Guthrie, Oklahoma is famous for its beautifully preserved downtown, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 1999. The city got lots of attention for hosting a music festival with more than 40,000 attendees last summer. Guthrie has been doing a great job leveraging the event to strengthen the local business community and keep people coming to Guthrie.

“Make Guthrie Weird” is a new campaign with a series of block parties to bring attention to the emerging cluster of local businesses in downtown Guthrie. Check out this new video describing how support from the city, including simple event permitting for business owners, has made it easy for citizens to put together the events. The events build community for local residents and help Guthrie businesses draw visitors from around the region.

Guthrie’s successful downtown didn’t happen overnight. It’s the legacy of a long history of historic preservation. IQC’s Ron Frantz worked in Guthrie as the town rediscovered its late 19th and early 20th Century architecture. He shared these photos from 1982 and 2007 that highlight how preservation efforts have helped make Guthrie a special place.

Before: In the early 1970’s, there was a unified movement to apply aluminum slipcovers to the north side of the 100 Block of West Oklahoma Avenue. This is the core block of Capital of the Oklahoma Territory (1889-1907) and the first state capital for Oklahoma (1907-1910).

After: In the early 1980’s, there was a coordinated effort to remove the aluminum slipcovers and restore the original facades. This work received a 1988 National Preservation Honor Award as well as garnered a National Historic Landmark District designation. This block also appears in the movie “Rain Man” as well as other movies.

The next block party is August 23. Find Make Guthrie Weird on Facebook and Twitter.