Wednesday, February 23, 2011
J.M. Davis Gun Museum, Claremore
One of their daughters, Twyla-my grandmother, lived in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas as an adult. The bulk of her later years were spent in Coffeyville, Kansas. Her sister Wave lived half a block down the street in Claremore where she raised three daughters. Her middle daughter, Patt, lives in that house now. Patt has worked for many years at the J.M. Davis Gun museum in town. Before we went out to her house, we strolled through the museum for yet another time.
During the 50s and 60s, I visited the Mason Hotel many times with my dad and grandpa. Once a dinner was over, the ladies retired to wash dishes and exchange family gossip, even rehashing the story line of As The World Turns, a family favorite soap opera. But the men took off to stroll downtown, ride out to the river, see the Will Rogers Museum or hang out at the Mason Hotel where J.M. Davis had every spare inch of wall and floor filled with guns and saddles. The firearms hung behind the registrar’s desk, up the stairwells, on walls, and rested in glass cases. The lobby of the hotel was filled with huge overstuffed leather sofas and chairs. A child sank down into the seats, but an adult could sit and study all the guns. The smell of leather saddles permeated the lobby. This wonderful collection of firearms started with a muzzle-loading shotgun Davis received when he was seven years old.
I am not a knowledgeable about guns, but I find things there worth the study when I go. There are handguns displayed that were involved in murders; there are pistols from famous outlaws. The curators have reconstructed one room to be similar to the lobby of the Mason Hotel. When I walk in and see those leather chairs, I again think that I can sniff my dad’s Old Spice, feel grandpa’s calloused hand in mine, and feel like I am seven years old again if only for just a few minutes.
Entracne to the J. M. David Museum is free or for a donation. Visit the museum online at: http://thegunmuseum.com/.