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Save the dates, June 7-9, 2017, for Preservation Future Tense: Oklahoma's 29th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. Join your colleagues to discuss the future of historic preservation statewide and to keep current on the fundamentals for identifying and protecting the heritage of all Oklahomans. The program features plenary sessions, workshops, concurrent tracks of sessions, and special events.

The first plenary session features Carol Shull, Keeper of the National Register (retired), who will talk about the impacts of the National Historic Preservation Act on heritage preservation and community revitalization nationwide and Mick Cornett, Mayor, City of Oklahoma City and President, U.S. Conference of Mayors (invited), who will discuss the role of historic preservation in Oklahoma City's renaissance. The second plenary session highlights the environmental benefits of historic preservation, and the speaker will be James Lindberg, Director, Preservation Green Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Half-day workshops take place on Thursday and Friday mornings. Workshop #1: Architectural/Historic Resources Survey: A Mobile Workshop, presented by State Historic Preservation Office staff, teaches participants basic survey techniques including the use of the SHPO's standard survey form and tips for photographic documentation. Workshop #2: Historic Preservation Commissions: Authority, Ethics, Designation, and Design Review will be conducted by James K. Reap, Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Master of Historic Preservation Program, University of Georgia.

The concurrent tracks of sessions feature dozens of Oklahoma preservationists and special guest speakers, and include: TRACK A: Beyond Preservation50, focusing on the challenges and opportunities for historic preservation in the decades ahead; TRACK B: Trending in Preservation, highlighting new technology, techniques, and programs that improve the preservation of our heritage; and TRACK C: Preservation Fundamentals, featuring the National Register of Historic Places, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and more.

Special events include the opening reception; many tour options (such as a hard-hat tour of the Oklahoma State Capitol rehabilitation project); Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.'s annual meeting and luncheon; and the State Historic Preservation Office's annual awards banquet.

Conference cosponsors include Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office; Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma Main Street Center; Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.; American Institute of Architects, Central Oklahoma Chapter; City of Oklahoma City; Civic Center Music Hall; Downtown OKC, Inc.; Okie Mod Squad; Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture; Stockyards City Main Street; and Urban Land Institute.

Full conference program and registration information will be available in late April. Follow conference developments at http://www.facebook.com/okshpo; http://www.twitter.com/okshpo; and http://www.okpreservationconference.wordpress.com.

If you may have questions, contact Melvena Heisch, Deputy SHPO (405/522-4484 or mheisch@okhistory.org) or David Pettyjohn, Executive Director, Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. (405/525-5325 or david@preservationok.org).

January 19, 2017

The regular quarterly meeting of the Historic Preservation Review Committee (HPRC) will be held at 1:30pm on Thursday, January 19, 2017. The HPRC will meet in the LeRoy H. Fischer Boardroom, Oklahoma History Center (third floor), 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK. The public is invited to attend. (NOTE: If you are a person with a disability and require an accommodation, please contact Melvena Heisch at 405/522-4484 or mheisch@okhistory.org by 12:00 Noon on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

  1. Call to Order
  2. Introductions
  3. Approval of the Historic Preservation Review Committee's October 2016 Minutes
  4. Formulation of Recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer Concerning Proposed Nominations to the National Register of Historic Places:
    1. Creek Masonic Lodge #226, 417 North Main Street, Bristow, Creek County (Nomination)
    2. Isaiah Walker House, 96491 East 134th Road, Wyandotte, Ottawa County (Nomination)
  5. Other Business:
    1. Oklahoma's 29th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference
    2. Review of the Calendar Year 2017 Schedule for the Historic Preservation Review Committee
  6. Adjournment

(Click map for PDF)


The Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), is pleased to announce the availability of scholarships for Oklahoma college and university students to attend Preservation Future Tense: Oklahoma's 29th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. It will be held June 7-9, 2017, in downtown Oklahoma City (full registration and program details available in late April).

A qualified applicant is someone enrolling as a full-time student (undergraduate or graduate) for the Summer and/or Fall 2017 semester(s) in any Oklahoma college or university and who is pursuing a degree in history, architecture, landscape architecture, architectural history, art history, anthropology, archeology, interior design, planning, geography, law or other field closely related to historic preservation. Applications must be received by the deadline indicated below to be considered.

Twenty (20) scholarships are available on a first-come basis to those who qualify. The scholarship covers the conference registration fee, and the application deadline is 5:00pm, Friday, May 5. For details and an application form contact Melvena Heisch, Deputy SHPO, at 405/522-4484 or mheisch@okhistory.org, or click below.

Scholarship Application


The Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) announces its annual matching grants to state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations for the preparation of National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nominations. The SHPO has reserved $10,000 of its FY 2017 Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) allocation from the US Department of the Interior for the program. The funds will be equally divided for award in two grant rounds with any funds remaining from Round 1 carried over for Round 2. Applications and detailed instructions will be available from the SHPO on February 1.

The deadline for Round 1 applications is 5:00pm, April 3, and the deadline for Round 2 applications is 5:00pm, June 5. Each grant is limited to $1,000.00, and the applicant must provide a nonfederal, cash match of at least $700.00. Grant recipients will use the grant funds and nonfederal match to retain an appropriately qualified professional to prepare a complete individual property nomination package for the NRHP. Applicants must be aware that $1,700.00 (federal grant + nonfederal match) is only an estimate of the cost for such projects and that more than the minimum $700 nonfederal match may be necessary to cover the consultant fee. Consultants must consider the nature of the property proposed for nomination and many other factors as they develop their fee proposals.

The NRHP is the catalogue of our nation's significant buildings, structures, sites, districts, objects, and landscapes important in our past. While listing is not a guarantee of preservation or of financial assistance, the NRHP status of a property is often critical to the strategy for its preservation. The NRHP provides increased public awareness of these irreplaceable resources, provides limited protection for them, qualifies property owners for federal and state tax credits under certain circumstances, and may qualify the property owner for grant assistance when such programs are funded.


The Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), is pleased to announce the Oklahoma Historic Preservation Review Committee's (HPRC) meeting schedule for calendar year 2017. The governor appoints the members of the HPRC to advise the SHPO about nominations to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and other preservation issues. Current HPRC members include William P. Corbett (Historian, Tahlequah); Ron Frantz (Architect, Oklahoma City); John D. Hartley (Prehistoric Archeologist, Norman); Arn Henderson (Architectural Historian, Norman); and Charles S. Wallis (Historical Archeologist, Norman). The HPRC's 2017 meetings will begin at 1:30pm on Thursday, January 19, April 20, July 20, and October 19.

The meetings will be held in the Oklahoma Historical Society's LeRoy H. Fischer Boardroom, Oklahoma History Center (third floor), 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, and they are open to the public. The HPRC and the SHPO encourage all interested parties to attend, and meeting agendas and NRHP nominations under consideration will be available here and at http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/hprc.htm.

The National Park Service regulations governing the SHPO's programs require that a qualified state review board participate in the NRHP and other SHPO programs. During each meeting, the HPRC hears presentations on NRHP nominations from SHPO staff and consultants; receives comments from owners of properties proposed for nomination; listens to public comments and concerns; and formulates recommendations to the SHPO about whether or not a property should be nominated. The HPRC and SHPO staff invite concerned citizens and preservation professionals to participate in this important component of Oklahoma's preservation program.

Oklahoma History Center Exhibit Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act

The Oklahoma History Center announces the opening of its newest photographic exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) into law and its positive impact on historic preservation. The exhibit will open August 15, 2016, and will be located in the West Family Hall of the History Center. It may be viewed Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 29 images included in the display illustrate how the NHPA fosters the preservation of significant buildings, structures, sites, districts and objects across Oklahoma.

As part of his Great Society program, President Lyndon Johnson took note of the fact that the spirit and direction of the nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage. Associated with this was the awareness that historic properties significant to the nation's heritage were being lost or substantially altered, often inadvertently, with increasing frequency. President Johnson knew that governmental and private historic preservation programs of the time were inadequate to ensure a genuine opportunity for future generations to appreciate and enjoy this rich heritage. On October 15, 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act was signed. Key provisions of the law included creation of the National Register of Historic Places and allocation of matching grants to states for the identification and protection of historic properties. To qualify for the National Register, a property must meet at least one of four broad criteria: (a) they must be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or (b) must be associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or (c) they embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or (d) have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

The economic boom of the post-World War II era, construction of the interstate highway system and programs such as urban renewal resulted in the loss of many properties important to Oklahoma history. For example, several downtown Oklahoma City landmarks were destroyed to make way for new development in the 1960s. The NHPA requires federal agencies to consider historic properties in the planning of construction projects and to consult the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and others to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects to historic properties. According to Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Melvena Heisch, approximately 3,000 federal undertakings are reviewed by the Oklahoma SHPO each year.

The State Historic Preservation Office is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. With its matching grant authorized under the NHPA, the SHPO carries out the federal preservation program in Oklahoma. The photo exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center illustrates the state's diverse heritage, the variety of properties that represent that heritage and the ways the NHPA programs help protect it.

The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.


As of July 1, 2013, 1,227 Oklahoma buildings, structures, districts, sites, objects, and landscapes are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the listings are distributed across all of the state's seventy-seven counties (see the list at http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/nationalregister.htm). The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Oklahoma Historical Society, identifies and nominates properties for this special designation, which contributes to their preservation. To ensure that the heritage of all of the state's people is represented in the National Register and to increase public awareness of historic properties in general, the SHPO set a goal to achieve listing for at least five properties in each county.

We are very close to meeting our goal and need only ten more listings spread among six counties as follows:

Cotton County (2 listings needed)

Dewey County (1 listing needed)

Harmon County (1 listing needed)

McClain County (2 listings needed)

Major County (3 listings needed)

To help in the final push to meet the goal, you can complete the SHPO's "Historic Preservation Resource Identification Form" located at http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/nrprelim.htm (then select Form Required for Preliminary Opinion) and submit to the SHPO. Or, you may contact Lynda Ozan, National Register Coordinator, at 405/522-4478 or lozan@okhistory.org with your questions or to request a hard copy of the form.

We will appreciate your help to ensure that the heritage of the entire state is represented in Oklahoma's National Register listings. The SHPO nominates properties to the National Register on a quarterly basis, and several nominations are in process at any one time. Whether a property you think qualifies for the designation is located in an underrepresented county or not, the SHPO wants to hear from you.