11/4/08

My World Tuesday - Glass or Gloss?

In February 1873 the name Glass Mountains appeared on a map issued by the Federal General Land Office. Two years later, the same office issued a map calling them the Gloss Mountains. Thus precipitating a conflict that continues to this day.


The 1875 map resulted from a survey led by an engineer named T.H. Barrett. Historiographer James Cloud is of the opinion that a draughtsmen copied this map and mis-read the 'A' for an 'O'. A persistent legend persists that a member of that first exploring party was British or Bostonian.

This member awakened early one morning in the survey camp on the knoll located east of the area and saw the sun on the glistening clear crystals of Selenite. In his long eastern dialect he exclaimed "Why they look just like glaws".

The party's cartographer simply recorded what he thought he had heard, indeed a passing error. But to think a Brit' may have been responsible for all this confusion!

The Glass or Gloss Mountains are located 6 miles west of Orienta in NW Oklahoma, which is on highway US 412. We pass through them regularly whenever I am in need of our closest shopping mall in Enid, 110 miles away!

The mountains have a high selenite content, making them appear as if they were covered with pieces of glass. Ever since my first visit here in 2003, I have absolutely loved their beauty and contrast against the flat plains around them.

This beautiful scenic strip, currently defined as a conservation area, is almost another world with its rugged high topped mesas springing up from a relatively flat land area.

A "painted desert" effect can be seen in many locations due to the exposure of different rock strata, and the sparkle of gypsum and selenite gives many of the mesas a glittering effect.

A giant inland sea once covered the area, leaving behind extensive gypsum beds. Spanish explorers passed through the area and later, the first known American explorer around 1821 described what he called "The Shining Mountains".

Today, the Glass Mountains area is utilized for its vast oil and gas resources. This 640 acre expanse is undergoing development as a State Park and will eventually provide trails and facilities.

At present, visitors can pull off the highway to enjoy the rugged landscape at a small roadside picnic area with an information kiosk on the history and features of the locale.

Astronomy groups occasionally use the area for celestial observations, as dark really means dark out there! Visitors can enjoy the 24 mile scenic drive along U.S. Hwy 412 through this very distinctive area. Here's the Hubster doing his best 'hunky cowboy' impression (which is of course is what he is!), as he reads about the area on a perfect day.

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23 comments:

Kay said...

This is so interesting. I'd love to see this for myself.

Carletta said...

Beautiful country! Thanks for the tour.

Winifred said...

Those photos are great, keep snapping Sarah. We're learning a lot.

If that chap was British, he must have been a Southerner! No Northerner would ever get their glass mistaken for gloss would they.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos and interesting information! Why don't they call these mountains the Glossy Glass mountains? Name problem solved!!

A Cuban In London said...

How about glossy Glass? That way everybody's happy. :-)

Greetings from London.

Indrani said...

Great suggestion by Reader Wil, "Glossy glass mountains." :)
Thanks for all that info of your place. :)

Mary said...

Beautiful pics, Sarah!

AphotoAday said...

Oh, it's always that a for an o that gets a person...

Interesting scenery...

Louise said...

This place is wonderful. Definitely looks as if its worth the drive there. And the history of the name is quite interesting (and amusing).

Jobee said...

Lovely pics but 110 miles to your nearest mall..... Wow.

Wren said...

Beautiful - now I want to visit. I love the desert, but I didn't think of desert being in Oklahoma.

Klaus said...

I go with glass. So you think the Brit's messed that up, huh? ;)
Wonderful trip you've taking us on!
Cheers, Klaus

Sherri said...

I remember driving through Oklahoma as a child and being surprised these beautiful mountains with their wonderful colors were there! Thanks for showing us your state!!

pamokc said...

This has always been on my list of places to visit (which I never have), but worked on the art project for the Capitol building, a large painting by Enid artist, Harold Holden. We settled on using "Glass" in the title but documented the controversy on the name. Will have to visit when out that way again!

http://www.oksenate.gov/senate_artwork/game_birds.html

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Fascinating post. Beautiful pics and educational too! I want to see the Glossy Glass mountains when I get to travel through your part of the World. You'll have to provide a list of all the great things to see.

Sylvia K said...

Really beautiful! originally from Texas, I do know about "flat" and the relief in finding even a hill to break the monotony, these are lovely! I haven't seen them, but had heard of them. thanks!

ewok1993 said...

beautiful landscape. if i were living there i would not stop snapping. thanks for sharing this part of your world.

Daryl said...

Neat .. I had no idea you lived so far from 'civilization' ... LOL

:-Daryl

ms426d said...

Beautiful mountains no matter what the name! I can not even imagine how they must look in real life! Thanks for sharing.

TSannie said...

Glass...gloss...whatever the name, it's beautiful country. (thanks for the visit - so appreciated!)

D Herrod said...

Beautiful. That red clay does like to stick to things. I still have red clay stains on my hiking boots from a trip we took in the Washita area.

Sara G said...

Awesome photo's!
Thanks for sharing your world with us!
Take care.

gwendolen said...

Love the mountains. The colours are always so fascininating, especially around sunset and dawn when they change colour.