July 27, 2021
Contact: Lynda Ozan
State Historic Preservation Office, Oklahoma Historical Society
New Oklahoma National Register Listings
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office is pleased to announce the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) designation for the following properties in Oklahoma. The National Register of Historic Places is our nation’s official list of properties significant in our past.
The Automobile Alley Historic District, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, was listed on the NRHP in 1999 under Criterion A for its commercial significance as Oklahoma City’s automobile retailing center during the first half of the 20th century. The boundary increase area added to the NRHP in 2021 allows for inclusion of a key resource that tangibly linked the car dealers to the auto manufacturers during the period. Erected in 1926 for the Chevrolet Motor Company, 1 NW Sixth St. (originally addressed as 7 NW Sixth St.) served as the state and regional distribution point for the Chevrolet Motor Company until 1954. The Automobile Alley Historic District was also listed under Criterion C for Architecture as an architecturally significant collection of one- and two-story Commercial-style buildings related to the automobile industry. The contributing building in the boundary increase area is a good example of one of the larger Commercial-style buildings constructed in the area during the period of significance. Extending the boundary east of North Broadway Avenue all the way to the Santa Fe Railway’s elevated track also allows the Automobile Alley Historic District to reflect the impact that elevating the track in the early 1930s had on the area, specifically related to the physical and visual separation between the historic automobile retailing area and the industrial/warehouse area to the east. Immediately adjacent to the railroad and constructed prior to the elevation of the track, the Chevrolet Motor Company was the focus of a lawsuit brought by its owner to collect damages from the Santa Fe Railway Company and the City of Oklahoma City related to construction of the elevated track.
The Sidney and Mary Lyons Residence and Commercial Historic District, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, was listed in the NRHP under Criterion A at the local level of significance for Commerce and Ethnic Heritage: Black; under Criterion B at the local level of significance for its affiliation with Sidney and Mary Lyons and with Melvin F. Luster; and under Criterion C at the local level of significance for Architecture. The period of significance is from 1912, the approximate construction date of the bungalow at 304 NE Third St., to Mary Lyons’ death in 1957. The district features a grand, Italian Renaissance Revival–style residence at 300 NE Third St. known today as the Melvin F. Luster House. The house was built for Sidney Lyons in 1926 shortly after his marriage to Mary Jennie Luster. Ancillary buildings within the historic district reflect the commercial interests of the Lyons/Luster family, most notably cosmetics and real estate. The East India Toilet Goods Manufacturing Company Building at 316 N. Central Ave., built in 1922, sold hair products and cosmetics to African American women across the United States. The bungalow at 304 NE Third St. was a rental property owned by the Lyons/Luster family for more than 70 years. Together, these resources represent a unique collection of architectural styles and reflect the commercial and cultural vitality of African American neighborhoods in Oklahoma City during the early 20th century.
Whittier School, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, was listed in the NRHP under Criterion A at the local level of significance for Education and under Criterion C at the local level of significance for Architecture. The period of significance is from 1910 to 1957. Built in 1910 (with additions completed in 1919 and 1923), Whittier School was designed in the Classical Revival architectural style by Solomon Andrew Layton, who was Oklahoma’s most prominent architect during the early 20th century. Whittier School was also the site of a Works Progress Administration–sponsored “nursery school,” which provided Oklahoma City’s only public preschool program during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Oklahoma City Board of Education closed Whittier School in 1957, citing increased maintenance costs and declining student enrollment.
The Lytton Building-Masonic Hall, located in Stillwater, Payne County, was listed in the NRHP at the local level under Criterion C in the area of Architecture as an example of a territorial-era, three-story, brick Commercial-style building with two distinguishing, unusual features. The first significant feature is the third floor, which was added, operated, and owned separately by the Frontier Lodge No. 6 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (A. F & A. M.). While it was not uncommon for a local Masonic organization to build a building or rent space in an upper floor of a downtown building, it was unusual for the Masons, or really any party, to independently build an upper floor separate from the lower floors. The second significant feature that distinguishes the Lytton Building-Masonic Hall from other buildings of its type and period was the interior upper floor stair with an original side opening in the party wall that, as agreed between the owner of the lower two floors of the Lytton Building-Masonic Hall and the owner of the adjoining Pierce Building, allowed interior access to the second floor of the Pierce Building. Both architecturally defining features were part of the 1901 construction of the Lytton Building-Masonic Hall. The hyphenated name of “Lytton Building-Masonic Hall” is used in this nomination to distinguish the lower two floors from the third floor. From the 1900s to the 1940s, the Masons consistently referred to their portion of the building as “Masonic Hall” as documented in the meeting notes in the local newspaper.
Daniel Webster High School Historic District, located in Tulsa, Tulsa County, was listed in the NRHP at the local level of significance under Criterion A, Education and Ethnic Heritage: Black, as the first public school in the Tulsa Public School District, and possibly in northeastern Oklahoma, to end school segregation and integrate after the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1954. The school enrolled its first African American students in the fall of 1955. It is also eligible under Criterion A for its early experimental use of the Progressive Education Program in the 1930s–1940s, and for its association with the New Deal programs of the 1930s–1940s. Daniel Webster High School was also listed in the NRHP under Criterion C due to the architectural style of the primary buildings. The architects chose to build the main building and gymnasium for Daniel Webster High School in the Art Deco style, which was popular at the time, though it was rare for Public Works Administration (PWA) projects to exhibit elaborate architectural styles and detailing. Additionally, Daniel Webster High School’s stadium is an excellent example of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The WPA hired locals to complete civic projects to provide employment during the Great Depression, and projects often included school buildings and facilities. The significant dates for this district are: 1938, which was the year the main building and gym were constructed under the PWA; 1941, which was the year the stadium was constructed under the WPA; and 1955, which was the year it became an integrated school. Its period of significance is from 1938–1970, to include the date of construction of the primary buildings, the Progressive Education Program curriculum and the integration of African Americans into the school in 1955.
The Holland Hall Upper School, located in Tulsa, Tulsa County, is locally significant under Criterion C in the area of Architecture as a representation of the late career work of architect O’Neil Ford (1905–1982). Based in Texas, Ford created architecture heavily influenced by the landscape in which it was designed and constructed, and although most of his work was in Texas, Ford projects can be found in New York, Illinois, Colorado, Wyoming, Florida and Oklahoma. The Holland Hall Upper School is one of three projects Ford designed and constructed in Oklahoma. All three projects were in Tulsa, including two residences. The school was his final project in the state. Ford designed the Holland Hall Upper School beginning in 1967, two years after partnering with two associates to create the architecture firm Ford, Powell & Carson. Holland Hall was established in 1922 as an independent school. The campus on East 81st Street is the fifth and largest iteration of the school. Between 1970 and 1981, Holland Hall slowly relocated from its Birmingham Place campus just southeast of downtown to the East 81st Street location. Built in 1970, the Upper School was the first complex on the new site. The Primary School opened in 1976, and the Middle School opened in 1981. Ford, Powell & Carson designed the entire campus; however, Ford was most directly associated with the design of the Upper School Academic Building and Gymnasium Building, the two contributing buildings. Due to the connection to Ford, the period of significance for the Upper School is 1970, the year these two buildings opened.
Listing in the National Register of Historic Places is an honorific designation that provides recognition, limited protection and, in some cases, financial incentives for these important properties. The SHPO identifies, evaluates and nominates properties for this special designation.
The State Historic Preservation Office is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. 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.