Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kentucky : Asbury Theological Seminary, WIlmore

In the charming small Kentucky town in the early 1920's a school was launched. It's purpose nearly 100 years later remains, Asbury Theological Seminary seeks "to prepare and send forth a well-trained, sanctified, Spirit-filled, evangelistic ministry” in order to spread scriptural holiness around the world. Asbury Seminary continues to hold to this mission, providing holistic ministerial preparation as an interdenominational institution."  It attracts candidates from a wide range of denominations but who are strongly Wesleyan in their approach to Christian life, purpose, and methods.
Dr. Marvin J. Hudson, beside the statue of Rev. Francis Asbury at WTS

Dr. Marvin J. Hudson, 2002, examines the John Wesley statue.

Route 66 OK: New Markers Make New Kicks

A popular stop along the way is now "POP'S".  The gas station, diner and photo opportunity attracts people every year.  Be sure and stop to make your own moment in history and sixty years from now, someone may be looking at your old photos....

Route 66 OK: Ghosts Along the Way

Called the "Mother Road", classic Route 66 still actively spans a lot of miles through Oklahoma, and the sights to be seen are often lovely and sometimes mysterious but always interesting.  This is the shell of an old rock gas station northeast of Arcadia.  It is believed to have been a Conoco Station in the 1920's and I found some people who said in the 1930's more than one gangster topped their tank at the old pumps and pulled a cold one from the soda chest out front.  All photos c Marilyn A. Hudson.

Kentucky : Shaker Villiage

The Shakers were a social religious group who emerged in the 1800's in England and America.  Wikipedia:"The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing is a religious sect, also known as the Shakers, founded in the 18th century in England, having branched off from a Quaker community. They were known as "Shaking Quakers" because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. In 1747 women assumed leadership roles within the sect, notably Jane Wardley and Mother Ann Lee."  They were believers in a simple, sustainable lifestyle, devoted to constructive life.  
These images were taken at Pleasant Hill in Kentucky near Harrodsburg.
cMarilyn A. Hudson, 2002

cMarilyn A Hudson, 2002

c Marilyn A. Hudson, 2002

cMarilyn A.Hudson, 2002

cMarilyn A. Hudson, 2002

c Marilyn A. Hudson, 2002

c Marilyn A. Hudson, 2002

Sunday, July 26, 2015

McAlester (OK)

Known primarily as the location of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the historic community of McAlester is today a fascinating community.  In many parts of Oklahoma the custom was to create larger footprints and occasionally rise several stories above the broad streets of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and other communities.

County Courthouse
In McAlester there is at work different approaches to the classic downtown. The emphasis appeared to be on smaller footprints but taller and more imposing structures.  The result is a city-scape that seems to lurk and sometimes loom over the steep and hilly downtown.  In places, they create dark canyons suggesting plans to recreate a Chicago or a New York amid the tree covered and mine rich terrain of the community.
Grand Avenue UMC
The Grand Avenue United Methodist Church, 1922- is one example of the spirit and structure of the city. The Pittsburgh County Courthouse. The Aldridge Hotel, 1929, has been recently renovated and serves as living space for seniors.  

Scottish Rite

The Scottish Rite Temple (a one time hospital). One has to stop and be in awe of the drive to create such massive, towering structures in the tree covered hills of southeastern Oklahoma. Luckily this structure is located near the public library and allows one to do so in safety.  Exploring the community and this down town area questions tug at the mind about the early city planners. What motivated them? Whose visions were expressed in stone and mortar?

WPA Hospital Mooreland (OK)

Mooreland is a small community east of Woodward in northwest Oklahoma.  The hospital at 6th and Krouth Streets (Blocks 4 & 5 of the Matthews edition), sits on about two acres and was built in an art deco style between 1940/41 when the community had some 800 in population and the ten plus miles to Woodward's hospital was too far to drive in an emergency.  Its 180' x 85' size features a flat roof with parapets, concrete construction, classic corner windows, a blue frieze running the higher borders.  The architect was Ed Hudgens and in 1985 it was listed in a Oklahoma Historic building nomination as a "Woodward WPA" site.  In 1989, a bid by a group (Rivers of Life)  to make a 60-bed drug and alcohol abuse facility was denied citing the nearness of similar facilities.

For over forty years the hospital provided crucial care and comfort to the citizens of the area. During the horror filled hours and days after the devastating 1947 tornado, many victims were brought to the location as Woodward Hospitals filled.

The event was traumatic and is marked by displays in the Woodward Historical Museum.  Some of the most compelling aspects are the mysteries left in the storm's wake.

In the wake of natural disasters, there is much tragedy and loss. People pick themselves up, cry of the loved ones gone, the property lost, and the dreams crushed by the shaking of the earth, the roar of the flood, the power of the winds, or any of a dozen other natural disasters. 

Memorials are erected to recall the lives lost and the families cut apart through misfortune. It is hard to even imagine the pain and agony of loved ones finding their families and friends in the wreckage. Worse, is the need to identify loved ones after such a catastrophe.

Yet, one of the most heartbreaking and puzzling has to be the people who remain after the disaster, after the identifications, and after the families and located their loved ones.  The ‘unidentified’ that linger on and cause a person to wonder how can a person, a adult or a child, remain ‘unidentified’?

On April 9. 1947, a massive storm front came up from Texas and crossed Oklahoma before moving northward. In northwest Oklahoma, one community would never forget the date or the aftermath.  Woodward would lose at least one hundred, see only their courthouse remain standing.

The mystery normally mentioned is the tragedy of Joan Croft, a 4 year old who was taken from a hospital by two men and never seen again.   Equally tragic, however, was the fact that there were at least two unidentified children in the wake of the monster of wind and debris.

Today in Woodward, Oklahoma there is a memorial honoring  the victims of the tornado of April 9, 1947 includes three females.  Unknown the victims were aged 6 months, approx 3 years, and one 12 years.
At one point, family and school teachers from around the region came by to view the bodies to try and identify the children.  

Yet, no one could identify the children. No one. In all of these decades those names have, apparently, remained unidentified. --- Mystorical, M.A. Hudson

Now, according to sources consulted, it is in private hands awaiting renovation. The possibilities are interesting, and possibly endless, for renewal of this historic building into a viable part of the 21st century and a reminder of another day and another time.  Housing, condos, care facility, office space, educational space......We shall see if this survives to enjoy another seventy years...or falls, like so many places, to time.

Oklahoma City: Roosevelt School

NW corner

"Each man must work for himself and unless he so works no outside help can avail him." Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1904, Roughrider Teddy Roosevelt whirled into Oklahoma City stirring people with memories of the rough and ready 'old days'. His stirring and dramatic visit stamped an impression on local leaders who applauded his ideals of vigorous manhood. His no nonsense attitude, can do spirit and stirring thoughts about the decided politics also had an appeal. Many sided with this former NYC Police Chief, leader of the Rough Riders and soon to be President of the United States. All in all he was man particularly able to connect with the people who were creating the place called "Oklahoma." His character reflected what many saw as their own recent heritage and what they saw was needed to continue to move forward in positive ways as a new state.

When he died in 1919 there was great mourning and the state rallied to contribute to a great memorial. Like many places they decided to name a school for the man. So, in 1925 the school opened.

The photo shows one of the engraved inspirational and motivational quotes on the current OKC Schools Administration Building. The building, the old
Roosevelt, is located on Klein Street. It was thought by many people queried to date from 1920 but newspaper articles indicate the cornerstone was placed with solemn Masonic ritual (and time out from classes for all city students) in 1924. It became the administration building in 1955 according to one source and ,by 1956, there was even talk of creating a school museum on one of the floors. Authorities hoped to adopt a "workshop museum" and art center for the district. Superintendent Swanson envisioned a facility patterned after the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

The plan was dependent on the sale of Jefferson School at NW 23 and Western.

Some district offices were housed there and would be transferred to the Administration building and money, space and conflicting programs might hamper the idea. There already existed an
Inverness-Boyd Musuem and Institute of Art (at old Central High School) operated by the schools at 822 N. Harvey. Big plans but lack of follow through may have been a problem for the district. News article noted a planetarium bought by the school board the year before was still in storage due to there not being a suitable place to place it and it could be located wherever the museum settled.

Only a few of the historic old schools still survive in OKC to record the academic journeys of early citizens. Some are indexed
here. See an earlier article on Eugene Field here. For more on early day schools see this entry.

"Roosevelt will be honored by School.: Oklahoman (Oct. 25, 1926)2.
"School Corners Laid." Oklahoman (June 24, 1924)3.

"School Museum Considered." Oklahoman (June 7, 1956)32.
"School Library will Start Move Today." Oklahoman (Feb.7, 1957)37.
Wood, Don A. "Central Campus Encompasses Seven Buildings by 1950s." Sooner Spirit (vo.24 #2; Summer 2006 )pg. 6.

The Cornerstone

"No man is happy if he does not work. Of all miserable creatures the idler, in whatever rank of society, is in the long run the most miserable." -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1903 speech to the YMCA in Topeka, Kansas.  
Gymnasium entrance

The carved engraved stones on this school built as a memorial to the Rough Rider President, retains a silent message about the ethics and values that helped shape American society in Oklahoma City.  These ideals were chiseled into the lives of students and community as deeply as into the stone of these markers.  The question is what replaced them and were its replacements  of sturdy stuff or easily eroded materials that lost their stamina?

"We have in our scheme of government no room for the man who does not wish to pay his way through life by what he does for himself and for the community. If he has leisure which makes it unnecessary for him to devote his time to earning his daily bread, then all the more he is bound to work just as hard in some way that will make the community the better off for his existence. If he fails in that, he fails to justify his existence. Work, the capacity for work, is absolutely necessary; and no man s life is full, no man can be said to live in the true sense of the word, if he does not work. This is necessary, and yet it is not enough. 
If a man is utterly selfish, if utterly disregardful of the rights of others, if he has no ideals, if he works simply for the sake of ministering to his own base passions, if he works simply to gratify himself, small is his good in the community. I think even then he is probably better off than if he is an idler, but he is of no real use unless together with the quality which enables him to work he has the quality which enables him to love his fellows, to work with them and for them for the common good of all."

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Oklahoma City

A fascinating old fa├žade peeks over newer facing on a building on NW Classen near NW 23rd. Many older building were along this key business boulevard but were torn down or redesigned over the years. It is a treat to see this one and wonder about its place in history.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mallalieu M.E. Church, Ft. Smith, Arkansas

Photos courtesy of Jerrie Lindsay
This is what remains of a lovely old building erected in 1921 under the pastorate of Rev. B.F. Neal and Superintendence of Rev. G.H. Hall (D.S.).  According to the website of the museum of Ft. Smith the church was established in 1911 at 800 N. 9th in Ft. Smith.  It was one house of worship for African Americans in the community.   Clearly, the voids had lovely stained glass in them.  All that remains, as seen in these images, is the one wall and what appeared to be char marks indicating perhaps a fire had damaged the building.
The name comes from a well-respected Bishop of the Methodist Church, Williad Francis  Mallalieu.  Here is a link to information about Methodism in Arkansas history and culture.

Lima, Oklahoma

Nestled in a nearly hidden, green, and lush valley resides Lima, Oklahoma. This Seminole County town site was founded perhaps 1904 as a all Black community. Its name is thought to have come from the lime quarries of the region. The area thrived with a school, businesses, and several churches.  Although labeled a ghost town, there are occupants and a nearby new community of New Lima provides a large public school system.
The remains of the once large (300+ students and as many as 12 faculty members) school offering a variety of curricular offerings, including Latin to students.  In 1921 the Rosenwald Fund helped the community build Rosenwald Hall, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (NR 84003427) in 1984.

A large sign tells a little of the fascinating story of Lima, one of the "All Black Towns of Oklahoma". Much of the information is included on this webpage.

The empty pad was site of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church.The Mount Zion Methodist Church was constructed in 1915 and was still standing in the early twenty-first century.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hughes County Wanderings: Holdenville Children's Hospital

This structure, complete with cherubic statues, is on 8th Street in the 200 block in Holdenville.  It is probably the 22 room, 2 story, $75,000 hospital constructed by pioneer physician A.M. Butts.   His daughter Imogene had gone into medicine, attending OU and then was doing training in the San Francisco Children's Hospital.  In one article the doctor indicated he wanted a place where his daughter Imogene could work and his other daughter Mrs. Lloyd Steen, could also be part of the staff.
Hospitals of the community have been identified by name as including Physicians and Surgeons Hospital (P and S), a Catholic facility called St. Francis said to have been located near the current Catholic Church and where a motel stands now.

Dr. Alexander McConnell Butts (1871-1948) was an early doctor in Holdenville, he owned the second automobile in the community, and was very involved in civic affairs as well as medical practice.  He had two daughters, "Dr. Imogene" (Mrs. Elliot Mayfield;1909-1992) and Jessie (Mrs. Lloyd Steen; 1898-after 1934).
"Here's One Doctor Who Won't Have to Ponder Where to Put 'Shingle". Galveston (TX) , June 8, 1934, pg. 2.
"Holdenville Hospital Nears Completion." Ada Evening News (OK), June 1, 1934, pg. 8

Hughes County Wanderings: Unidentified Atwood Church

Hughes County Wanderings: Barnard Memorial UMC

Barnard UMC, 8th and Gulf, Holdenville
Marilyn A. Hudson, c2015
The first Methodist Church in Holdenville was formed (indeed it is probably the first protestant church to form in the community) 1896 with a small congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1897, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South began a work 3 miles southeast of the present community in the spring and by the fall had moved into the town.  The two groups were the result of an 1844 split over the subject of slavery and how much authority the general church could have over affairs in the various conferences, a situation mirroring the national debate over slavery and state's rights. Hughes County emerging from  the region of Indian Territory had witnessed Methodist work in the region going back to 1845 among both the Creek and the Choctaw nations.  The southern branch always had a stronger presence and more resources in the region and so it was not long until the M.E. Church closed  (about 1911) and the building was sold in 1913 to the Episcopal Church which still occupies it with some additions to the original building. The M.E. returned in about 1923 and 'tried again' but soon they would make some history. Committed to both practicality and unity the two churches decided to join forces and so, several years before the 1939 denominational merger that reunited The Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and a cousin, The Methodist Protest Church in 1939, the church in Holdenville blazed a trail of peaceful unity. 

Route 66 OKC Loop: Wesley Methodist Church

Historic Route 66 - where you can get your 'kicks' according to an old pop song, is commonly known for the major points along its route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Usually those points are known because of that popular song and just as it says, Oklahoma City is very pretty and in the days of the major use of Route  66 (pre Interstate) travelers would have passed by Wesley United Methodist Church.  The light shining through its stained glass windows in the evening just might have been what was in mind when the city was declared to be pretty.

Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the home of Mrs. A.H. Tyler, 1220 NW 29th, on November 10, 1910. In the meeting were the first 28 charter members of the nascent church.  The first pastor was the Rev. F.A. Colwell appointed by Bishop Quayle of the Oklahoma Methodist Episcopal Conference.

The first church location was a simple structure with a sawdust covered floor.  The "Tabernacle", as it was then called, was located at 32nd and Military (32′ x 70′ ). The 1910 Journal of Methodist Episcopal Church, newspapers, and other documents indicate the Conference held at Alva, Oklahoma assigned the first pastor.  In October of 1910,  Frank A. Colwell as appointed pastor and  D. G. Murray was District Superintendent of this district.
In 1911, the congregation moved to NW 25th and Classen and in 1928 dedicated the lovely Gothic sanctuary with its large organ and many stained glass windows. A triangle of land in front of the church was deeded and developed by early Oklahoma pioneer business leader, Anton H. Classen

and his wife.  In 1939, the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal, South and the Methodist Protest Church formed a union to become the Methodist Church.  In 1968, the Methodist Church allied with the Evangelical and United Brethern churches to form the new United Methodist Church.

One time mayor of Oklahoma City, Jack S. Wilkes (April 9, 1963 - May 3, 1964)  had served as President of Oklahoma City University from 1957 to 1963. After that, for a year he served as pastor of Wesley Methodist Church. 

"Wilkes ran for Mayor with the backing of the Association for Responsible Government (ARG), an organization promoting efficiency and integrity in City government.  The election was dominated by concerns about metropolitan planning, Urban Renewal and the retention of the Mayor-Council-Manager form of government....During Mayor Wilkes’ time in office, City government became more centralized and citizens passed a sales tax to buttress the City’s finances.   The City’s Airport Trust received a large grant for improvements at Will Rogers World Airport and over $317 million was committed toward City growth.  The City also celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Land Run in 1964.  Mayor Wilkes resigned in May of 1964 to become President of Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana." (City of Oklahoma City)

Today, the church is nestled in an area poised to experience a rennaissance in business, residences, and community.  A newly identified "Asian District" highlights the presence and contributions of Asians in Oklahoma City and the Paseo Art District.  Nearby are several historic residential areas: Edgemere and Crown Heights, Gatewood, Military Park, Mesta Park, Heritage Hills.  

Just a block west of Wesley is Oklahoma City University and the two have enjoyed a close relationship since the school relocated to Oklahoma City in 1919 from Guthrie.  The music department at OCU and the music program at Wesley have enjoined a special relationship as Deans of that department and faculty there have frequently served as Music director for Wesley.  The worship arts of music, choir, organ, drama, and speech have been enriched by this tie and Wesley was often viewed as 'university church.'

Links - Additional information about the area of Route 6 can be found at http://mystorical.blogspot.com/2013/06/historic-route-66-in-oklahoma-city.html
--Marilyn A. Hudson

Old Route 66 Loop in OKC: The Milk Bottle Building

The "Milk Bottle Building" of Oklahoma City sits along old Route 66 on Classen, just north of NW 23rd. It is another feature along the forgotten loop of the "Mother Road" through Oklahoma City.

 Oklahoman reporter Kent Ruth wrote that the triangular building was built  as a grocery store about 1925.  His source was A.E. Warren and it was built by John J. Gordon. His source further claimed it had been a bootleg liquer store in the rowdy 1930's (Ruth, Kent. "Historical crooks, crannies." Oklahoman, Feb. 10, 1974, pg. 160). Ruth later heard from a long time resident who shared the building had been built in 1920-21 for Steffen ice cream. (Ruth, Kent. "Classen history inspires memories", Oklahoman, Aug.10, 1980, pg. 177).

The uniquely shaped structure of the bottle was designed by Arthur D. Nichols in 1932. The Oklahoma A & M engineering alum wass then working for the Boardman Company.  The sketch was transformed by metal worker Rudolph  Stavanuagh and another worker who built the metal frame and applied the sheet metal. Joe Flynm was the one to actually place the bottle in its location. ("Hatter Had Shop Under Milk Bottle," Oklahoman, April 7, 1997, pg. 71).
Photo by M.Hudson, 2013

The Bottle as Business
Mary Ann French said her father ran a hat shop there from 1930 to 1935. Frank Gallatin cleaned and built men's headwear before moving downtown to operate the Empire Hat Co. ("Hatter Had Shop Under Milk Bottle," Oklahoman, April 7, 1997, pg. 71).

Oklahoman columnist Robert E. Lee reported one of his reader had information about it from a decade later. Gayle Pierce said it was a "Flying Chicken" resturant that used the unique concept of delivering fried chicken by motorcycle during 1945-1947.( Lee, Robert E. "Milk Bottle Building Once Houses 'Flying Chicken', Oklahoman, Sept. 15, 1997, pg.70).

In 1951 the unique structure caused a bit of head scratching as authorities comtemplated widening the Classen street but found the building in the path.  Reluctant to destroy the feature a plan to swap the land for other park land and even moving the structure was considered.  The slight jog on Classen is the result. ("Milk Bottle Raises Classen Problem", Oklahoman, Aug. 29, 1951, pg. 6).

For years the log on the bottle promoted a now discontinued company, The Townley Milk Company, and was replaced by Oklahoman based Braums Dairy.

In 1993 the historic building and its iconic symbol barely missed destruction from fire.  Now housing a deli Hop Ky, operated by Sang Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant.  The area, now in a growing Asian district, was reflected in this new multi-cultural element. The article noted the building had been a grocery, a record store, the Beer Box, a florist, and a take out resturant (Owen, Peggy. "Landmark Milk Bottle Building Survives Fire, Repairs to Start", Oklahoman, April 25, 1993, pg. 11)
--Marilyn A. Hudson