Craig Day, News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma -- With school letting out in just a couple of weeks, it won't take long before kids are saying "we're bored" or, "there's nothing to do."

Many parents are looking for interesting places to visit that don't cost big bucks, especially with gas prices so high. I took a day trip to Dewey where the kids can learn something new about an old, historic site. 

At the Dewey Hotel Museum, it's as if time has stopped. Things really haven't changed much here since the hotel was built in 1899.

"It's quite exciting to have an old building like this," said Gary Mackey of the Washington County Historical Society.

Jake Bartles, the namesake of Bartlesville and the founder of Dewey, built the magnificent 30 room, 7,300 square-foot hotel. It was an early day social hot spot, where polite folks met in the parlor, and cowboys and oilmen played cards in the third floor poker room. 

"It has history running out its windows, we'll say," Mackey said. 

Back when the hotel was in its heyday, those were the days of prohibition, so the cowboys here on the third floor playing cards and having their drinks always had a lookout on hand - to see if police or deputies were coming when things got a little loud or rowdy.

When the alarm was sounded, those cowboys would quickly rush down the hall with their whiskey bottles to one of these secret panels. Once inside, they could secretly wait things out way back up in the attic.

You'll learn a lot of those bits of history at the Dewey Hotel Museum. Over time, it went from hotel to boarding house, to disrepair.

"It was so dilapidated, that they condemned it," said Gary Mackey, Washington County Historical Society.

But a local banker bought it, and donated it to the Washington County historical society in 1967.

"These wood stairs are just phenomenal. You just don't find this anymore," Mackey said.

The old hotel is packed with period furnishings, plus 1890's and early 1900's saddles and western memorabilia from the historic Dewey Roundup, one of the largest rodeos in the world in its day.

"We've had a lot of people come from all over the world basically and just fall in love with it," Mackey said.

While time keeps ticking and the years go by, the old beauty of a building is aging well, and still standing tall as an Oklahoma and American historical treasure.