SHPO Presents 2015 Awards

The Oklahoma Historical Society's State Historic Preservation Office presented its 2015 Citations of Merit during an awards banquet in Bartlesville on June 4, 2015, a highlight of Tradition and Transition: Oklahoma's 27th 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:

2015 Citation of Merit Awards

1. Bruce Hall and Mike Stuart

Since 2009, Bruce Hall and Mike Stuart have worked to revitalize properties in the Miller’s Boulevard Historic District, including 2517 Northwest 15th Street. The 1927 house was in rough shape when the pair stepped in and began an extensive rehabilitation project. They repaired the plaster walls, restored the hardwood floors, and removed layers of paint from the brick fireplace. Additionally, Bruce and Mike removed the vinyl siding and carefully restored the historic wood siding. They receive the Citation of Merit for their rehabilitation efforts and for their leadership in a wide range of neighborhood preservation activities. Their dedication was key to completion of the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the District.

2. Tim Williams

Tim Williams receives the citation of Merit for his certified rehabilitation of a 1918 commercial building located in Tulsa’s Brady Heights Historic District. The building was vacant and boarded up when he acquired the property. Then, the November 2011 earthquakes caused extensive damage to the building’s masonry. Due to the deterioration, earthquake damage, and subsequent emergency stabilization measures, the SHPO initially determined that the building had lost its historic integrity. However, Tim documented its original character, preserved the remaining historic fabric, rebuilt the exterior to recapture the building’s integrity, and rehabilitated the interior. Tim now operates his catering business from the 217 West Latimer Building, a contributing resource to the National Register-listed District.

3. Coury Properties and Preservation and Design Studio

The Osler Building, 1200 North Walker, Oklahoma City, was constructed in 1928, and additions were completed in 1929 and 1946. It originally housed the Osler X Ray and Clinical Laboratory. While changes to architectural details occurred through time, the building continues to express the Mission/Spanish Colonial style as applied to an Oklahoma City office building, and it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Coury Properties acquired the long-vacant building and, with the services of Preservation and Design Studio completed a certified rehabilitation of the historic building. It now functions as the Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City, one of the vibrant new businesses in the City’s Midtown and an excellent example of how the federal and state rehabilitation tax credits encourage redevelopment.

4. Shelby Navarro and Rachel Navarro

The State Historic Preservation Office congratulates Shelby and Rachel on their certified rehabilitation of the commercial property at 1302 East 6th Street in Tulsa. Constructed in 1928, the building originally functioned as shops and open bay warehouse space. Today, retail businesses that cater to downtown Tulsa residents occupy the building. It contributes to the Sixth Street Commercial/Residential Historic District, located along East 6th from South Peoria Avenue to the alley between Quaker & Quincy Avenues and is the first certified rehabilitation project in the National Register-listed District.

5. Midtown Renaissance

Over the last ten years, Midtown Renaissance has redeveloped several buildings in Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley Historic District. The company’s most recent certified rehabilitation is The Guardian Building which incorporates a mix of commercial and residential uses within the historic interior loft spaces. It is an excellent example of Midtown Renaissance’s efforts to return exciting urban life to Automobile Alley and downtown Oklahoma City. Project work was completed in April 2014 and received National Park Service certification in June 2014. Congratulations on your continuing efforts to make Automobile Alley a favorite destination for city residents and visitors alike.

6. Fredda Puckett and Leyton Puckett

In 1982, Inez Wade, a recent widow, realized that she was facing the next chapter of life. For her new home, she purchased a historic corner of Del City, which contained one of the area’s few original farmhouses. For more than twenty-five years, she built family memories in the 1920s house. After she moved to assisted living, the family continued to think about the importance of the house to all of them. So, granddaughter Fredda Puckett and great-grandson Leyton purchased it and began making repairs while respecting their grandmother’s house. Fredda especially enjoys the kitchen because it contains so many memories. She continues to research the history of the house and her family’s ties to Del City. Sadly, as this Citation of Merit nomination was being written, Inez Wade passed away at the age of 93. But, her “Sooner” House is in good hands as two more generations call this Del City corner “home.”

7. Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.; Gumerson and Associates; and Mike Kertok

Leading by example, Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. recently completed six years of work to restore the exterior of the historic Henry Overholser Mansion. Individually listed on the National Register and included in the Heritage Hills National Register District and local historic preservation district, the Mansion was home to one of Oklahoma City’s founding families and the “Father of Oklahoma City.” Extensive fundraising brought generous local support from many sources. The windows, roof, porches, brick, sandstone, and chimneys were repaired, and original stone and paint colors were restored. Project work was guided by the Oklahoma Historical Society, which owns the property, architect Mike Kertok, and volunteer project manager Bill Gumerson, Gumerson and Associates. POK manages the historic house for the OHS and maintains its offices in the mansion’s Carriage House.

8. John Snyder and Tori Snyder

Oklahoma’s architectural legacy is rich with mid-twentieth century designs, and the Snyders are recognized for their adaptive reuse of two important examples. In 1968, Murray Jones Murray designed city hall and the council room as part of the new Civic Center campus for the City of Tulsa. Both buildings are contributing resources to the Tulsa Civic Center Historic District, listed in the National Register in January 2012. When the center no longer met the City’s needs, a new city hall was constructed and the historic buildings were sold to the Snyders. They converted the buildings to the Aloft Hotel, a twenty-first century hotel within the historic, mid-century skyscraper’s interior. We congratulate the Snyder’s on their certified rehabilitation project.

9. Small Architects

Built in 1906, the commercial building at 108 South Broadway in Edmond originally housed two separate businesses, a jewelry store on the first floor and a funeral parlor on the second. Through the years, the building underwent numerous renovations. Then, in 2011, Small Architects purchased the building and began the rehabilitation process. The firm now occupies both floors with a modern architectural studio and conference space. As you enter, you immediately get a sense of the building’s history. Its special features include the sandstone-clad exterior walls and the interior’s polished concrete floor, bead-board wainscot and tin ceiling. Small Architects is commended for bringing a part of historic downtown Edmond back to life.

10. Dan Davis Law Firm; MODA Architecture; Preservation and Design Studio; and Titus Construction

Calvary Baptist Church is located at 300 North Walnut in Oklahoma’s City’s Deep Deuce. The church is significant to the city’s African American community and was prominent in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It served as headquarters for “protests” that led to the desegregation of local businesses, and hosted guest pastor Martin Luther King, Jr. The church is listed in the National Register and the City of Oklahoma City designated it a local landmark. The Dan Davis Law Firm recently acquired the historic church, and with the services of MODA Architecture, Preservation and Design Studio, and Titus Construction, completed its rehabilitation. Adapted for law offices, project work included restoration of historic features and spaces, re-creation of a historic neon sign, and rehabilitation of the sanctuary, now available for community events. The certified rehabilitation rejuvenated a true Downtown Oklahoma City landmark and an important piece of Oklahoma history.

11. Group M Investments

On January 29, 2014, Group M Investments re-opened the historic Casa Loma Hotel as the Campbell Hotel. The rehabilitated hotel features an events center and a full-service restaurant. Constructed on Route 66 in the 1920s, the Casa Loma Hotel offered lodging for visitors to Tulsa’s central business district and to the Tulsa University campus. The hotel is listed in the National Register for its association with Route 66 and as an example of Mission/Spanish colonial Revival architecture. Group M Investments’ certified rehabilitation project will ensure that another generation of travelers on the historic highway and others can experience a part of downtown Tulsa’s heritage. The project is another example of the importance of the federal and state rehabilitation tax credits in community redevelopment statewide.

12. Alice Robertson Junior High School

Alice Robertson Junior High School was named for the first woman elected to Congress from Oklahoma and one of Muskogee’s most important citizens. Constructed in 1939 under the WPA, the school celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in November 2014, and the event honored Ms. Robertson and her Sawokla (Gathering Place). The school’s faculty and staff share an intense pride in the building and grounds, and the attached Indian Bowl stadium. Their curation of early twentieth century memorabilia and research collections, including correspondence from Alice Robertson, newspaper clippings about her, and historic photographs of the school, her homes, and her family qualify Alice Robertson Junior High School as a recipient of the Citation of Merit.

13. Terry Cline

In 1929, Harry Frederickson built a house in the 700 block of Northeast 21st Street in Oklahoma City for Dr. John Roddy’s private residence. It is a contributing resource to the Capitol/Lincoln Terrace Historic District, which is immediately southeast of the Oklahoma State Capitol and listed in the National Register. Terry Cline acquired the property a few years ago, and his rehabilitation project received National Park Service certification in 2014. Project work included the houses’ exterior, interior, and grounds. The SHPO presents the Citation of Merit to Terry for his efforts to preserve a part of the neighborhood’s historic character and to provide quality housing for another generation.

14. St. John’s Episcopal Church; GH2 Architects LLC; and Magnum Construction, Inc.

Constructed in 1950, St. John’s Episcopal Church is an architecturally significant building in mid-town Tulsa. To accommodate the congregation’s current needs and to protect the building’s historic character, the church, with the services of GH2 Architects LLC and Magnum Construction, Inc., rehabilitated an addition to the building and added a new space for events. A new courtyard features a labyrinth, seating areas, and new landscape elements. It was sited to enhance views of the existing church tower, and to preserve existing trees and fences. The multi-use room was updated and historic interior features were retained. The spaces work together for activities ranging from quiet contemplation at the labyrinth to receptions, ceremonies, and presentations. Congratulations on an exemplary preservation effort.

15. Skirvin Partners LLC; Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority; and Center for Economic Development Law

On March 3, 2004, Skirvin Partners LLC and the Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority, with the assistance of the Center for Economic Development Law, executed the Redevelopment Agreement for the Historic Skirvin Hotel. The Agreement required donation of a preservation easement to ensure protection of the hotel’s architectural, historic, and cultural features for the benefit of the people of Oklahoma City. Skirvin Partners LLC carried through on their commitment. On September 9, 2014, the Mayor and City Council accepted the donation of the preservation easement on the historic Skirvin Hilton, with a positive recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission. It is the first preservation easement granted to the City. We commend the recipients for ensuring protection of the landmark hotel in perpetuity through this effective planning tool. Their efforts provide a model for other communities concerned about vibrant economies and heritage preservation.

16. Seekers of Success

Seekers of Success is recognized for The Anchor House project. The Anchor House is located at 822 S. Johnstone Avenue. Built in 1905, it was originally the home of John J. Shea and is the only surviving house of the many that once lined the block. From 1960 to 2010, it housed a local charity’s consignment shop. In 2014, it was purchased for Anchor House. The exterior rehabilitation included repairs to the soffits, wood siding, porch deck and columns, glass replacement, painting, and a roof replacement. Interior work included stucco wall repairs, floor refinishing, and painting. The Anchor House serves Bartlesville as a multi-tenant center for non-profits addressing availability of affordable housing, services for the homeless, and other critical community issues. The SHPO thanks Seekers of Success for their community service and support of local preservation goals.

17. Bob Fraser
Since October 1, 2006, Bob Fraser has served as CEO of The Frank Phillips Foundation and Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve. He oversees the operations and marketing of Woolaroc, Frank Phillips’ 3,700 acre ranch listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Woolaroc was founded in 1925 and is one of Oklahoma’s leading tourist attractions and features a world-class museum; the historic lodge; and free roaming buffalo, longhorns, and elk. Bob leads the organization’s efforts to preserve and share the story of Woolaroc with the public. The SHPO recognizes Bob this evening for his participation in preparation of the National Register nomination for the historic ranch.

18. Kim Inman
White Rose Cemetery, established in 1899, is the final resting place for many Bartlesville pioneers, and the guided tour earlier today focused on the cemetery’s headstones and their symbols and on the 1923 Neoclassical Revival style mausoleum. Kim is recognized this evening for ensuring that the history of the cemetery is documented and made available to researchers and the public. Her efforts include planning and coordinating the annual “Mausoleum Stories” event and the annual Memorial Day celebration, held since 1900; development of a cemetery records database; and presentation of a headstone restoration workshop.

19. Bartlesville Area History Museum
The Bartlesville Area History Museum, a cosponsor of this year’s preservation conference, is commended for their collection and preservation of research materials that are the foundation for Downtown Bartlesville, Inc.’s work and for property owners planning rehabilitation projects. Under the direction of Debbie Neece, the museum’s Collections Coordinator, staff initiated an ambitious project to digitize local records. To date, they have processed newspapers dating from 1895 from five of Washington County’s six towns, City Directories dating from 1907, and records from 5 area funeral homes dating from 1907 to 2008. From 2012-2014, the museum shared 24,000 PDF files with the Bartlesville Public library to increase access to the collections. Additionally, in 2014 the Museum received an IMLS grant for preservation of cellulose nitrate and acetate negatives, and they expect to process 15,000 images in the initial grant period.

20. K. Vasudevan & K. Krishnan Families
The Vasudevan and Krishnan families support the preservation of Bartlesville’s heritage in many ways. In 2008, STC, their engineering consulting firm, built a full size replica of the first commercial oil well in Oklahoma, the Nellie Johnstone Number 1. The “cable tool” drilling rig demonstrates the operation of the equipment and re-creates the gusher that occurred when oil was discovered. Also, Vasudevan and Krishnan joined in the community effort to refurbish the 1964 Sooner Park Play Tower, designed by architect Bruce Goff and featured in the pre-conference tour on Wednesday morning. STC and SMC, their manufacturing company, assisted in the planning of the project, taking extraordinary care to ensure repairs maintained the architectural and artistic integrity of Goff’s design for the Tower.

21. Local cosponsors of Historic Preservation ABCs: Oklahoma’s 26th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference, including: The University of Oklahoma, College of Architecture and Institute for Quality Communities; City of Norman; Cleveland County Historical Society; Norman Arts Council; Norman Chamber of Commerce; Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau; Norman Downtowners Association; and Oklahoma Archeological Survey
Historic Preservation ABCs: Oklahoma's 26th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference was held on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman on June 4-6, 2014. As with previous conferences, the hard work and many contributions of the local cosponsors were essential to its success. Over 300 people registered for the conference, setting an event record. The local cosponsors arranged for session rooms, receptions, the SHPO's annual awards banquet, and Preservation Oklahoma's luncheon; provided tours; secured hotel space for out-of-town participants; worked closely with SHPO staff to produce publicity and registration materials; and managed both online and onsite registration. Most conference sessions were held in Gould Hall, home of the School of Architecture, and the facilities were extraordinary. The SHPO presents the Citation of Merit to publicly thank these valued partners for supporting the statewide historic preservation program.