Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Announcing Retro Metro

Retro Metro is the latest online resource for discovering information on urban Oklahoma City, and its past. The group is actually a non profit organization with a mission of educating citizens about the city's urban past, and it has a HUGE library of historic images. These guys are so dedicated that they meet regularly and have been working on this for a year that I know of--last January, Steve showed me the preliminary site and I was floored by it. I would encourage everyone to check it out.

Here is a press release relating to the website launch:

July 14, 2010 – A year-long effort to make Oklahoma City history more accessible goes public Thursday with the unveiling of Retro Metro OKC and the group’s website,

Retro Metro OKC is pending 501c3 organization whose goal is to create an online exhibit of thousands of photos and documents relating to our city’s history, culture and heritage. The website debuts with more than 1,200 such materials, and thanks to a cooperative effort with the Oklahoma Historical Society and other area historical organizations, we hope to be adding many more historical Oklahoma City images in the near future.

Retro Metro OKC operates differently from other organizations in that we have no museum, we have no physical collections, and in most instances the materials we display remain in private ownership. In a typical situation our volunteer crews go to a home or business to scan an owner’s collection and the owner participates in the project by sharing information about the photos and documents as they are being scanned. The materials never have to leave an owner’s possession – the owner is simply asked to sign a release that allows for the materials to be displayed online.

The owner of such materials is given a disc of the digitized images and documents – and copies also will be given to the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Metropolitan Library System to ensure they will be preserved for future generations.

Retro Metro OKC’s founding members include historians, authors, planners, a preservation architect, a retired Greater Oklahoma City Chamber executive, a city councilman, a city clerk, business owners, graphic designers and filmmakers. Our common history is Oklahoma City history. Our youngest member is 17; our oldest members are in their 70s.

Over the past year our members have tried to carefully assess the needs and wants of our community. In addition to creating on online display of historic materials, we’re also using our experience, talent and resources to help other history organizations. For us, we check egos at the door. It’s about the history.

Our city’s history is waiting to be revealed and enjoyed. It resides in the photos left to us by our grandparents; it can be found in the postcards, souvenirs and letters gathering dust in the attic, in the stories of our relatives and in the archeology of old places.

Our city’s history can only be truly appreciated and kept intact if it’s found, revealed, shared, enjoyed and passed on to future generations.

Please feel free to visit and email any comments or questions to The site is interactive and allows for visitors to leave comments about photos and documents as they view specific collections. Updates about our activities can be followed via our Twitter account @retrometrookc.

- Steve Lackmeyer, president, Retro Metro OKC

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