Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature
Second Floor: Hall of Governors
Charles Nathaniel Haskell was Oklahoma's first Governor. He was born March 13, 1860, in Putman County, Ohio. He was educated as a lawyer, admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1881, and began practice in Ottawa, Ohio. In 1901, he moved to Muskogee, Indian Territory, where he added to his law practice the promotion of railroads. He was a leader in the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention in 1906. After his term as Governor, from November 16, 1907 to January 9, 1911, he engaged in the oil business. He died July 5, 1933, and is buried in Muskogee.
Known as Oklahoma's own "Michelangelo," Leonard McMurry was born to a family of prominent cotton farmers in the Texas panhandle. McMurry moved to Oklahoma in 1955 and then lived in Stilwell and Oklahoma City. Under the teachings of sculptors Carl Mose and Ivan Mestrovic, McMurry perfected his craft. His magnificent sculptures of Oklahoma icons can be seen across the state including the '89er statue on Couch Drive in Oklahoma City and the Praying Hands that grace the lawns of Oral Roberts University.
In accordance with Oklahoma's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1982, McMurry was commissioned to sculpt busts of 21 past Oklahoma Governors. The Hall of Governors exudes Oklahoman's pride in her past legislative guardians. Regarding his works, McMurry states, "Each piece must have a soul, a living quality that's far more important than just physical representation. A piece has to have guts: the strength, power, and dignity, that makes it a monument." McMurry has accomplished that very feat within the grandiose Hall of Governors in which visitors may come face to face with naturalistic representation of Oklahoma leaders.