January 6, 2020
New Oklahoma National Register Listings
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office (OKSHPO) is pleased to announce the newest National Register of Historic Places listings for Oklahoma. The National Register of Historic Places is our nation’s official list of properties significant in our past.
The Ponca City Municipal Airport Hangar, located at 2231 Waverly St. in Ponca City, Kay County, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the areas of Economics and Military. The construction of the hangar between 1930 and 1932 symbolized the strong economic relationship between a burgeoning aviation sector and Oklahoma’s oil industry. The City of Ponca City acquired the land upon which the hangar was built in 1930, but managers and engineers from Continental Oil Company (Conoco) oversaw construction until its completion in 1932. In 1941 the hangar comprised a key facet of British Flying Training School Number 6, overseen by Darr School of Aeronautics. Between 1941 and 1944, the school trained more than 1,000 British airmen and more than 100 American aviators for military service in World War II. In 1953 the hangar was rendered obsolete after the completion of an expanded runway system and the construction of a new terminal and administrative building.
Constructed between 1934 and 1936, the Holy City of the Wichitas Historic District in Comanche County is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance associated with the work relief and public works programs of the New Deal in Oklahoma and its importance as a public recreational area. The district is also significant as an outstanding example of National Park Service Rustic architecture and landscape design as applied to a federal wildlife refuge. The Holy City has been in continuous use in its present Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge site since the first phase of Works Progress Administration construction was completed in 1935.
The Oklahoma National Guard Armory, located at 200 NE 23rd St. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Military and Economics as well as for its Streamline Moderne style. Commonly understood as a federal New Deal project, the armory is in fact a symbol of Governor Ernest Whitworth Marland’s “Little New Deal” and was financed solely by state funds. Adjutant General Charles Franklin Barrett and Major General William Shaffer Key, two leading figures in the Oklahoma National Guard, had long argued for the necessity of armories in Oklahoma. The crisis of the Great Depression transformed their arguments into action as state leaders recognized that the construction of armories could provide economic relief and opportunity for Oklahomans. Upon its completion in 1938, the Oklahoma National Guard Armory in Oklahoma City provided a valuable training site for members of the 45th Infantry Division and served as a public meeting space for Oklahomans.
The State Highway Department Testing Laboratory, located at 2311 N. Central Ave. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Politics/Government and its Art Deco style. The Testing Laboratory played a key role in the evolution of the State Highway Department as a centralized authority for the construction, maintenance and administration of Oklahoma’s roads and bridges. The Testing Laboratory was described as one of the most modern facilities of its time upon its construction in 1934. By the mid-20th century, state engineers and chemists conducted approximately 16,000 tests per month on all materials utilized in road building and upkeep. These tests ensured that Oklahoma’s highways adhered to federal standards and guidelines. The Testing Laboratory was a lynchpin for the bureaucratic, regulatory framework that endeavored to provide safe and dependable roadways for drivers throughout Oklahoma.
Built by W. J. Hoover in 1928, the Iroquois Apartments building, located at 900 NW 13th St. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Community Planning and Development and for its Tudor Revival style. The building is among 25 “brick box” apartment buildings constructed by various developers between 1910 and 1935 in an area of Oklahoma City known today as Midtown. The Iroquois Apartments historically catered to single, working-class tenants, with W. J. Hoover advertising affordable rents and the building’s proximity to an interurban railway station. The building harkens to a period when development in Midtown boomed, the residential population steadily increased and demands for affordable housing were at an all-time high.
Harmony School, located at 1537 NE 24th St. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Education and Ethnic Heritage as well as for its Classical Revival style. The school, which was first placed into service in 1928, was built in three phases. The first two were designed by the architectural firm of Layton, Hicks and Forsyth, and it reached its current form around 1949 with an auditorium wing designed by architects Bailey and Bozalis. Harmony Elementary School originally served white students only. Located in a transitional neighborhood, it was one of the first elementary schools in Oklahoma City to be the subject of a challenge to the Oklahoma City Board of Education’s discriminatory transfer policies. The transfer policy benefited white students by allowing them to transfer to a predominately white school outside of their district, but denied African American students the same transfer options. Although that initial challenge proved to be unsuccessful, it helped set the stage for future legal actions that led to the desegregation of the entire public school system in Oklahoma City.
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 .
Editor’s Note : Photographs to accompany the story can be acquired by contacting Sara Werneke at the State Historic Preservation Office at firstname.lastname@example.org .