A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 03, 2008
Land of the High Sky (Midland nickname)

Author John Howard Griffin called Midland, Texas “Land of the High Sky” in his 1959 history of that name, commissioned by the First National Bank of Midland. The name is sometimes used for Midland and other parts of West Texas, but Texas’s “High Sky” never was promoted like Montana’s “Big Sky.” The term is not trademarked.

There was a 1940s 20-minute film of Midland called “Land of the High Sky,” so it appears that Griffin’s book popularized an already-used city slogan.


Wikipedia: Midland, Texas
Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland CountyGR6 located on the Southern Plains of the western area of the U.S. State of Texas. As of the 2006 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a total population of 102,073. The Midland–Odessa metropolitan area had a population of 251,842. People in Midland are called Midlanders.

Midland was originally founded as the midway point between Fort Worth and El Paso on the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1881. The city has received national recognition as the hometown of First Lady Laura Bush and the childhood home of President George W. Bush.
(...)
John Howard Griffin wrote a history of Midland, Land of the High Sky (1959).

Wikipedia: John Howard Grififin
John Howard Griffin (June 16, 1920 - September 9, 1980) was a white journalist and author who wrote largely in favor of racial equality. He is best known for darkening his skin and journeying through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to experience segregation in the Deep South in 1959. He wrote about the experience in his critically acclaimed Black Like Me.

Griffin was born in Dallas, Texas on June 16, 1920 to parents John Walter Griffin and Lena May Griffin, née Young.
(...)
His works include:
The Devil Rides Outside (1952)
Nuni (1956)
Land of the High Sky (1959)
Black Like Me (1961)
The Church and the Black Man (1969)
A Time to be Human (1977)

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Land of the high sky
Author(s): Hicks, Randy. 
Publication: Dallas, TX :; WFAA Productions,
Year: 1940s
Description: 1 reel (20 min.) :; sd., col.
Language: English
Abstract: Film of Midland, Texas, in the 1940s, with contributions of the Chamber of Commerce, Junior League and Board of Realtors. Includes historical photographs from 1881. Shows development of cultural activities, oil industry and agriculture.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Land of the High Sky.
Author(s): Griffin, John Howard, 1920-
Publication: Midland, Tex., First National Bank of Midland
Year: 1959
Description: 212 p. 23 cm.
Language: English
Standard No: LCCN: 60-31576
SUBJECT(S)
Geographic: Midland County (Tex.)—History. 
Note(s): Includes bibliographical references.

18 October 1959, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Midland Country Now And Its Vivid Past” by Lon Tinkle, section 5, pg. 6:
“Land of the High Sky” is a commemorative, commissioned “local history”—with a difference, a very big difference. It is written by an artist who caught the contagion of his subject, and give it his all. He is the famed young Texas novelist, author of “The Devil Rides Outside,” John Howard Griffin. His subject is the history of the Permian Basin, extending a hundred miles or so to the four points of the compass from Midland, Texas. In a laudable wish to memorialize the opening of the new building of the First National Bank of Midland, the bank’s directors invited Griffin to write a book telling as he saw fit the story of their oil-rich, cattle-kingdom community.

13 May 1967, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, section C, pg. 1, col. 1:
“National Cotton Week” is particularly meaningful in this area of the country, and garments made from cotton fabric are favored in their suitability in the land of high sky and hot sun.

16 July 1967, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, section C, pg. 1, col. 1:
Texas is famous for many things—not the least of which is beautiful women. Like its fragile flower, the bluebonnet, they bloom everywhere—bringing bouquets of beauty to brighten the land of the high sky. 

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Land of the high sky :
typescript /
Author(s): Wilson, John H., 1906-1987.
Dawson, Sue Wilson. 
Year: 1989
Description: 1 v. (112 leaves) ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: Recollections of places and people in the life of Texas rancher, John H. Wilson.
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Frontier and pioneer life—Texas—Anecdotes. 
Genre/Form: Typescripts. 

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Land of the high sky :
stories along the Rio Pecos /
Author(s): Wilson, John H., 1906-1987.
Dawson, Sue Wilson. 
Publication: [Austin, Tex.] : S.W. Dawson,
Year: 1992
Description: iii leaves, 62 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.
Language: English
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Collectors and collecting—Texas—Pecos—Biography. 
Named Person: Wilson, John H., 1906-1987. 
Geographic: Pecos River Valley (N.M. and Tex.)—History. 
Class Descriptors: LC: F391.W5882
Responsibility: John H. Wilson as told to Sue Wilson.

Access my library
ROAD RUNNING IN THE LAND OF THE HIGH SKY: Where Jim Hall’s Chaparrals find a parking space but not a resting place.
Publication: AutoWeek
Publication Date: 10-MAY-04
Byline: KEVIN A. WILSON

Saturday April 17 dawned bright and windy, the air such a palpable element of the west Texas environment that it made a man think that, “living here must have influenced the way Jim Hall’s brain worked.’’

Garland Wright interview
“To this day, my whole concept of color is off. I can only see beige or violent color, because against this sand and dead mesquite would be sitting a ‘57 pink Oldsmobile, a turquoise-blue swimming pool, dead green cactus, this lawn that’s painted like scenery, and the sky. There’s no way to describe the sky. West Texas is called the Land of the High Skies—another geographic name. The sky goes from the horizon to the horizon with nothing to interrupt it. So this color of blue is always a reference point. I will never be able to see any other way. Also, because of the barrenness of that part of the country, one was always forced into one’s imagination about the world instead of dealing with the world that actually was there. So in retrospect, it’s not so mysterious that someone from that kind of environment should end up as an artist.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 03, 2008 • Permalink