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Press Release

March 31, 2023

Contact: Dr. Matthew Pearce
State Historic Preservation Office, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-4479

Sites in Atoka and Kay Counties Added to National Register of Historic Places

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Historical Society and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) are pleased to announce the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) designation for three properties in Oklahoma. The NRHP is our nation’s official list of properties significant in our past.

Atoka County

Claud Collier Chevrolet & Buick Company
115 E. Court St., Atoka

Constructed in 1949, the Claud Collier Chevrolet & Buick Company is a significant, local example of a small town, post-World War II auto dealership property type. Auto showrooms took multiple forms as the car sales industry evolved during the 20th century. Early showrooms and dealerships emulated traditional commercial-styled buildings so that their association with automobiles was not readily discernable. Auto dealership designs changed following World War II, however. With their large showroom windows, highly visible service departments and exterior car lots, postwar auto dealerships were unmistakably properties designed to sell and service vehicles. The Claud Collier Chevrolet & Buick Company incorporates a variety of elements that auto companies considered best practices in showroom and dealership design. These include prominent showroom windows looking out to the street; well-defined service and sales departments; and a prominent location on a corner lot just outside of downtown Atoka. Such qualities make the Claud Collier Chevrolet & Buick Company an excellent example of a property type that helped define post-war American car culture.

Kay County

John and Helen Cleary House
45 Hillcrest Dr., Ponca City

The John and Helen Cleary House is significant as an excellent example of the work of architect Robert Buchner in Ponca City. Built in 1951 for John and Helen Cleary on a lot that was formerly part of their large estate, Buchner designed the house in the contemporary architectural style to reflect the owners’ desire for a simpler and less formal lifestyle. The house is two stories and has a T-shaped floor plan with several distinctive exterior features. These include horizontal and vertical bands of tinted glass and plywood panels along with a sunroom enclosed with tall windows facing outward toward a secluded, wooded backyard. The design of the John and Helen Cleary House was not devoted to conveying status and affluence, unlike many of Ponca City’s early 20th century mansions. Rather, Robert Buchner’s contemporary-inspired design is unpretentious and unassuming, providing comfort and privacy for the Clearys to live out their remaining years.

Meade and Eudora Gill House
418 N. 2nd St., Ponca City

Built circa 1926, the Meade and Eudora Gill House is architecturally significant as an example of the Prairie School architectural style as applied to an American Foursquare-type residence. The house was possibly designed by Albert and Harland Vorheis, a father-son architect duo who lived briefly in Ponca City. Meade and Eudora Gill were the proprietors of Gill Funeral Home, which was Ponca City’s leading business for funeral services for many decades. Notably, Eudora Gill was Oklahoma’s first licensed female embalmer. The Gill House is notable for its red brick exterior and detailing, which is uncommon for Prairie School-styled residences. The house also exhibits many elements of the Prairie School style as applied to the American Foursquare house type, including a low-pitched pyramidal roof, symmetrical window configurations and a prominent front entry featuring a porch with heavy square columns. In all, the Gill House reflects high integrity of design, workmanship and materials, making it an excellent local example of a classic American house type.

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.

For more information contact Dr. Matthew Pearce, National Register of Historic Places coordinator, at 405-522-4479 or matthew.pearce@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.


Editor’s Note: Photos are available upon request.

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