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April 19, 1995 was one of the darkest days in Oklahoma City's history. On that day Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was attacked by Timothy McVeigh, subsequently killing 168 people. The site contains two parts, the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial and the museum itself. Inside the museum, you will see 168 empty chairs; one for each innocent victim, 19 of which included children. The most endearing tribute, however, is the part of the fence that has been left over from the makeshift memorial that stood here for five years after the attack. Today, visitors will see letters, photos, flowers and other precious sentiments left by survivors and visitors. Also prominently featured in the memorial is the Survivor Tree, it has become a symbol of hope to the people of Oklahoma City. Admission to the outside memorial is free, but the museum charges a fee.
You cannot miss the dramatic presence of Chesapeake Boathouse, in the shape of a slender rowing shell, along the banks of the Oklahoma River. It lends a beautifully surreal image of the Chesapeake building floating above the river, especially during the night. Apart from offering marine facilities like kayaking, rowing and dragon boating, Chesapeake Boathouse also rents deck, lobby and its event-room for meetings, parties and receptions.
This home was built for one of the Oklahoma City's most beloved benefactors, William Overholser. Now nearly a century old, this residence reminiscent of a French chateau gives visitors a glimpse into Oklahoma's early development. Overholser was a successful businessman and the first president of the city chamber of commerce. The interior of the home retains its original antique furnishings and some of the other highlights include imported rugs and decorative stained glass windows. Tours are given every hour starting at 10, and it is always closed during inclement weather.
This Dutch Colonial mansion of 12 rooms and 14,000 square feet has been the home of the governor since 1928. There is an Oklahoma room with a carpet featuring the state seal. The Phillips Pavilion was added on the grounds for larger parties, because the inside dining area was only able to seat 60 for dinner. The new pavilion also features a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs and Made-in-Oklahoma items. Guided tours are offered on Wednesdays. Admission is free.
This district of town, known as Stockyards City, is home to the largest cattle market in the world. In fact, it was these stock yards that provided the impetus for the state's first major industry. Over the last century, the area had fallen into decline and decay since its inception in 1910, however today the area has been revitalized without losing its authentic 'Old-West' feel. A highlight of the stockyard is a stroll over a walkway that hovers above some of the massive beasts. The shops primarily focus on a variety of western wear, from cowboy hats and boots to Bolo ties and even spurs! It's also pretty accurate to assume that the restaurants in the district serve some of the best steaks in the Midwest, don't forget Cattlemen's Steakhouse. While this area could be considered "touristy," it remains an essential place to visit to get a true picture of 'Ol' OKC'.