SHPO Presents 2014 Awards

The Oklahoma Historical Society's State Historic Preservation Office presented its the Shirk Memorial Award for Historic Preservation and its 2014 Citations of Merit during an awards banquet in Norman on June 5, 2014, a highlight of Historic Preservation ABCs: Oklahoma's 26th 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:

Shirk Memorial Award for Historic Preservation

The Shirk Memorial Award for Historic Preservation is presented to individuals, organizations, and agencies that have had statewide impact on the preservation of Oklahoma's heritage through leadership, public programming, publications, research, restoration, and other contributions. This year's recipient was Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. (POK).

Because there was a real and growing interest in preservation statewide in the 1980s, people realized that government agencies could and should only do so much. So, local leaders and preservation professionals came together to form a statewide nonprofit preservation organization, POK. POK established its mission as increasing the public's awareness of important historic places and serving as an advocate for their preservation. This mission is accomplished through the annual Most Endangered Historic Places program, participation in "This Place Matters," the PlanFirst grants, presentation of workshops, and issue-based advocacy, as well as a partnership with the SHPO.

With the SHPO, POK cosponsors the annual statewide preservation conference, publishes Preservation Oklahoma News, produces nominations for the National Register of Historic Places, and carries out special training programs such as the Historic Route 66 community workshops.

Under a cooperative agreement with the Oklahoma Historical Society's Museums and Historic Sites Division, POK maintains its office in the Carriage House of the Overholser Mansion and manages this National Register-listed house museum for OHS. POK offers tours of the house, raises money for its restoration, oversees restoration work, and shares it with the public through special events. All of these projects and activities make POK one of the SHPO's most valued preservation partners.

2014 Citation of Merit Awards

1. The University of Oklahoma and Bockus Payne Associates Architects

We are pleased to recognize the University of Oklahoma and Bockus Payne Associates Architects for two outstanding rehabilitation projects. McCasland Field House was home to the Sooners basketball team until 1975. Today, the building houses the wrestling and volleyball programs. The building underwent a three-phase rehabilitation from 2004 to 2012. Exterior work included installation of new energy efficient aluminum windows to match the original steel single pane windows, masonry repair, and a new roof. Entrances and lobbies were refurbished, including installation of new wood doors to match the original, and the wood transoms were rehabilitated. The first building on The University of Oklahoma’s campus, Beatrice Carr Wallace Old Science Hall was originally constructed in 1884 and rebuilt after a fire in 1904. In 2007, a major rehabilitation project began that included window replacement, masonry repair, extensive interior rehabilitation, upgrade of mechanical systems, and construction of an addition to house an elevator, restrooms, and a stair. Both buildings will serve the university for decades to come, and the projects help maintain the character of the campus that we have all enjoyed this week.

2. Michael Brinkley and Lynda Donley

In 2011, Mike Brinkley and Lynda Donley began their painstaking rehabilitation of a 1921 Spanish Mission Revival-style house located at 639 S. Lahoma Avenue in Norman’s Chautauqua Historic District. Neighbors called this handsome structure “the poster child for historic preservation;” Mike and Lynda now call it home. Thought to be the first residential design of noted Oklahoma architect Harold Gimeno, the stucco building had fallen into severe disrepair and was vacant for seven years. Mike and Lynda acquired it after would-be buyers proposed demolition to Norman’s Historic District Commission, which denied the application. With Mike, a skilled carpenter doing nearly all of the work himself, the couple has meticulously restored the stucco, returned true divided light doors and windows to filled-in and altered openings, and most significantly installed a recycled polychrome terra cotta tile roof. Congratulations to Mike and Lynda for helping maintain this historic neighborhood.

3. Brent Swift

Since 1992, contractor Brent Swift has undertaken increasingly complex historic rehabilitation projects, working in residential and commercial buildings throughout Downtown Norman, the Porter Corridor, in Norman's Core Area neighborhoods and in Oklahoma City. He has become known for "acquiring the unaquirable" and rehabilitating buildings thought to be beyond salvage. In 2012 he began work on the Logan Building, a 1929 blond brick apartment, vacant for 18 years. It is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and a certified rehabilitation project is in progress. At 301 S. Poter, he rehabilitated the Greenleaf Grocery, an Art Deco-style commercial building also vacant for a decade. Brent has developed a sub¬ specialty in the rehabilitation of Mid-Century modern houses, his personal favorite style. He is recognized this evening for his preservation leadership and for demonstrating that almost any building can be brought back to productive life.

4. Standley Systems LLC

Standley Systems LLC receives the Citation of Merit for rehabilitation of the historic Sherman Iron Works building in Oklahoma City. The project resulted in conversion of the early 20th Century machine shop into a 21st Century information systems showroom and administrative headquarters. The Iron Works had been vacant for decades even though the surrounding Bricktown District flourished. Then about seven years ago, Greg Elliott and Standley Systems took an interest in the area with purchase of the building across the street from the Iron Works. In 2012 Standley’s purchased Sherman Iron Works and began work immediately to re-occupy both floors. Exterior windows were repaired. Exterior masonry was repointed. The interior ventilating and heating systems were replaced, and in September 2013, the National Park Service certified the rehabilitation of the Iron Works, a building individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. the project exemplifies the positive impacts of the federal and state rehabilitation tax credit programs.

5. The Coltrane Group

The Coltrane Group is recognized for efforts to preserve the heritage of Boley, the largest of Oklahoma's All-Black Towns and one of the state's twenty-two National Historic Landmarks. Andre' L. Head, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the organization, is an avid genealogist and researcher and is a descendent of Boley's Menser-Merritt Family. Under Andre's leadership and with his wife, Jessilyn's assistance, The Coltrane Group has accomplished numerous heritage preservation projects including a live webcast of The Boley Rodeo; a video of the townspeople of Boley entitled "The Crown Jewel"; and a rehabilitation assessment for the historic Boley Library. Also, the organization has collected scores of black and white photographs that document Boley's history and culture. Andre colorized twenty-five images from this collection, produced large-format prints, and displayed them in the exhibit, "Colored Memories". The exhibit opened in Boley during Memorial Day weekend 2013, and will be the subject of a forthcoming publication.

6. Beverly Bryant

Beverly Bryant, a journalist with the Ponca City News, has earned the respect and appreciation of the local historic preservation community, and she receives the Citation of Merit for her efforts to inform the public about Ponca City's heritage and the importance of its preservation. She attends the monthly meetings of the City's Historic Preservation Advisory Panel and works with them to distribute details about the full range of local preservation issues. Beverly's roots are in Ponca City and she has a special interest and passion for the preservation of the landmarks that reflect Ponca City's history. An example of her work is her series of articles for The Ponca City News Midweek section featuring Wentz Camp and the Ponca City Arts Center, which occupies the historic Soldani Mansion. Both properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Beverly is a gifted writer, publicist and advocate for historic preservation, and we thank her for her work.

7. Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Builders Unlimited, Inc., and GH2 Architects, LLC

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department made a significant contribution to statewide historic preservation efforts through rehabilitation of the Greenleaf State Park Nature Center. Constructed by the WPA in the 1930s, it has spectacular views of Lake Greenleaf. Working closely with the OTRD, GH2 Architects designed the stabilization and rehabilitation of the 1,600 square foot native stone and wood building, and Builders Unlimited, Inc. served as the project's general contractor. The project work included masonry, wood structure, interior finishes and door and window rehabilitation. In addition, new HVAC, life safety systems, and restrooms were carefully added. Exhibits and animal displays were also updated. With the project completed, the historic cultural gallery and nature center provide visitors to Greenleaf State Park with a quality learning experience.

8. Chickasha Housing Partners Limited Partnership

Chickasha Housing Partners Limited Partnership is recognized for its certified rehabilitation of the Chickasha Hotel. The hotel is a contributing resource to the Chickasha Downtown Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The project is the result of a collaboration among the former Chickasha Main Street Office, members of the local banking community, the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, and the SHPO. The Chickasha Hotel was pieced together over the decades from a series of adjoining hotels, and today, it serves the seniors community as an urban apartment building. The unique exterior stylistic and construction details of each individual hotel and their interior common areas were preserved, and the utilities were upgraded. The project is an outstanding example of the impact of the federal and state rehabilitation credits on communities across Oklahoma.

9. Ponca City Historic Re-Enactors Group

We recognize the Ponca City Historic Re-Enactors Group tonight for their performances that inform the public about Ponca City's heritage in an interesting and entertaining way. characters portrayed by these volunteers include B.S. Barnes, who explains how he made the 1893 Land Run to start a city; E.W. Marland, tenth governor of Oklahoma and founder of Marland Oil, now CONOCO Phillips, and his wife Lydie; Lew Wentz, philanthropic oil baron; Bill McFadden, Vice President of Marland Oil and founder of US Steel; and Zack Miller, owner of the 101 Ranch Wild West Show. The re-enactors have done extensive research to ensure the accuracy of their costumes and the roles they play. The group annually performs for Leadership Ponca City to assist in teaching them about their community's past, and visitors from around the world meet the Marlands at their mansion. Comments from the group’s audiences include, “We love this, you made our experience come alive.”

10. Cohen-Esrey Communities, LLC

Cohen-Esrey Communities, LLC transformed Enid’s Clay Hall, a long-shuttered women’s dormitory at former Philllips University, into 30 units of affordable senior housing. Built in phases between 1946 and 1959, it contained 200 dorm rooms and shared bathrooms. There was a large reception room on the first floor and smaller common spaces on the upper floors. During the 30 years it sat vacant, a leaking roof and pipes deteriorated surfaces, leaving heavy mold infestation. But, with careful planning, Masonry and terracotta were repaired; wood windows were restored and protected with exterior storms. Small dorm rooms were combined to create functional living units, retaining many historic closets and doors and most wood trim. Apartments have high ceilings that drop only at kitchens and bathrooms to conceal mechanical equipment. The project is the first certified rehabilitation in Enid and is yet another example of the statewide importance of the rehabilitation tax credits program.

11. Hobart Main Street Program

The Hobart Main Street Program is recognized this evening for its storefront restoration grants program. Since the program began eleven years ago, Midwestern Oklahoma Development Authority has awarded the organization $108,000 to fund it. Property owners can apply for a maximum of $1,000 in grant assistance and must match the amount received on at least a 50/50 basis. To date, approximately $700,000 has been invested in ninety-five storefront improvement projects in downtown Hobart. The Main Street design committee informs property owners about the grant opportunity, consults with the Oklahoma Main Street Center's architect about the appropriateness of proposed work, and administers the grant award process. Hobart Main Street is proud of the numerous awards it has received from the Oklahoma Main Street Center for the program and of the fact that other communities are using it as a model for their own facade initiatives. The grant program provides incentives for storefront rehabilitation and makes the historic district a special destination for local citizens and visitors alike.

12. International Order of the Rainbow for Girls

The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls receives the SHPO’s Citation of Merit for stewardship of the IORG Supreme Assembly Temple, located in McAlester. Constructed in 1951 with monies raised by the world-wide girls’ organization founded in McAlester in 1922, the Supreme Assembly Temple is an excellent, unique example of the Moderne architectural style. The IORG has done a remarkable job of maintaining and preserving the building that has been their world headquarters for over sixty years. Recently, the IORG received one of the SHPO’s National Register nomination grants and retained Cynthia Savage to prepare the successful nomination form for the building. It was listed on the National Register in June 2013, and the IORG membership celebrated the designation through rededication of the building during their convention last July.

13. Jonita Mullins

We are pleased to present the Citation of Merit to Jonita Mullins for development and presentation of Historic Neighborhood Walking Tours, a program that highlights four of Muskogee's original townsite residential areas. The Samuel L. Sadler, Capital, Founders’ Place and Kendall Place districts are featured. The tours focus on the individual properties that represent the significant events, people and architecture that give Muskogee its unique character. These neighborhoods included the homes of an Oklahoma Governor, U.S. Senator, three U.S. Representatives, and a state Attorney General. They also represent significant African American history and include the former campus of Henry Kendall College (now Tulsa University). Colonial, Classical, Tudor, and Mission Revival architectural styles, as well as Queen Anne, Craftsman, Romanesque and Prairie School styles, are found in these historic districts. Programs like these walking tours attract out-of-town guests and also increase public awareness about the heritage of their own community.

14. Midtown Investments LLC

The Packard-Eisele Motors Building was another early day Oklahoma City landmark that had deteriorated through the decades and lingered through dozens of shop owners. Its exterior windows had been removed. Then the Midtown Investments Company realized the opportunity to accommodate Oklahoma City’s booming growth by converting the Eisele’s historic showroom interior into lease space while preserving the large uninterrupted open volumes of the first floor showroom. However, the key challenge of replacing the missing window and storefronts with historically compatible new construction had to be addressed. After months of evaluation, design submittals, and government reviews, the National Park Service certified the Eisele’s rehabilitation in August 2013. The project is another historic preservation success in the Automobile Alley Historic District.

15. City of Ponca City, Ponca City Historic Preservation Advisory Panel, and Ponca City Main Street

In September, 2013, the Ponca City Historic Preservation Advisory Panel in partnership with Ponca City Main Street and The City of Ponca City celebrated "Local History Month". Prior to a meeting of the Mayor and Board of Commissioners, a public reception was held, and the history of Ponca City’s founding was presented. Then, the owners of National Register of Historic Places properties in the community were recognized for their stewardship of these important resources. A special certificate of merit was presented to recognize an outstanding rehabilitation of one of the National Register properties. We congratulate these Citation of Merit recipients for their efforts to increase public awareness of Ponca City’s heritage and the importance of its preservation.

16. Ed Taylor and the Tulsa Community College Documentary Filmmaking Class

As City of Tulsa officials, business community leaders, and citizens began to consider how they might capitalize on the twenty-three miles of Historic Route 66 that runs through the city, it quickly became evident that visitors had a difficult time just finding it. so, the Route 66 Task Force was formed to address the issue of identity. Ed Taylor, Assistant Professor of Journalism-Broadcasting at Tulsa Community College, worked with his Documentary Filmmaking class to produce Tulsa: Finding 66. The video traces each of the Route 66 corridors through the city and the possibilities to capitalize on the historic road along each one. Student producers included Mia Riddle and Andrew Hicks for Admiral Boulevard; Jessica McKelvey and Angel Vides for 11th Street; and Chelsea Buczek for Southwest Blvd. The video is now a valuable tool for the Route 66 Task Force and other Route 66 advocates as they plan to preserve the identity of the highway and to enhance heritage tourism initiatives in Tulsa.

17. Charles L. Leider
Dr. Charles L. Leider has devoted his career to identifying, documenting, and sharing the state’s historic landscapes with the public. His "Great Historic Cultural Landscapes of Oklahoma" project is one example of these efforts and his achievements in teaching, research, and service to the state over the last twenty-five years. Under Dr. Leider's leadership, the Oklahoma State University Landscape Architecture Program students documented historic and cultural landscapes and developed driving tours that feature these special places, contributing to the preservation of an often overlooked part of Oklahoma’s heritage. Researchers can access the OSU student's case studies on the Library of Congress website and in the Special Collection section of OSU's Edmond Lowe Library. The SHPO congratulates Dr. Leider for his leadership and scholarship.

18. Northern Oklahoma College, GH2 Architects, LLC, and Hemphill Services, LLC
Northern Oklahoma College; Gh2 Architects, LLC; and Hemphill Services, LLC are recognized for rehabilitation of two buildings on NOC’s Tonkawa campus. Wilkin Hall was constructed in 1908, and Harold Hall was constructed in 1914. The project work addressed deterioration to the exterior of both landmark buildings. The scope of work included tuck pointing, window replacement, stone cornice repair, restoration of a portion of an original monumental stair and portico, selective roof replacement, and masonry rehabilitation. GH2 performed field investigations, prepared drawings of existing conditions for the two buildings, and provided design services on a fast track basis to meet strict funding and scheduling requirements. Hemphill Services, LLC served as the General Contractor for the five-month project.

19. Ponca City Art Association
In 1966, the Ponca City Art Association purchased the Soldani Mansion for their headquarters. The house was constructed in 1925 for Anthony Godance Soldani, an Osage tribal member and prominent Ponca City citizen. Designed by George J. Cannon and built by O.F. Keck, it exhibits characteristics of the “Mediterranean Revival” style, and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The association recently completed an extensive roof repair project, funded with a donation from the late granddaughter of the Soldani's. The project work included installation of custom rafters that duplicated the originals and removal of all roof tiles, replacing damaged ones with new, high quality green terra cotta tiles mixed with the sound originals forming a pattern that reduced the contrast in color between the new and the old. We commend the association for their exemplary stewardship of this Ponca City landmark.

20. Thomas Foster and the University of Tulsa's Spring 2013 Cultural Resource Management Class
After consulting with the State Historic Preservation Office to identify a real-world project for his Spring 2013 Cultural Resource Management Class, Dr. Thomas Foster, Associate Professor of Anthropology, led the University of Tulsa students in the field investigation of 1946 to 1976 neighborhoods in Tulsa. The students conducted internet searches, examined newspaper archives, visited the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office and reviewed the Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory to learn as much as they could about the neighborhoods and their development. The project results will be incorporated into the SHPO’s project to document mid-century neighborhoods and evaluate their significance in Oklahoma. The project gave the students a real hands-on experience; it got them out of the classroom and into the neighborhoods to interact with the people of Tulsa and learn how preservation is applied in the real world. Plus, Dr. Foster and his students made an invaluable contribution to the SHPO’s efforts to understand and preserve resources of the recent past.

21. Blythe and Casey Wilson
In 2007 Blythe and Casey Wilson opened Althea’s Vault on Main Street in Washington, located in McClain County. The building once housed the First American Bank Building. The vault doors are still visible in the restaurant today. The Wilson’s offer full service catering, creative cakes and specialty coffee from their store front in Washington. In addition to running a successful business they are also the proud parents of five who can be seen helping out. As Althea's Vault is one of the few businesses operating along Main Street in Washington, the Wilsons are commended for contributing to the local economy and for preserving an important part of community history.

22. Main Street of Perry, Cherokee Strip Museum, City of Perry, and Civic Organization Cooperative Effort
Main Street of Perry, Cherokee Strip Museum, the City of Perry, and Civic Organization Cooperative Effort were the local cosponsors for Our Sense of Place: Oklahoma's 25th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. The event was held June 5-7, 2013, in historic downtown Perry. The local sponsors made all arrangements for conference venues, coordinated catering services, made sure equipment for presentations was provided, handled all registration, and secured the block of hotel rooms. Without their partnership, the conference would not have been possible. The Oklahoma Main Street Center and Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. annually join the SHPO to sponsor the conference, and we all agree that the local agencies and organizations are what make each year's program a success. Perry is the smallest community to ever host the conference, and we know that attendees really enjoyed themselves and appreciated the special hospitality.