Just a short hours drive north of Oklahoma City is the small town of Marshall, Oklahoma. Not quite a ghost town, it is a once thriving, but now mostly forgotten community in northern Logan County. Marshall began when the Unassigned Lands were opened for settlement in 1889. Sylvan Rice, from Marshalltown, Iowa, opened the first post office in 1890 and named the new town after his Hawkeye hometown. The town boomed with the opening of the nearby Cherokee Strip to settlement. Eventually the railroad came to town, spurring even more growth.
Kay and I found this small town on one of our wandering trips through Oklahoma. We normally start out early in the morning with just a general direction in mind, not a specific destination. Our travels, by Jeep or dual sport motorcycle, takes us along dirt roads, county paved roads, and sometimes even jeep trails to unknown and often unexpected places such as Marshall.
We discovered Marshall was the hometown of Angie Debo, a famed Oklahoma author and the namesake of a local Edmond grade school. In the 1940’s Marshall was known as “the school band capitol of the world”. In 1950 fifty-seven school bands converged on the town for the competition! Known for its very wide main street, Kay and I parked on this expansive chunk of concrete and marveled at how wide the street was. It is claimed that one of the town founders turned a team of mules around while laying out main street, thereby determining its width. There is little traffic up and down this street today as we watch three kids wander down the middle of main street with nary vehicle other than ours in site.