I never noticed it as pink, but nearly every description of the exterior of the state Capitol mentions Indiana limestone and pink granite from Oklahoma.
That pink granite has a colorful history of its own.
On Dec. 26, 1915, The Oklahoman published a story written by a special correspondent who gave some surprising details about where the granite originated.
“Granite for the Oklahoma Capitol is being taken from a boulder having 10 acres of surface above ground. This small hill of solid granite was known to the cowmen and outlaws of the early days as the Ten-Acre Rock and was a landmark and rendezvous known throughout the Chickasaw nation.
“The Ten-Acre Rock is about 12 miles northwest of Tishomingo near the town of Troy on the Frisco Railroad. It was included in an allotment to Gov. R.M. Harris of the Chickasaw nation, 14 years ago. J.A. Shannon, a pioneer of this section, opened the quarry and in a small way got out the splendid building material for years.
“From the Ten-Acre Rock came the material for the Chickasaw national capitol, now the Johnson County Courthouse, and the Harris building in Tishomingo, one of the most beautiful buildings in southern Oklahoma.
“Before statehood and the quarrymen’s arrival, the Ten-Acre Rock provided a safe haven for outlaws. Thick woods hid and protected the cabins of the few residents.
“Indian renegades, white outlaws, train robbers and horse thieves were safe here. The few men living in the widely separated log cabins asked no questions of hard-faced visitors but they scowled at officers of the law. Hospitality was extended to those most in need of it but outsiders seeking information were not encouraged.
“It was considered dangerous enough that U.S. marshal deputies thought twice about entering this area.
“But, as law-abiding citizens moved in, the train robbers, horse thieves and bad men found themselves unwelcome.
“Cotton, lumber, corn and cattle replaced the outlaw industry, and the Ten-Acre Rock became a quarry.”
The special correspondent went on to describe the quarry:
“A quick turn of the road opens up the woods for the first view of the most remarkable quarry in the state. The Ten-Acre Rock bulks high against the skyline and towers above the trees. It is one huge solid boulder of finest granite.
“Forty men blasted and shaped a train carload of granite a day to be shipped to Oklahoma City for the Capitol. It was estimated 50,000 cubic feet of Tishomingo granite would be used for the building, and still there would remain an almost unlimited supply of the finest quality granite for building and decoration.”
Our unknown writer concluded his story with this statement:
“So the stone that will house the lawmakers of Oklahoma is the same granite that in the Ten-Acre Rock sheltered camps of outlaws in the days before statehood. Beside the rock the refugees from the law built their fires and discussed plans of robbery and murder.
“Behind the granite now new laws will be made. The Ten-Acre Rock will shelter lawmakers instead of lawbreakers.”
Now when I pass the Capitol I think of the Ten-Acre Rock and the solid pink granite foundation it provides Oklahoma government now and for the future.