All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Tigers, pipelines and more in Cushing

Bill O'Brien / Red Dirt Report
The iconic welcome sign in Cushing, Oklahoma.
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CUSHING, Okla.-- In Greek mythology, a multi-headed dog, Cerberus, who was often described as the “hound of Hades,: guarding the gates of the underworld and preventing the dead from leaving.

And a large tiger stands atop a building on the way into this Oklahoma community in Payne County in a manner that suggests that he is a sentry guarding the town. The place he is located on is known as the “Tiger Mart” a store that features an orange and black checkerboard design in its interior that makes patrons feel that they are pawns on a chessboard.

But the proprietor of that establishment, the genial Sam Alzubi, recently explained that the tiger represents the mascot of Cushing High School and that the checkerboard was put in place because that was the only way he could get the school’s colors of orange and black into his place.

In addition to an airborne tiger, this municipality includes many other sights that make an expedition to it worthwhile and have been memorialized in thousands of selfies.

The Tiger Mart in Cushing, home of the Cushing High Tigers. (Bill O'Brien / Red Dirt Report)

They include a small lawnmower that is also elevated that is an advertisement for a local lawn mowing company, downtown murals that pay homage to local oil refineries, and a symbolic pipe that is in place in front of its City Hall.

The latter ornament is in reference to Cushing being home to the largest collection of oil containers in the nation.

Like several other Oklahoma communities that were centers of oil production, Cushing’s residential areas include many shotgun homes that were built to supply inexpensive housing to oilfield workers that of the type that are found in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Cushing was formerly affiliated with the Main Street Program operated by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and the “Façade Squads” that are found in many main street communities in the state that work to improve the facades of downtown structures is said to have originated in Cushing.

Efforts to improve the downtown area are now n by the” Downtown Cushing Revitalization Association” that is responsible for the pocket park that is now located in downtown Cushing as well as the Native American Arts Festival that is held there every summer.

Tax Increment Financing, which is known by the acronym “TIF” has been responsible for several of the new structures in downtown Oklahoma City, including the Skirvin Hotel, and it allows for taxes generated in a district to be used to improve its infrastructure.

The Cushing City Council has recently approved TIF financing for future development of its infrastructure. And to provide leaders for the community’s future the Cushing Chamber of Commerce has initiated a program to groom promising high school students into future leaders through the “Leadership Cushing Program.”

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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