Media release


(PAWNEE, Okla.) — Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum will host a traveling exhibit, “Smoke Over Oklahoma: The Railroad Photographs of Preston George,” from April 23 to June 23, 2021. This collection of 25 black-and-white images represents the railroad photographs taken by Preston George during the 1930s and 1940s.


George photographed trains in his spare time while working as a civil engineer in Colorado and Oklahoma. Born in 1906 in Indian Territory, George’s interest in trains began at an early age but did not culminate into a full-fledged pastime until the 1930s.


“I ran across a copy of Railroad Stories, later renamed Railroad Magazine, and saw the many photos of locomotives and trains,” said George in an interview during his lifetime. “This started me on a new hobby. . . . Soon, I was snapping still pictures of locomotives with a cheap Kodak camera and trading them far and wide with other fans.”


“Smoke Over Oklahoma” will be on display at the Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum during Pawnee’s annual Oklahoma Steam Threshing and Gas Engine Show, scheduled for May 7–9. Visitors to the ranch can see the power of the steam locomotives in George’s images, then attend the show to witness a working steam traction engine and steam sawmill in person.


Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum is located at 1141 Pawnee Bill Road in Pawnee. Hours of operation for the months of April through October are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday and Monday, 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 918-762-2513 or email [email protected]. Follow Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum on Facebook and Instagram at @pawneebillranch.


The Pawnee Bill Ranch is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit