Saturday, August 31, 2013

OK is Okay 2013; Davis Arms & Historical Museum

This place was amazing! I grabbed a brochure so I'd be sure to have all of the pertinent information to pass along to you, but then I lost it! Never fear, we have Google!
Who was J.M. Davis...and where did he get all those guns? What's the story here?  Well, it seems when John Monroe Davis was seven years old he took his medicine like a good boy. As a reward his father gave him a muzzle-loading shotgun that cost $1.50 ( not a small amount in 1894).  This began a fascination with guns that just never stopped. That first gun is still in the collection.  In 1916, Davis traded 2,000 acres of Arkansas timberland for a hotel in Claremore, Oklahoma. Davis moved into the Mason Hotel and took over management.  He continued to add to his collection one gun at a time. By 1929, his collection had reached 99 guns. He decided to display the guns on the lobby walls of his hotel. But guns weren't the only thing Davis collected. He also collected: knives, swords, steins, saddles, music boxes, musical instruments, political buttons, World War I posters, John Rogers statuary, and Native American artifacts. All of which found a place of display within the hotel. And this was just in the beginning.  Lobby walls became crowded, the ball room was filled to capacity. Upstairs the long hallways were lined with guns and memorabilia. Seven private rooms were filled to capacity.  With the Hotel smack in the middle of Route 66, word of Davis' collection spread far and wide. A steady stream of people came from all over the world to see the collection, buy, sell, trade or just talk guns.He became internationally known as a gun expert. The man and his collection became the subject of numerous magazine articles.  In 1965, with an eye to the future, Davis transferred ownership of his massive collection to the J.M. Davis Foundation Inc. In turn the Foundation leased the collection to the State of Oklahoma at the cost of $1. for 99 years (with the option to renew). Part of the deal was that the State would build and maintain a modern facility to house the collection, and that the collection would be open to the public at no charge.  The first section of the museum opened to an enthusiastic public on Davis' 82nd birthday: June 27, 1969. Since that time the entire structure has been completed with over 40, 000 square feet of floor space. Gun displays alone total to over one mile in length.  In 1973 J.M. Davis died. He is entombed on the museum grounds: he is still with his guns.

Mmmm, wheel guns! They are by far my favorite side arm. So beautiful in form and function.

The beloved 1911! Quite possibly the best hand gun platform that has ever existed.

Happiness is a belt fed weapon!!

The Davis tomb was guarded by a beautiful Gattling gun that some moron didn't get a good picture of. I'll let you guess who that moron is.


  1. Phenomenal buddy, a serious gathering of firepower . . . regarding previous post, the good ones, even though these days seeming fewer in number, in quality terms outweigh and make up for the ever present duds, cheers mate.

  2. Wow, that's a lot of guns! Remember being impressed as a kid visiting the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, but this museum is wild. The way the guns are displayed reminds me of pictures of castles in Europe with all the medieval armament displayed everywhere. Get this Wes, when I was a kid while we were stationed in Japan in the 50's, I dug a brand new unused surplus 45 out of a cosmoline filled 5 gallon can that was layered with father got it for 5 bucks! Wish we'd bought the whole can. Same day he bought two gas operated M-1's for 15 each. Sigh...oh well, my quarter a week allowance wouldn't have got me anything. Spent it all on comics and models...