Warrensburg Was Better Than Oklahoma in 1909 and Still Is
In 1909 the father of Dale Carnegie, the guy who wrote "How to Win Friends and Influence People," sold his farm near Warrensburg and went on a prospecting tour of Oklahoma. He decided Warrensburg was better, which is still true today if you ask me.
According to an article from the Journal-Democrat of Warrensburg from Friday, March 5, 1909, shared by the Johnson County Missouri Historical Society Facebook Page, J.W. Carnagey returned to Warrensburg from a prospecting tour in Oklahoma and decided that yes, Warrensburg was better than Oklahoma.
The Journal-Democrat article says the following about Carnagey's Oklahoma trip:
Mr. Carnagey is back-to stay. He says the alkali water of Oklahoma is something fierce and that the cocklebur crop down there impressed him very much. He admits that there may be fine garden spots in the new state, but he did not run across them.
The article goes on to say Carnagey only found prosperity in towns born of the oil and gas booms. He also admired how the "Oklahoma fellows whoop things up." And that they had game when it came to supporting their new state. Yet in the end, Carnagey wasn't persuaded to leave the Warrensburg area for greener pastures.
Instead, he located in Warrensburg for the summer and planned to invest in some land "somewhere in this part of the state shortly."
I can't say there's much more to Oklahoma today than there was back then. Oh sure if you're on the border between Texas and Oklahoma there are casinos on the Oklahoma side. And some of the Native American tribes have set up some roadside casinos along the interstate. And there is that cool McDonald's over the Will RogersTurnpike. Yet, really, for me. Oklahoma is just this state between Texas and Kansas on the way to somewhere else.
Even spending a couple of nights in Tulsa, and one in Oklahoma City I can't say I was really impressed. It's gritty, grimy, and to me looks like a tough place to live. Let me say this, J.W. Carnagey probably spent more time there than me, and there may be fine "garden spots," or neighborhoods, or parts of the State worth living in. But I didn't see them either.
So like Carnagey, I'll spend the summer in Warrensburg. Enjoying our quaint downtown and a few Unknown Heroes and pondering why Dale Carnegie changed the spelling of his family name after attending UCM.