A community of 70,000 Oklahoma history buffs: Forgotten Oklahoma continues to grow

Data pix.

PAWNEE, Okla. - She's always been the kind of person who walked the country roads and small-town back alleys looking for abandoned buildings.

"I love the old, two-story farmhouses," said Amy Hedges.

This morning, Hedges is on a scouting mission in Pawnee. As a photographer, she looks for good pictures. As an amateur historian, she has lots of questions.

"Exactly," she said. "You imagine the family that lived there."

It was Hedges' dad who suggested she start a Facebook page to showcase her photographs.

But, as Forgotten Oklahoma grew, people started posting their own.

Hedges chuckles, "I didn't know other people would want to contribute, honestly."

It took a little while but, as the Forgotten Oklahoma community grew more and more, members offered tidbits of information about those photographs.

Old pictures of people like Martha Bidwell and her new car brought in lots more information about her community and family in the comments below.

Hedges reads, "If I remember correctly, she passed around 1957 when I was 6 years old."

Eventually, Hedges' tag agency in downtown Pawnee became the clearinghouse for all kinds of Oklahoma history.

"I never dreamed it would be so popular," she said.

Hedges' Facebook account passed 70,000 followers this summer. History teachers use it in class.

Just this week, Linda Watson posted a picture of her old family home in Pauls Valley.

Someone took a picture of the old depot at Stratford moving down the highway after sitting in one spot for the past 113 years.

More posts, some 50 per day offers Hedges, include a steam locomotive at the Tulsa Fairgrounds and downtown Eufala in 1938.

The posts are interesting by themselves, but the comments they inspire often provide a context that only a huge audience of history buffs can give.

Hedges insists, "No matter where the picture is from, that you post, someone will know something about it."

Pictures and their origins, and the wish of one photographer/tag agent come true.

The Forgotten Oklahoma Facebook community now has five administrators monitoring online activity.

'Is This a Great State or What?' is sponsored by WEOKIE.

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