The Old West brought back to life
The days of the Old West, where outlaws’ rode into town on horseback with their guns drawn and shooting in the air are long gone. However, for Orvel Robinson, the Old West continues to live on outside of Bray, Oklahoma.
On his family’s property outside of Bray, Robinson built an Old West town. The town helps showcase what it was like in the 1870s.
Robinson a former mayor of Marlow, Okla. became interested in the history of the Old West and Oklahoma during his tenure. As his interest grew, he formed the Snake River Gang and they started performing in old west shows and reenactments throughout the state. The popularity of his old west shows grew to include additional musical entertainment.
Robinson grew up singing and performing, allowing him to work with up and coming country music artists teaching them about performing and stage presence including Katrina Elam. As Elam's popularity and talent blossomed so did their friendship. Once Elam reached the point of singing in larger settings and performing in the movie Pure Country 2, she needed a place for her fan club to meet.
Robinson whose love of the Old West hadn’t changed, decided to build an Old West town so Elam's fan club would have a place to meet.
“It took me about ten years with the help of another guy to build the town,” Robinson said. “It started with the café but we needed more room, so we added the general store.”
During the ten years, the town was built to include a hotel, jail, church, blacksmith’s shop, telegram office, bank and a saloon. There is a musical theater built behind the front elevation of the bank and telegram office. The saloon on the property is the original Blue Goose Saloon from the Chisholm Trail in 1869 and was then moved to the Oklahoma Indian territory line in 1902.
“I knew about the Blue Goose Saloon from my days as mayor,” Robinson adds. “Many people thought it was lost because after it had moved west of Rush Springs, no one knew what happened to it. I received a phone call one day from a man asking if I wanted it. I was thrilled to go see it and the possibility of having it.”
The saloon was all intact inside a warehouse. Robinson took pictures of the structure and moved it to his property and had it rebuilt.
Today the property is used as a meeting spot for group events, a place for school field trips for students to learn about the Old West and the early days of Oklahoma’s history, a movie set and a place for family gatherings.
While the Old West is a distant memory, it will always live on at Snake River Junction.