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Press Release

March 6, 2023

Contact: Sara Werneke
State Historic Preservation Office, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-4478

SHPO Webinar to Focus on Trailblazing Oklahoma Architect

OKLAHOMA CITY — The State Historic Preservation Office will discuss a pioneering female architect and concrete construction specialist in a free lunch and learn webinar on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at 12 p.m.

Elmira Sauberan Smyrl (Scott) received her master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1955. Her master’s thesis project was the design of an agriculture-based living and educational group home for children who were judged delinquent with the hope of guiding them toward a better future. The culmination of this thesis project was the construction of the White Cloud Lodge on the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch near Perkins, which was completed in 1966. This philanthropic project incorporated Smyrl’s belief that psychology should guide architecture and was the physical representation of her lifelong interest in the essential and thoughtful integration of geographical, environmental and human-purpose design elements.

White Cloud Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 for Architecture as a building designed by Smyrl. Its nomination was also significant as it was less than 50 years old at the time of its listing.

Registration is required. For more information contact Sara Werneke, Tax Incentives Program Coordinator and Historic Preservation Architect for the SHPO, at 405-522-4478 or sara.werneke@history.ok.gov.

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.


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