Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Museum

Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Museum in Elk City, Okla., preserves state's ag history

| November 1999

The joy derived from collecting and restoring vintage farm classics is sometimes tempered by the inability to properly house and display those treasures. In Elk City, Okla., though, the Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Museum has met that challenge. 

The only museum in Oklahoma dedicated solely to farming and ranching, the Elk City collection is the culmination of Bill Grissom's dream.

"I saw machinery my grandfather used, rusting and ruined," Bill said. "I knew if somebody didn't do something fairly soon, nothing would be left for my grandchildren to see. Then it occurred to me: That someone would have to be me."

Bill's dream took root when the Western Oklahoma Historical Foundation made a gift of $50,000 in seed money. A new red barn rose on land donated by the city, and pieces from Bill's private collection and others were moved in. The doors opened last year, and an army of volunteers went to work.

"Keeping the doors open is our main concern," Bill said. "But we've averaged 40 visitors daily. That's a good start."

Visitors to the facility find a broad collection that includes a full dozen rare pieces. Some are restored; others show their age. A 1919 Case thresher is the largest piece in the museum. At a special event this fall, the old giant will be cranked into gear.