Pamphlet: Dedication


Groundbreaking Cover

Excerpts from transcription of remarks made by officials of Oklahoma and the Fair at dedication ceremonies for the Pavilion of Oklahoma at the New York World's Fair, Monday, September 16, 1963.

AMBASSADOR RICHARD C. PATTERSON, JR. [Chief of Protocol]: Governor Bellmon, Commissioner Helmerich, Miss Tallchief, General Potter, ladies and gentlemen. I have the honor to welcome you to the dedication ceremony of the State of Oklahoma Exhibit, which promises to be one of the most original and attractive exhibits at the Fair. The Commissioners of Oklahoma for the New York World's Fair have brilliantly conceived the exhibit as a part of Oklahoma, transplanted to the Fair in the form of a beautiful park. The park will emphasize Oklahoma's water development program, and the importance of water to the state's future development.

Our first speaker is General William E. Potter, executive vice president of the New York World's Fair 1964-1965.

GENERAL WILLIAM E. POTTER: Ambassador Patterson, Governor Bellmon, Miss Tallchief, and all of you from Oklahoma.

This exhibit is an example of civic leadership. The chairman of the commission, Mr. Helmerich, has been here on his own once or twice; the other commissioners have added their brainpower and wisdom to the venture, within the funds available, at personal sacrifice. When you say that about such a project, you're setting a stage for success.

Oklahoma has a great historical past, an historical past that is of interest to people all over the world. The pictures of the land rush, the pictures of your wheat, your cattle, and the few little oil wells that you have around the state, are pictures that are known world-wide but which too few people have seen. But history is not all of a state; a state is its future.

It is my great pleasure at this time to present medallions to Governor Bellmon and to Mr. Walt Helmerich, III, chairman of the Oklahoma World's Fair Commission. And representing Mr. Dean McGee, member of the Oklahoma World's Fair Commission, is Mr. Jack Roach; and representing Mr. K. S. Adams is Mr. Kenneth Rugh.

Oklahoma's exhibit at the New York World's Fair will emphasize the state's water-development program and the natural beauties of Oklahoma. Focal point of the natural outdoor setting will be a large lake, covering almost 10,000 square feet of land, with two smaller streams feeding water into the lake over small waterfalls. Natural plantings and large, shady trees will form a restful setting for almost 70,000,000 visitors, and a 100-foot-long topographic map of the state will tell visually the story of Oklahoma's progress in the short years since statehood.

Artist's rendering

AMBASSADOR PATTERSON: Thank you, General Potter. Our next speaker took an important part in the conception of the novel and exciting exhibit of Oklahoma. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and of the Harvard Business School, he is president of Helmerich and Payne, Inc. Among his many civic services, he is active in the Tulsa Psychiatric Clinic and the Oklahoma Chapter of Young Presidents; he is a director in the National Young Presidents Club. I take great privilege in presenting Mr. Walt H. Helmerich, III, chairman of the Oklahoma World's Fair Commission.

MR. WALT H. HELMERICH, III: Governor, ladies and gentlemen. We are a long way from home, and there are some mighty big things in New York; there are some fabulous exhibits out here at the Fairgrounds.

We come from a grand state and I'd like to add that we've got a great governor. One of our real strengths, though, are the people we have back home, and each and every one of you here from the state have been a wonderful help to Mr. Adams and Mr. McGee and me in the small part we played in putting this exhibit together.

For a long time we tried to get people from this part of the country to come down and see what we have. Now we have that opportunity plus some seventy million more that will be in New York from all over the world. With your continued support we hope to have something here that'll bring them down to Oklahoma, many of them to visit, but we hope that a lot of them will stay with us and live where we all love it.

We have appreciated the reception we've received, the hospitality from these people, and we hope to see you again real soon.

AMBASSADOR PATTERSON: Thank you, Mr. Helmerich. Now it's my great pleasure to introduce the first Aggie governor in the history of Oklahoma. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture at Oklahoma State University, where he wrote the farm column in the student newspaper; and was a member of Alpha Zeta, the agricultural honor society. During WWII he was executive officer and platoon leader of a tank unit in the Marine Corps. He participated in four battles of the Pacific Campaign; he received the Legion of Merit for action in the Saipan invasion and the Silver Star for bravery in the Iwo Jima invasion. After serving a long term in the State Legislature, he became state chairman of the Republican Party, when his friends decided to run him for governor. I have the high honor to present the Governor of Oklahoma.

Shown above, planting the redbud tree at the site of the Pavilion of Oklahoma, are Miss Maria Tallchief, General William E. Potter, executive vice president of the New York World's Fair Corporation and Governor Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma.

Officials plant a redbud tree

THE HONORABLE HENRY BELLMON [Governor of Oklahoma]: I'm sure I speak for all of us when I tell General Potter and our other hosts and guests from this area how pleased we are to be in New York.

I asked General Potter to read the inscription on this medallion -- it says "Man's achievements in an expanding universe;" and on the back, "The 300th Anniversary of the Founding of the City of New York." Now General, I can't look ahead to the 300th anniversary of Oklahoma, but I'll bet that we've come further in our first 70 years than New York did in its first 70 years. And I'm confident that the next 230 years will be equally as great so far as our state and our nation are concerned.

I'd like to comment, also, on the fact that I believe this is one of the finest groups ever assembled to represent our state or any other state.

The fact that we have participation from a group like this, General Potter, almost assures the success of our project as far as the construction and conception and the operation of the Oklahoma World's Fair Exhibit is concerned. There are a lot of historical things connected with this date but one of them is that 70 years ago today marked the opening of the Cherokee Strip.

Also, the date that the Fair will open next year with mark the 75th anniversary of the Oklahoma Land run of 1889. So again we'll have a very close historical tie-in with the New York World's Fair, and it's one to which I believe Oklahomans will attach a great deal of importance.

When the Congress of the United States admitted Oklahoma to statehood on November 16, 1907, we joined the other 45 states as a land where a man could still find a rare freedom of opportunity.

Today, just 56 short years later, Oklahoma has completed its first half-century and stands at the brink of an exciting period. Oklahoma is literally a land where history is just beginning. We find it altogether fitting that the opening day of the New York World's Fair coincides directly with the 75th anniversary of the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. And we dedicate this site and ourselves to creating an awareness on the part of the world that will result in another run to wide open spaces of Oklahoma in the years ahead.

This is the first time our state has ever undertaken to participate in a world's fair exhibit, and I'd like to congratulate the members of the legislature who are here, for the job they did in getting through the legislature an appropriation which set the stage for this exhibit, and which showed that the full governmental strength of the state of Oklahoma is back of this effort. I'd like also to compliment the World's Fair Commission, Walt Helmrich,Boots Adams and Dean McGee, for the effort they've put forth since they were appointed to this important post. Without the leadership which these men have given the Oklahoma World's Fair Exhibit, we could never have come to this point so soon after they took over this responsibility.

Prior to the work done by Walt and the other Commission members, a feasibility committee checked carefully into the desirability of Oklahoma's participation and certainly their work should not go without thanks and without some thought being given to the fact that they also helped lay the foundation for this exhibit.

In conclusion I'd like to say that I believe this exhibit will do a great deal to let the whole world know about our state. We'd like the world to know that we are a friendly, scenic, historic state and I hope that as a result of what we do here, a lot of folks will beat a path to Oklahoma, and that when they're there they'll find that our state, perhaps more than any other, is a place where the hospitality of the south blends favorably with the vitality of the west.

We are proud of our heritage; we are confident of our future; and we're glad that we're going to have this chance to share Oklahoma's history and future with so many visitors at the New York World's Fair.

Site Map
SOURCE: Tree Planting Ceremony Brochure, State of Oklahoma
More Content