, an antique tractor show, great food and other vendors, tours of the Tom Mix Museum and haunted Dewey Hotel Museum, and a western parade - complete with a longhorn cattle drive through downtown Dewey!

Sunday's activities start with the "Sermon on the Mount" (horse-whispering), a chuck wagon breakfast, and moves on to more food vendors, gun fights, live music, Prairie Song tours, and culminates in a Wild West Show featuring the One Arm Bandit and other western acts!

For more information about any of the activities, including the overnight cattle drive, here are the contacts:  Parade, Craig Epps 337-3379 (or pick up a parade entry form at City Hall); Cattle Drive,
Rod Nicholas 534-1809; Vending applications, Nick Brown 534-7428. 

Dewey continues to be a thriving community today.  I am proud to say that this is the town that I grew up in!


  1. I lived in Tulsa for six years...(about 15 years ago)....I loved it!! especially the older downtown area. I would love to be back there for the parade in Dewey and enter my "ain't for city gals" little trailer...maybe next year.

  2. Would anyone have a photo of the old Cities Service gas station that was across the street from the Dewey Hotel ??
    Marie Livingston -

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