Yesterday I brought you the homes and landmarks in El Reno that inspired The Edge of Nowhere. Today, I’d like to share with you the landmarks that inspired the homesteads of Will Harrison, Earl Sykes and the Janicek brothers. Before I do, however, I have some updated photos to share with you that were sent to me last night.
HUGE thanks to El Reno resident, Traci Tucker, who took a drive around El Reno yesterday to send me updated photos of the places in El Reno that inspired the homes of my characters. I especially love the photo of the Goff House as it looks even more like I imagined it (without the fence). And the Delana Home is even more beautiful than I remember as a child.
THE GOFF HOUSE
THE DELANA HOUSE
THE SOUTHERN HOTEL (AS IT APPEARS TODAY)
LIFE ON THE FARM
When Victoria moved “East of Town,” she moved to what I consider to be Banner, Oklahoma. Located mid-way between the towns of El Reno and Yukon, Banner was (and still is) a farming community with wide open spaces and wheat fields.
Banner is a small community of maybe one hundred families. I believe the town has fought to gain their independence from Yukon and El Reno, establishing themselves as a proper town in their own right, but the physical address for Banner is El Reno, while the phone numbers are mostly Yukon numbers. It has one school that serves students from grades K-8, then students are given the choice of attending upper levels at either El Reno or Yukon. Some even choose to attend in nearby Union City.
There are no grocery or convenience stores in Banner, so residents do their shopping in nearby El Reno or Yukon. There are, however, two gas stations: one at Banner Co-op, and the other at a filling station at the intersection of Banner Road and Interstate 40.
The heart of Banner is just North of Old Route 66 where the Banner Co-op, established in 1920, still stands and would probably have been where Will, Earl Sykes, and the Janicek brothers took their wheat (This is a guess on my part, as any other grain elevator would’ve been located much farther within the town of El Reno or Yukon). Incidentally, I grew up right next to Banner Co-op, which is why I know the area so well and why the farms in my head just “had to be” located in Banner.
To Travel from El Reno to Banner by wagon (as Victoria did on her wedding day) would’ve taken a couple of hours. Today, there are three routes by which to arrive in Banner from El Reno. The fastest way for Victoria’s people during this era would’ve been to take what we call “the back roads,” which is via old Foreman road as shown on the map below. The green line indicates Foreman road, and the blue line indicates Banner Road. In my mind, Will Harrison’s farm would’ve been located at the intersection of Foreman Road at Banner Road. For those from the area. that’s where the old VonTungeln home (and farm) stood before it burned back in the late 1980s, and just East of the Heinrich farm.
In the novel, I believe I referred to Will’s homestead as being “Northeast of town,” and that’s actually an error on my part due to the fact that I’m geographically challenged. I was basing the “Northeast” on the fact that I would normally travel from El Reno to Banner via Old Route 66 or Interstate I-40, and failed to take into account that the characters would likely have used Foreman Road which is a straight shot from El Reno to what would’ve been Will’s house.
Looking at Banner from Banner Road running North and South, Earl Syke’s farm would’ve been where Banner Road and Wilshire make a T in the road. I presume there’s still a house and farm at that intersection. When I was a kid, I knew that farm as “The Smith Farm.” I’m guessing that means that the owners were named Smith, though I never knew them. I do recall buying hay from them a few summers to feed our horses, though.
If you follow Banner Road South past Old Route 66 and Interstate 40, you’ll pass Banner School (on the West side) and what used to be called Ernie’s Polka Palace (on the East). Somewhere just past that point on the west side of the road is where I imagined the Janicek brothers had their farm.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the landmarks that make up The Edge of Nowhere. If there’s something specific you’d like to know about the book or landmarks, leave me a comment below. If you’re just joining me and are interested in knowing more about this novel, you can use THIS LINK to find a synopsis. If you enjoyed today’s Easter Eggs and would like more, you can use THIS LINK to catch up on previous editions.
The Edge of Nowhere is now available in e-book and paperback formats, and will soon be available as an audiobook. To purchase a copy of this novel, select your favorite retailer from the list below. And Enjoy!