The 1930s were a tough decade for Oklahoma. We endured the Great Depression, Dust Bowl and many other natural catastrophes that took a toll on life in Oklahoma. Filming and photography wasn’t as easy back in the early 1900s, so we don’t have near the amount of footage and photographs as we do today. So, it’s very intriguing to run across rare footage of everyday life, catastrophic events and vintage videos of Oklahoma. These films show Oklahoma in a very different way than we know it today.

1. Flooding of Washita River in Clinton, 1934

This footage shows the massive flooding of the Washita River in the town of Clinton.

2. Oklahoma City, 1930

This silent film shows footage of the many oil derricks in downtown Oklahoma City and Nichols Hills. Buildings featured are the Oklahoma State Capitol building, Oklahoma Governor’s mansion and surrounding area.

3. Ruins of Bethany after a tornado, 1934

Damage after a tornado in Bethany, Oklahoma, November 19th, 1930 – 22 people were killed and 47 seriously injured. Estimated property loss was $250,000. Debris was blown up to 30 miles away.

4. Oil Field, 1936

Footage contains men working on an oil well and gushing oil. It also shows a game of horseshoes among workers and women.

5. Off-Road Tests of U.S. Army Trucks at Fort Sill, 1935

These LS convoy trucks are driving across rolling hills at Fort Sill – navigating steep, muddy inclines and muddy streams.

Isn’t this incredible footage of the Sooner State in the 1930s? Do you have any films of Oklahoma during this decade?

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