SHPO Presents 2013 Awards

The Oklahoma Historical Society's State Historic Preservation Office presented its 2013 Citations of Merit during an awards banquet in Perry on June 6, 2013, a highlight of Our Sense of Place: Oklahoma's 25th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. The recipients have contributed to the preservation of Oklahoma's significant archeological and historic properties through research, public programming, restoration/rehabilitation, and other activities. The recipients included:

1. Tulsa Public Schools, GH2 Architects, LLC and Manhattan Construction Company, Inc.

Tulsa Public Schools is commended for its leadership in the rehabilitation of one of the oldest facilities in its District, the Pleasant Porter School, located at 1740 West 41st Street. GH2 Architects, LLC provided the architectural design services, and Manhattan Construction Company, Inc. managed the rehabilitation work. The project adapted the 1929 elementary school for use as an early childhood development center. The rehabilitation included installation of new heating and air conditioning, electrical, and life safety systems. Also added were new learning technology systems, an updated kitchen, cafeteria, and new elevator for accessibility to both floors. Careful attention was given to the primary elevation and classical portico at the main entrance of the building. This project demonstrates that a modern learning environment can be accommodated in a historic school building.

2. Washington High School Honor Society and McClain County Board of Commissioners

Washington High School Honor Society and the McClain County Board of Commissioners are recognized for their joint efforts to maintain the historic Jack Brown Cemetery near Cole. The cemetery was included in Preservation Oklahoma's 2010 list of Most Endangered Historic Places. After the listing, McClain County Commissioner Wilson Lyles took an interest in the cemetery. He contacted the Washington High School Honor Society, and enlisted the students' support. For the past three years, the Washington High School Honor Society has adopted the cemetery, providing volunteer labor to clean and maintain the grounds. The cemetery is named for a Chickasaw Freedman sharecropper. It contains four marked graves and several unmarked graves and was rapidly being lost to deterioration and overgrowth. The efforts of the students and the County Commissioners have ensured that this special place will not be forgotten.

3. Beverly Frantz, Oklahoma City

The 1960's Rollingwood neighborhood of northwest Oklahoma City is just that - “rolling woods.” It features houses known as "rustic ranches" or "storybook ranches.” Ms. Frantz's house is located on a corner lot and features rough cedar siding, diamond-paned windows, and the low-slung roofline. Interior features include the original wainscot and crown molding. Learning that her house's design was based on a 1956 Parade of Homes model and featured on a California-based, storybook ranch website, she decided to let others know about the significance of this architectural style. In 2012, she arranged for a speaker to discuss the topic at the Rollingwood Neighborhood Association's membership meeting. Afterwards, her neighbors began repairing aging architectural details, re-painting their wooden trim, and appreciating the unique character of the neighborhood. Through her work, there will be many more chapters for these Rollingwood Storybook Ranch Houses, including the one in which she and her husband raised their four children. One of them, her son Ron, submitted the Citation of Merit nomination.

4. Kathleen Lacey, Anadarko

Built in 1904, the DeVaughn Drug is located at 103 West Broadway in Anadarko, and it functioned as a pharmacy for over 100 years. O.E. Stevenson moved his pharmacy business into the building in 1904. The DeVaughn family acquired the business in 1959, changed its name from Rexall to the DeVaughn's Drug Store, and operated their pharmacy at this location through 2005. Then, Dr. Lacey, a licensed psychologist, purchased the building in 2009 and began its rehabilitation. Completed in 2011, the certified rehabilitation project included repair of the building's exterior walls, windows, and storefront and extensive interior work. The historic building now houses a number of mental health and social services programs serving a multi-county area and the several tribal governments located in the region. Dr. Lacey receives the Citation of Merit for her efforts to preserve this important building in the Anadarko Downtown Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

5. Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association

The Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association is recognized for their identification of graves of those who came to Indian Territory over the Trail of Tears and of places associated with their journey. Through genealogical research, the chapter determines which family members came to present-day Oklahoma over the Trail of Tears, locate their graves, and place a special plaque on the headstones to honor them. Since the project began in 1998, the organization has marked 136 graves. During the summer of 2012, chapter members assisted the SHPO and National Park Service staff to identify three Trail of Tears sites and secure owner permission for their nomination to the National Register.

6. Rogers County Historical Society

The Rogers County Historical Society is commended for rehabilitation of the Will Rogers Library building for use as their new Claremore Museum of History. The Society leased the building from the City of Claremore and raised private funds for its rehabilitation. Completed and dedicated in 1936, the library was funded through the WPA and $3,500 from Will Rogers, received from his sale of property once owned by his father, to the federal government. Although Will did not want the building named for himself, after his death, members of his family agreed the library should bear his name. The cornerstone from the old livery located on the property he sold was used in the library's exterior as a tribute to Will. Museum exhibits will feature noted Claremore personalities, Cherokee heritage, Radium Town, and the railroads that brought prosperity to Claremore.

7. Russ Bennett, Lawton

After twenty-six years of federal service as a civilian attorney, Russell Bennett retired in December 2012 as Fort Sill's Environmental Law Attorney with the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. He provided leadership for historic preservation and environmental matters in general, including development and implementation processes for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Additionally, he provided direct input for consultations concerning the full range of cultural resources at Fort Sill from prehistoric archeological sites to Mid-twentieth Century buildings. While assisting Fort Sill in meeting its responsibilities under the law, he was persistent in his advocacy for the preservation of history and for the peoples to whom that history matters. Mr. Bennett's colleagues who prepared the Citation of Merit nomination note that his leadership is greatly missed.

8. Guymon's This Place Matters Tour Sponsors and Volunteers, including: Southern Office Supply, Phyllis Claycomb, Sara Richter, Jim and Ann Grocholski, Dean and Joan Kear, Judy Ortiz, Mike and Susan Byers, Craig and Jamie Barnes, and Sharon Morgan

Participating in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's initiative, the Main Street Guymon Design Committee presented its first This Place Matters Tour on Sunday afternoon, April 29, 2012. Five of Guymon's historic buildings were featured in the tour which attracted more than twice the number of expected guests. Jim and Ann Grocholski helped plan the event and opened their historic home for the tour. Dean and Joan Kear served as the historians and hosts for the tour at the old Guymon High School. Judy Ortiz served as the historian for the Nash House. Mike and Susan Byers, current owners of the Nash House, graciously hosted the tour in their home. Craig and Jamie Barnes, now owners of the Varney Farm, shared their home and yard, and Sharon Morgan completed the research on the property. The Hotel Dale was also featured on the tour. Southern Office Supply now occupies it, and they generously supported the event. Phyllis Claycomb compiled the hotel's history and served as a docent during the tour. The program culminated with a reception in the hotel lobby and Sara Richter's lecture about the Hay Meadow Massacre.

9. General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute & Museum, Hobart

Retired General Tommy Franks selected Hobart to be the site for his museum of artifacts and memorabilia from around the world that reflects his distinguished career in the U.S. Army. After successful funding campaigns and the cooperation of the City of Hobart, five historic buildings were initially secured and rehabilitated. The museum opened on May 28, 2009, and the SHPO recognized this effort that year. Since then, two additional buildings have been acquired for museum expansion, including the old Peet's Station, which was vacant and deteriorating. The GTFLI&M brings over 30,000 visitors each year to tour the museum's exhibits and participate in the many special events held in this exceptional facility.

10. Langston University and Anishinabe Design Inc. of Norman

Langston University and Anishinabe Design Inc. are recognized for the rehabilitation of Langston University Cottage Row Historic District. The district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, as the result of a SHPO staff project. The district is situated in the southwest corner of the campus, and the houses originally served as living quarters for faculty members. In the summer of 2012, the University completed rehabilitation of the houses under a Historically Black Colleges and Universities matching grant from the National Park Service. Barrett L. Williamson, of Anishinabe Design Inc., provided the design services and worked closely with the SHPO staff as this federal grant project required compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. The cottages are again serving the University in a variety of ways.

11. Charles Thompson, Moore

Charles Thompson is commended for his efforts to preserve the history of the Moore Old School building and its K-12 alumni that attended the school from 1921-1958. Mr. Thompson underwrote the cost to produce a DVD that highlighted the building, which now serves as a business center in Moore's Old Town. Working through the Moore Alumni Association (1921-1958), Mr. Thompson used alumni interviews and historical images to highlight the school's students, faculty, and traditions. Five hundred DVDs were printed and given to members of the alumni association and to the Moore library. Additional copies were made available to the public through Moore City Hall and Moore Chamber of Commerce. Based on the efforts of Mr. Thompson and the Association, the Old School building has received a great deal of attention in the press. Occupancy of the historic building is at an all­time high, and the alumni association continues to thrive.

12. Severs Centennial Gala, Muskogee

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Severs Hotel, its current occupant, Bank of Oklahoma, partnered with Downtown Muskogee, Inc. for a gala event. The iconic 10-story building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was rehabilitated in 1987. In recognition of the hotel's important role in Muskogee's history for the past 100 years, a group of community volunteers created and performed a play about the many famous (and infamous) visitors to the hotel. The Three Rivers Museum also created an exhibit on the Hotel's history as well as that of its builder, Frederick B. Severs. Over 150 guests crowded into the former hotel lobby for the performance which included an aria by Barbara McAlester, an Oklahoma Arts Council roster artist. Bank of Oklahoma president, Jim Eaton, gave a brief history about the hotel, and Frederick Severs, a founder of the first bank in Indian Territory.

13. Armstrong Trust

Located at the northeast corner of North Bell and Main, Shawnee's major downtown intersection, this 1895 building has been in the Armstrong family since the 1930s. Once home to the well-known Blaine's Women's Wear, the two-story building now houses a travel shop, a physical fitness center, a health food store, a restaurant, and a stained glass manufacturer. Recommendations for this facade improvement project were provided by the Oklahoma Main Street staff architect shortly after Shawnee joined the network in 1989. Due to the economy at the time, the work was delayed. But since then, the building was included in the National Register as part of the Bell Street Historic District, and the City of Shawnee established the Downtown Facade Grants program, made available during the summer of 2012. As one of the first three grant recipients, the owners completed project work last fall. Though it took two decades for the project to get underway, it has had immediate impact on both Bell and Main Streets.

14. The Donnell Family, Oklahoma City

In 1951, Jim and Lucille Donnell purchased a bungalow on a corner just off the Paseo Street in Oklahoma City. They raised their three children while working on the house. Over the next twenty years, the neighborhood suffered serious decline. Then, in the 1970s, the Paseo Artists district emerged. By the 1980s, the Paseo Neighborhood Association was stable, and Positively Paseo! began rehabilitating houses. Supporting the redevelopment effort, the Donnell's eventually purchased five contiguous bungalows, rehabilitated them, updated a number of garage apartments, established an artist's home studio, and took part in neighborhood activities. Lucille and her daughter Tammy are recognized for their family's more than six decades of service as stewards of this historic residential district.

15. Betty White Smith, Pawhuska, (presented posthumously)

The Osage County Historical Society Museum preserves thousands of artifacts and tells the story of the area's rich heritage. Through the posthumous award of the Citation of Merit, Betty White Smith is recognized for her leadership in the museum's development. Born in Pawhuska in 1911, Ms. Smith served as a volunteer Director-Curator of the Museum from its inception in 1963 until her death in 2006 at the age of 94. Just one of her lasting contributions was her co-authorship of the Osage County Profiles, an invaluable collection of material for local history research. This remarkable lady was the life blood of the Museum, and she ensured her support would continue after her death through a generous bequest.

16. Cynthia Savage, Pocasset

Since 1999, Cynthia Savage has worked as an independent historic preservation consultant offering a wide range of services through her firm, Architectural Resources and Community Heritage Consulting. Her specialty is the preparation of National Register nominations, but it is what she does with the knowledge she gains from each project that gives her work a statewide significance. Frequently, she transforms her research and passion for the State's history into articles for publications such as The Chronicles of Oklahoma and Preservation Oklahoma News. She was also a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma. Audiences across the state also benefit from her numerous presentations on a wide variety of subjects at the Oklahoma Statewide Preservation Conference, The Oklahoma Historical Society's Annual Meeting, and for other organizations.

17. ImageNet Consulting, Oklahoma City
ImageNet Consulting completed the second certified rehabilitation of the Vesper Building, a contributing resource to the Automobile Alley Historic District. The first rehabilitation was completed and certified in 2004 and the work recognized this evening was completed and certified in 2012. Ghost, a print and branding design company, now occupies the entire Broadway Avenue frontage on the first floor. Project work followed the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and is another outstanding example of how the federal and state rehabilitation tax credits have encouraged redevelopment of this National Register district.

18. Ada Hunter & Simon Ott
In 2010, the day after purchase, a fire severely damaged the historic properties located at 419-421 Main Street in Downtown Shawnee. After the fire, owners Ada Hunter and Simon Ott began reconstruction of the buildings, funded entirely on their own as insurance coverage did not apply so soon after purchase. According to the Sweet Earth Studio website, the buildings were “originally intended for the headquarters of their restoration and fine carpentry company. The building boasted plenty of space for a showroom, and the idea developed into a full-blown artist's gallery” known today as Sweet Earth Studio. It houses an artists' gallery and boutique and Mingle, a meeting place for art classes and other events. Ada and Simon retained much of the original facade and used sustainable practices in the project.

19. City of Ponca City and Mary Jane Warde, Stillwater
With an annual matching grant from the SHPO's Certified Local Governments fund, the City of Ponca City undertook an intensive-level survey to document the historic churches of the community. The City retained Dr. Mary Jane Warde, Historian, to complete the field and archival work required and to prepare the report. Thirty-six buildings were recorded. The information will be used in a variety of ways, including possible future nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. The architecture of religious buildings is often some of the most impressive design work in any community, and the results of the Ponca City survey demonstrate their significance to the overall character of the city and its sense of place.

20. Cathy Ambler, Tulsa
Cathy is passionate about historic preservation, both in Tulsa and across the state. Before coming to Oklahoma, she served as Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for the State of Kansas. After arriving in Tulsa, she became active in historic preservation statewide by serving on the Board of Directors for Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. She served as a speaker for POK's Most Endangered Places lecture series and provided a strong voice in the advocacy campaign to retain the State rehabilitation tax credits. Also, Cathy has regularly participated as a speaker in the annual statewide preservation conference and has many successful National Register nominations to her credit. Her long-time research interest is cemetery history and she has authored two journal articles on cemetery landscapes, one of which is included in a book on Kansas cemeteries. She has given numerous talks in both Kansas and Oklahoma for the Humanities Council on the significance of cemeteries and their relationship to community history.

21. Downtown Shawnee Facade Grant Program
The City of Shawnee, in partnership with the Shawnee Industrial Foundation and the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation, recently established a grant program to encourage local business and property owners to rehabilitate the historic facades of buildings in the locally designated downtown historic district. The program provides matching funds up to $2,500 to facilitate appropriate facade improvements, including the removal of non-historic materials. The first three grants were awarded in Fall 2012, and two of the projects are now complete.

22. Cosponsors of Oklahoma's 24th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference, including:
Tahlequah Main Street Association, Cherokee Nation Tourism, City of Tahlequah, Friends of the Thompson House, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce, Tahlequah City Historic Preservation Advisory Board, Tahlequah Tourism, and the United Keetoowah Band. Go with the Flow of Preservation: Oklahoma's 24th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference was held June 6-8, 2012, in Tahlequah. The local cosponsors again made this annual event possible and greatly contributed to its success. The Tahlequah Main Street Association was the lead local sponsor and coordinated all local arrangements, secured hotel rooms, managed registration, and all the other details that are necessary for such an event. The opening reception at the Thompson House and the SHPO's awards banquet held at Northeastern State University were highlights of the conference.

23. City of Norman and Swearingen Communications, Tulsa
With funds from the SHPO's Certified Local Governments Program, the City of Norman retained professional film makers, Swearingen Communications, to produce a documentary titled, Historic Downtown Norman. The main theme of the video is how historic preservation activities served as an engine for revitalizing Norman's downtown. It stresses how the historic buildings of the central commercial district brought new restaurants and art studios to Norman and new customers and tourists into the National Register district along Main Street. The production will be an important tool in ongoing promotional efforts for the district, and it demonstrates one of the reasons that Norman was selected as the location for Oklahoma's 26th Annual Statewide Preservation conference in June 2014.