This Oklahoma Town is One of the Most Peaceful Towns in America
If you've read my little blog things for a while, you know I write a lot about the small towns in Oklahoma. There's just something charming I can enjoy about every tiny little Oklahoma town I visit.
It's usually the old downtown areas that bigger cities refer to as 'historic,' or maybe it's the feeling you can get when you just know the sidewalks have stood the test of time since the 1950s. Personally, I really love the old restaurants and cafes I run across. The type where the same people have ordered the same meal for most of their life. The burgers are usually soaked in butter and are delicious.
One small Oklahoma town has been bestowed the honor of being named one of the most peaceful towns in America and it's in our own backyard in Southwest Oklahoma.
Welcome to Medicine Park.
Known for its role in early 20th-century outlaw culture and the Bonnie & Clyde saga, this cobblestone village has managed to turn its reputation around over the last two decades making it a must-visit destination in the Sooner State.
When I first moved to SWOK in 2005, Medicine Park was nothing like it is now. The businesses weren't hip or trendy and that new car smell had long been gone. The reputation then was that of a methamphetamine-plagued little town rolling down the road of life in a struggle bus.
Fast forward fifteen years, Medicine Park has become a magical kitch sort of town that every Okie and visitor to the state has to experience. It's now a town that's full of life, color, art, and cool vibes.
While I can't exactly what it was that initially sparked the turnaround in this little community, I want to say the turning point (from an outsider's view) might have been the first Mayor's Blues Ball in 2007. The old fabled "If you build it, they will come" Field of Dreams method of revival worked and it spurred on a rebuilding effort that has paid off serious dividends to those that work and live there.
As time has gone on they added more events and festivals like the annual Park Stomp, Mountain Bike Festival, Art and Flute Festival, Rock'n the Park, Roots Ball, and more.
Medicine Park continues to grow in size as well as in reputation. It's THE place in SWOK.
All of the hard work and forward-thinking have been just as successful for those who don't live in Medicine Park, but continuously show up for a visit. It's really common these days to see all sorts of people in the storefronts and cafes together just chillin' and vibing like a huge melting pot of delicious stew.
Hippies and roving biker clubs share tables, trendy young lefty hipsters and rural family-oriented conservatives greet each other on the street. Even the artsy and bleeding hearts meet their exact opposite cultures collide with hugs and handshakes instead of pushback and tongue-lashings. It's a shockingly mellow town.