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14 OKLAHOMA LIVING


Tin Woodman O


By JuliAnn Graham


nce upon a time, there was a Tin Wood- man who lived in the Land of Oklahoma. Unusual circumstances caused the Tin Woodman to move away from home; how- ever, he has now returned to his birthplace. In August 1989, Bruce Morris, a member of Northwestern Electric Cooperative, helped his late father John D. “Pete” Morris construct a 13-foot, 750-pound replica of the Tin Wood- man, the well-known character from The Won- derful Wizard of Oz, a book by L. Frank Baum that was later turned into a movie “Some little kids wanted to know


why the Tin Woodman was here instead of in Kansas,” Morris said. “My dad told them that he came down for a visit and liked it so much that he decided to stay.” The Morris’ intention was to create an attraction to draw visitors into their Log Cabin Corner café and gas station, located six miles south of Laverne at the intersection of Highway 3 and Highway 283. The Log Cabin Corner was aptly named and the Tin Woodman was appro- priate since John also built the log cabin store.


“I wanted to build one of the world’s most famous woodsmen,” said John Mor- ris in an August 3, 1989, that appeared in an article published by The Laverne Leader Tribune. “You know, Paul Bunyan, Abe Lin- coln or the Tin Woodman. I couldn’t build the other two, but I could build the tin one!” Morris said his dad loved people, especially children. “Dad constructed the log cabin but he al- ways told people, especially children who were likely to believe him, that the Tin Woodman built it,” Morris said. “Dad wanted him to be able to wave at everybody who went by. Inside there’s a 1/30 horsepower motor that runs his arm but we never did get it quite right. It would get hot and you would have to turn it off to cool down before running again.” The Tin Woodman called the Log Cabin Corner home until approximately 2006. The property had closed some years before and the family had sold it with the request that the Tin Woodman remain in place. However, the replica was sold to a passerby on his way home to Pueblo, Colo.


The traveler, Richard Smith, also paid a


visit to the Cimarron Heritage Center Mu- seum in Boise City, Okla. While there, the museum director and curator, Jody Risley, commented that she wished she had known he was for sale as she would have liked to ac- quire the Tin Woodman for the museum. When Smith decided to relocate in 2011, he remembered Risley and he contacted her. The Cimarron Heritage Center board decided to purchase the Tin Woodman.


“The Smiths wanted the Tin Woodman to come back t o Oklaho- ma,”


Risley, who is a


The 13-foot Tin Woodman was orignally built in Oklahoma but had been moved to Colo- rado in 2006.


The Tin Man is now located at the Cimar- ron Heritage Center Museum in Boise City, Okla., for all to see. Photo by JuliAnn Graham


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