Bryan's Corner isn't quite a town, but it has been a famous wide spot on the road for truckers heading north or south or to Denver before there was even a federal highway system. There are a variety of businesses that cater to truckers along with a post office and a busy gas station.
There’s nothing better an old-fashioned highway diner where travelers can sit down and have a meal brought to them by a friendly and chatty waitress. Miller’s Café in Turpin has all the usual road grub and daily specials. As the photo shows, it’s a favorite of the local oil well workers.
The unincorporated town of Turpin is the only community on the 34 miles of Highway 83 in the panhandle. It has a structure, the Turpin Grain Elevator, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The elevator is found along the old railroad tracks near the modern elevators on the north side of town.
While the Oklahoma Panhandle might be short of sights, it is not short of history. This marker just over the Texas-OK border explains the story of “No Man’s Land,” the strip of territory no state wanted. For years, it served as a haven for outlaws and vigilantes. The long, convoluted history of the land once called Cimmaron Territory is too long for this page. A good rundown can be found on the Wikipedia entry.
This was also “ground zero” for the Dust Bowl. So grab a copy of Woody Guthrie’s “Dust Bowl Ballads,” stick it in the CD player and get off the beaten path to see some beautiful, wide-open spaces.
No Man's Land
Stretching only 34 miles, the portion of U.S. Route 83 that traverses the Oklahoma Panhandle doesn’t have much to offer tourists. Just some big sky country and a couple wide spots on the road where travelers can gas up or grab a bite to eat. It has been designated both the Oklahoma Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Highway.
Learn more about the history found along Highway 83 in North Dakota in the book, The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Rout 83: Nebraska, Kansas Oklahoma.
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Or find in it bookstores and museum gift shops along the road:
Decatur County/Last Indian Raid Museum, Oberlin
Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, Oakley
El Quartelejo Museum, Scott City
Finney County Museum, Garden City
Museum of the Plains, Perryton, Texas
U.S. Highway 83 in Oklahoma