The Woodward News

Local News

August 16, 2013

Birthday party for Alabaster Caverns

Woodward, Okla. — Hidden in plain sight near Freedom, it is a wonder that more folks living right here in western Oklahoma have not seen the natural beauty of Alabaster Caverns.

But at a holiday weekend approaches, Alabaster Caverns Park Manager Mike Caywood wants to offer enough incentive to folks who have been putting it off. It is his goal to finally get the “hold-outs” out to the park and see what exists in their own back yard.

“Labor Day 2013 marks Alabaster Caverns 60th birthday and we’re having a birthday bash all weekend long,” he said.

The park’s theme this year is linked to the decade, the 1950s, when the State of Oklahoma purchased the land from its private owner, Charles Grass.

“The State of Oklahoma purchased the 200 acres the park is on in 1953,” Caywood said.

On Saturday,  Aug. 31, 1950s style games such as hopscotch, four-square, marbles and jacks will be going on as well as 1950s movie showings and lantern tours of the caves in the evenings, Caywood said. On Sunday, Sept. 1, there will also be free hotdogs for the first 250 folks who show up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as birthday cake, which begins at 3 p.m.

And if that isn’t turning the clock back enough, Caywood decided the best way to get people in the mood was to turn back the “money clock” and go back to tour fees of that era all weekend long, he said.

For instance, a ticket for a one hour tour will cost $1.20, Caywood said.

“A family of four can tour the caverns for less than five dollars,” Caywood said.

Caywood said there will also be room for those who have restored a 1950 model automobile or motorcycle to showcase their efforts at the park over the weekend.

Formed by water, Alabaster Caverns runs about a mile underground and is the only gypsum formed “show cave” in the United States, Caywood said.

In fact, according to published data on the cave, Alabaster Caverns is one of only three sites in the world where the rare black alabaster exists. The other two are in Italy and China.

“It will be a unique type of cave for people to explore because it will be different than any other cave in the U.S. because it is gypsum and the others are limestone,” he said.

According to Caywood, there is no historical data on file that proves when the cave was first discovered.

According to representatives from the Chickasaw and Cherokee Nations, there is little or no readily available Native American history related to the Alabaster Caverns.

However, there is evidence that is was explored 1889 when Hugh Litton, who homesteaded the property during the Cherokee Outlet Run of 1883.

In the late 1930s, Charles Grass purchased the property and began improving it for public tourism, Caywood said.

After the State of Oklahoma purchased the property Sept. 1 1953, it took three years to further improve it for public tourism and in 1956, Oklahoma reclassified the area as an Oklahoma State Park, he said.

Caywood advises those who wish to tour the caves to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a light jacket, as the caves are about 50 to 60 degrees, even on the hottest days.

He said photos are allowable if they do not delay the tour. The birthday celebration will last throughout the three day holiday weekend, from Saturday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 2, he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • House sends income tax cut to governor

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Legislation that would trim Oklahoma's personal income tax rate when state revenue improves was approved by the House on Wednesday in spite of objections that it's irresponsible in the face of critical education, health care and transportation needs.

    April 24, 2014

  • FOP to host debate for candidates

    Woodward's Fraternal Order of Police chapter is sponsoring a debate on May 20 between the two candidates hoping to become the next District 26 District Attorney.

    April 24, 2014

  • Movie premiere Thursday

    A film company interested in continuing a trend of production in the area will screen their latest full length film "Wichita" Thursday (April 24) at the Woodward Arts Theatre at 7 p.m.

    April 24, 2014

  • Personal security focus of weekend class for women

    Self-defense and personal security does not always include a physical altercation.
    The mind can often help you prevail in a potentially dangerous situation.

    April 23, 2014

  • Testing woes frustrating for students

    On Monday, Woodward 7th grader Taylor Harrison sat straight and tense in front of the computer, but she felt prepared.

    April 23, 2014

  • DSC_5249.JPG Fire units on scene of tank battery fire

    A tank battery fire that started at an oilfield disposal site northwest of Woodward early Wednesday morning continues to burn.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • City, county commissions meet

    Roundup of Monday's Woodward city and county commission meetings.

    April 22, 2014

  • Boomers win 2 in Alva festival

    The Boomer baseball team had its most successful day of the season  since March with a pair of wins in the Alva Festival on Saturday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Glitches prompt suspension of testing

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's public schools superintendent suspended online testing across the state on Monday after middle and high school students systemwide experienced disruptions during high-stakes standardized tests for the second consecutive year.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mooreland Art Show Saturday

    MOORELAND--There will be a lot of talent on display at the 28th annual Mooreland Spring Arts and Crafts Show.

    April 22, 2014