Ruth Monro Augur's Murals

The amount of history packed into the town of Enid, Oklahoma, will surprise most people.  I'm sure most have never even heard of Enid, let alone the history that overflows from the town that once boasted the largest grain storage in the entire world.  Period.

Ever heard of Ruth Monro Augur before?  Neither had I until I 'stumbled' upon the murals she painted inside the Garfield County Courthouse in Enid, Oklahoma, from 1936-1937.  I say stumbled because the presence of the murals really is not advertised, promoted, curated, toured or talked about.  Kind of like a hidden treasure in plain site.

Ruth Monro Augur (1886-1967), born in Texas and studied art at the New York School of Art, California School of Fine Arts and the Otis art Institute in Los Angeles.

Ruth was awarded a WPA Federal Art Project grant in 1934 to paint murals for the Garfield County, Oklahoma, Courthouse.  She earned $57.50 a month for her time and talent, which included about 16 months of research on her part in order to recreate history accurately on the canvas murals which began in December of 1935.

It is said that she used 36 pounds of white paint and 20 pounds of combined colors to complete the murals.  The oil paints were manufactured from a single chemical base to avoid fading and discoloration.  Ruth said the colors should be as bright 200 years from the day she painted them.  With some cleaning and restoration in 2016, she was right. 

When the murals were completed in 1937 they covered 1,136 square feet and were the largest of their type.  The murals are open for public viewing during courthouse hours.

The images on this page showing the murals in their full height and length mark the first time these murals have been photographed to show their exact dimensions and presented to the public.  You can see that Ruth painted the murals to go around and above doors, fire extinguisher containers, etc. 

The Cattle Trail

Untitled photo

The herd of cattle were being driven to the Government Springs watering hole along the famous Chisholm Trail and is where most of the trail drivers camped.

This mural depicts one more important piece of Enid's storied history inside the Cherokee Strip from 1866-1886.  1886 was the beginning of the massive cattle drives of the Texas herds to Kansas and continued for the next twenty years.

The Chisholm Trail (also called the Abilene Trail) and the Western Trail ran through the area.  It has been recorded that over 6,000,000 cattle crossed the Cherokee Strip.

The Hunting Trail

Untitled photo

The Commerce Trail

Untitled photo

This scene is of a pre-railroad Cherokee Strip in 1886.  Goods were hauled by oxen teams and traveled an average of 7 miles a day, which is about the distance between camps or settlements.

Indian freighters had contracts from the Federal Government to haul goods to their respective reservations and were provided wagons and needed gear.

The Explorer's Trail

Untitled photo

Most people are not aware that Coronado crossed the Cherokee Strip in 1541.  It is possible that Coronado and his men were the first white men to explore this region.

It is also thought that Coronado is the one who first introduced horses to the plains.  He had about 1,000 of them in the beginning of his journey and those that ran off or were stolen are the beginnings of North America's wild horses in this area.

Coronado proved himself to be cruel and without mercy or compassion towards the indigenous people in his quest for gold.  Ruth's painting depicts a time in our history long ago that we must not forget in order that it never be repeated. 

The Rancher's Trail

Untitled photo

Roping and cattle branding take center stage in this mural.  Notice 'Smiley' in the right side of the mural, it looks like he is posing for the artist.

The Home-Seeker's Trail

Untitled photo

WPA Murals

Historical sources are and

Untitled photo
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In