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Press Release

May 21, 2015

Contact: Melvena Heisch
State Historic Preservation Office, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-4484

Bartlesville Projects to Receive SHPO 2015 Citation of Merit

Oklahoma City, Okla.—The Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office will present its 2015 Citations of Merit during a banquet on Thursday, June 4, in Bartlesville. The banquet is a highlight of "Tradition and Transition: Oklahoma's 27th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference," scheduled for June 3–5. Details about the conference can be found at http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/conference.htm.

Twenty-two citations will be presented for accomplishments in seven Oklahoma communities. The award recognizes positive impacts on the preservation of Oklahoma's historic properties through restoration, rehabilitation, research, planning, public programming and other activities. Six citations will be presented to Bartlesville organizations, agencies and individuals.

Seekers of Success will be recognized for the Anchor House project. The Anchor House is located at 822 S. Johnstone Ave. 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 multitenant center for nonprofits addressing availability of affordable housing, services for the homeless and other critical community issues.

Bob Fraser has served as CEO of the Frank Phillips Foundation and Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve since October 2006. He oversees the operations and marketing of Woolaroc, Frank Phillips's 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, featuring a world-class museum, the historic lodge and free-roaming buffalo, longhorns and elk. Fraser leads the organization's efforts to preserve and share the story of Woolaroc with the public. The SHPO will recognize him for his participation in preparation of the National Register nomination for the historic ranch.

Kim Inman will receive the Citation of Merit for ensuring that the history of White Rose 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. The cemetery, established in 1899, is the final resting place for many Bartlesville pioneers, and a guided tour during the statewide preservation conference will focus on the cemetery's headstones and their symbols and on the 1923 Neoclassical Revival-style mausoleum.

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 five area funeral homes dating from 1907 to 2008. From 2012 to 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.

Bartlesville businessman Chris Oldroyd will receive the Citation of Merit for his leadership in local preservation programs. He organized Downtown Unlimited, which initiated Bartlesville's Ghost Walk and encouraged downtown revitalization. In 2011 he founded the Bartlesville Monthly Magazine which sponsors area events including the DBI Ghost Walk and Zombie Prom, OK Mozart International Music Festival and more. Activities like these draw local citizens downtown to shop and enjoy entertainment and attract heritage tourists to visit the community. He also purchased the 1909 S. H. Kress building at 206 E. Frank Phillips Blvd. and adapted it for meeting and living space.

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 a preservation conference tour. 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. 

For more information about the SHPO's awards programs, contact Melvena Heisch at 405-522-4484 or mheisch@okhistory.org or visit http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/shpoawards.htm.

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. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 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.

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