A Taste for Architecture
This photo along East Main gives a fair idea of the rest of street, the historic heart of Purcell. At left is a red brick building from the territorial era, now a shop of some sort. In the center is a modern revitalization of an old Main Street building called the "Old Oklahoma Territory Store," established in 1995. Its wooden facade and wooden portico seems authentic enough, especially when jammed against another red brick facade. The only thing missing in this shot is the original horse hitch, which at one time would have been a key fixture along this oval. The downtown Main Street is on an ellipse. Parking is possible against any curb and even in the center of the street, along somewhat of a "traffic free" island. Like many small towns, it is possible for the tourist to traipse out into the middle of the street to gather ornaments for his album almost without watching for any traffic. Though Purcell is home to thousands, you'd never know it by walking along Main Street alone.
As the County Seat, . . .
As the county seat of McClain County, all county business is transacted at the county courthouse. As the seat of government, war pavilions and honor rolls are kept here, and most of the county's town squares are centered in the county seat (Purcell), such as the charming one next to the Hotel Love. Along with that venerable structure, the county courthouse itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the only two such honorees in the entire county. Where this makes perfect sense in the hotel's case, the listing for the courthouse sadly weakens the pomp of such registrations.
Know the Time
Like most small towns in the United States, there is generally a large public clock somewhere on the main plaza. Usually attached to the town hall, the post office, the main national bank or perhaps the train depot, these neat originals are among the easiest thing to preserve, and the easiest thing to overlook in America's historic Main Streets.
A Better Example
The historic Main Street of Norman is less than twenty minutes up the road, but unlike Purcell, the journey from I-35 to Norman's historic district would involve 45 minutes to an hour round-trip. Having grown up at the same time and for the same reason and being near one another, there are obviously similarities in each city's historic Main Street.
Even Deeper into Oklahoma's Past
South of the University of Oklahoma campus and just minutes north of Purcell above the "Canadian River" is the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. Some of the largest dinosaur bones ever discovered are on display here, as well as early Oklahoma prehistorical cultures and other displays. Admission fees are charged.