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SHPO Presents 2006 Awards

The Oklahoma Historical Society's State Historic Preservation Office presented its 2006 Citations of Merit during an awards banquet at Robbers Cave State Park on June 1, a highlight of Preservation Inside and Out: Oklahoma's 18th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. The recipients have contributed to the preservation of Oklahoma's significant archeological and historic properties through research, public programming, restoration/rehabilitation, and other activities. The recipients included:

1. Western Trail Historical Society, Altus

The Western Trail Historical Society was recognized for their efforts to promote and protect the history of southwestern Oklahoma in general and Jackson County in particular. Service as the friends group for the Oklahoma Historical Society's Museum of the Western Prairie in Altus is one way the organization contributes to preservation of the region's heritage. The Western Trail Historical Society applied for and received two matching grants from the SHPO for the preparation of National Register of Historic Places nominations for the Olustee Park & Library and the Cross S Ranch Headquarters. These two nominations helped the SHPO in its goal of having 5 National Register listings for each county by the statehood Centennial. Also, the Society received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to do a feasibility study for the rehabilitation of the Cross S Ranch Headquarters, an 1881 stone house dating from the Old Greer County days and included on Preservation Oklahoma's Most Endangered Historic Places list for 2006.

2. Don Coffin, Guthrie

The SHPO awarded the Citation of Merit to Don Coffin for his many years of service in the revitalization of the Guthrie Historic District. He has served on a number of local and state committees providing invaluable leadership and insight on a wide range of preservation issues. Mr. Coffin is President of the Guthrie Arts and Humanities Council, the organization responsible for rehabilitation of the Pollard Theatre and other preservation projects. Additionally, he is a member of the Oklahoma Capitol Complex and Centennial Commemoration Commission, the Guthrie Centennial Committee, the National Four String Banjo Museum and serves as its vice president, the Guthrie Territorial Railroad Committee, and the Guthrie Main Street Association. Mr. Coffin's preservation leadership is further demonstrated through his personal efforts to rehabilitate historic buildings, such as the one on Harrison Avenue in which he and his family operate the successful restaurant, Granny Had One. Mr. Coffin was instrumental in the success of Oklahoma's First Annual Statewide Preservation Conference held in Guthrie in 1989.

3. Sally Ferrell, Chandler

Sally Ferrell, one of Oklahoma's most dedicated preservation leaders, received the Citation of Merit for her acquisition and rehabilitation of an abandoned 1903 territorial commercial building on Chandler's main street. She purchased the building in 2003 and began correcting numerous inappropriate changes made to it in the 1970s. Project work included rehabilitation of the storefront, repair and painting of interior plaster walls, and installation of new wiring, a heat and air system, and new restroom facilities. The building now contributes to the block of territorial commercial buildings that often interest passersby, especially Route 66 travelers with cameras.

4. City of Muskogee

The City of Muskogee received the Citation of Merit for the first project it initiated after rejoining the Certified Local Governments Program for Oklahoma in 2005. The project consisted of preparation of the successful National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Kendall Place Historic District. The city used funds from the CLG program to hire consultants to prepare the nomination. The district includes 112 residential properties. Kendall Place Historic District illustrates typical residential land use in Muskogee from 1896-1955. Architectural styles found in the District include Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Tudor Revival, Queen Anne, Spanish/Mission Revival, Prairie School, Late Victorian, Neocolonial, Ranch House and Minimal Traditional. Also, the City recognized the importance of the neighborhood to the community through its local historic district designation process in September 2003.

5. Southeastern Foundation, Durant

The Southeastern Foundation supports Southeastern Oklahoma State University and its students through private funding, scholarships and other assistance. The Foundation owns the property in Downtown Durant that was constructed in 1900 as the Durant National Bank. Donated to the Foundation by John Massey and known as the Massey Building, it is used for university and community functions. Anytime a dignitary like the Governor comes to town, the Massey Building is the location of choice for the reception. The Massey Building's significance is demonstrated by the fact that it is the logo for Durant Main Street. The Foundation received the Citation of Merit for their efforts to rehabilitate the building. Richard Ayers of the Foundation worked closely with Durant Main Street, and what began as a maintenance and minor repair project resulted in rehabilitation of the historic windows and a fresh coat of paint. Now, everyone in the community is proud to bring the Governor to the Massey Building, the centerpiece of Downtown Durant.

6. Oklahoma Sports Museum, Guthrie

Named the state's official sports museum in 1996, the Oklahoma Sports Museum recognizes professional and Olympic athletes, who were born in, have resided in, or attended a college or university in Oklahoma. Currently with more than 600 items from the sports careers of nearly 300 Oklahomans, the exhibits are educational and entertaining. Just a few of those featured in the museum include Jim Thorpe, Mickey Mantle, Troy Aikman, and Shannon Miller. The SHPO awarded the Citation of Merit to the museum for its decision to locate in a prominent building in the heart of the Guthrie Historic District and for contributing to the community's overall heritage tourism efforts.

7. Ron and Mary Frantz, Oklahoma City

The SHPO awarded a Citation of Merit to Ron and Mary Frantz for rehabilitation of their home on Northwest 21st Street in Oklahoma City. Located in the National Register-listed Gatewood East Historic District, the 1921 house sits on the first block developed by G. A. Nichols. Nichols so loved the house that he didn't sell it for 8 years, allowing one of his key employees to occupy it. Then, the Everett Family purchased the house in 1929 and lived there until 1980. In 1980, the Reinke Family acquired the house and restored the interior and exterior. The Frantz Family bought the house in 1999. By 2005, the exterior was in need of repair following an ice dam, a lightning strike, and a hailstorm. Work included removing 3 layers of shingles on the roof, laying new asphalt shingles with W.F. Norman metal ridge tiles, installing new gutters, rebuilding two chimneys (in 2001), re-screening the side porch, ordering new custom wood screen doors, and painting the exterior a 3-color scheme with similar work occurring on the two-car garage.

8. Charles Scott, Guthrie

Charles Scott was recognized for his many contributions to the preservation of Guthrie's rich architectural legacy. For example, he has served for eight years as a member of the Guthrie Historic Preservation Commission, and he is currently Vice-President of the Guthrie Main Street Association. Mr. Scott is the archivist for the Guthrie Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, one of the world's largest Masonic centers. He is a popular tour guide for the Guthrie Historic District, and he often includes his refurbished second-story apartment in downtown Guthrie as a special feature of his tours. His professional background in interior design and the decorative arts, as well as his leadership skills, make Mr. Scott one of Guthrie's most valued historic preservation advocates.

9. General Services Administration

The General Services Administration received the Citation of Merit for rehabilitation of the National Register-listed U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse in Muskogee. The classical revival building opened for public inspection on November 26, 1915, and it was touted as one of the finest buildings in the southwest, and with the possible exception of the state capitol building, the finest piece of architecture in the state of Oklahoma. Through the years parts of the building's original lobby and public corridors were obscured with dropped ceilings and the addition of partition walls. Historic stairways were enclosed for life safety considerations. Additionally, many original windows and doors were replaced through time. But, in a recently completed project consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, dropped ceilings were removed, and a portion of the decorative historic ceiling on the first floor was repaired. Historic plaster ceilings on the second floor were repaired, and period-appropriate light fixtures were installed. Partition walls were removed from the corridors, and many of the original wall surfaces were painted with historically documented colors. A new sprinkler/fire protection system design made it possible to reopen the historic stairways. Finally, non-historic insensitive doors and windows were replaced with new units that meet the Secretary's standards. GSA reported that not only had the building's historic character been recaptured, but its overall functionality had been greatly improved.

10. ERC Development Group and The Hill Firm

The State Historic Preservation Office presented ERC Development Group and The Hill Firm with a Citation of Merit for the certified rehabilitation of Shawnee's Aldridge Hotel. The project represented the developer's and the architect's inaugural experience completing a certified rehabilitation project under the federal and state preservation tax incentives program, and the result was exemplary. The design and construction team demonstrated sincere interest and dedication to retaining the historic character and authenticity of the primary public spaces of the hotel, while also providing attractive and comfortable living spaces for residents. The Aldridge Hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and there was growing concern that the long-vacant building might eventually be demolished. The building is now a showpiece in Shawnee's Main Street project area and once again serves the community in a productive way.

11. Rene Spineto, Guthrie

The SHPO recognized another of Guthrie's outstanding preservation leaders, Rene Spineto. She holds Masters Degrees in Architecture and Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma and is currently Guthrie's city planner. She works closely with the Guthrie Historic Preservation Commission and property owners throughout the historic district to ensure that this nationally significant collection of resources is protected and maintained for a variety of modern uses. Ms. Spineto is uniquely qualified to meet the challenges of the position, as she is a former president of the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Guthrie Main Street Association. She understands the economic benefits of and incentives for historic preservation, as well as what constitutes appropriate rehabilitation work, and has avenues for sharing her knowledge and experience.

12. Kent Schell, Tulsa

Kent Schell assumed responsibility for the City of Tulsa's historic preservation program in 1989. Prior to his arrival, the City of Tulsa had only one National Register district and no locally designated historic districts. The City had just adopted an ordinance and established an unfunded preservation commission. In the first five years under his direction, four neighborhoods were designated under the local preservation ordinance, two more were listed on the National Register, and the City's Neighborhood Conservation Commission was staffed, funded, and renamed the Tulsa Preservation Commission. Kent and his assistant established a small historic photograph library, gathered historic preservation media articles, and created a liaison with the Tulsa Historical Society. He requested additional funding for staff and began an educational program that included involvement and support from the State Historic Preservation Office. The SHPO and the City have worked closely through the Certified Local Governments Program since that time to identify and treat Tulsa's historic resources.

13. The Roy Alford Family of Red Oak and the Archeological Conservancy

The Roy Alford Family and the Archeological Conservancy jointly received the Citation of Merit for their cooperative efforts to preserve Archeological Site 34LT11 (the Alford Mound formerly known as the McCutchan-McLaughlin site) along the banks of Fourche Maline Creek. The site is situated in the Ouachita Mountains here in Latimer County. The site consists of a midden mound resulting from repeat use of the location by prehistoric inhabitants known today as belonging to the Wister and Fourche Maline phases. Main use of the site dates from circa 300 B.C. to A.D. 765. The site is significant as one of the few remaining mounds in eastern Oklahoma that has not been destroyed as a result of land modification or looting. The site is protected by the Roy Alford family, current owners of the property, and the Archeological Conservancy, which has a protective easement on the site.

14. Local Cosponsors of Oklahoma's 17th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference, Stillwater

The State Historic Preservation Office extended its sincere appreciation to Downtown Stillwater, the Payne County Historical Society, Sheerar Museum, Stillwater Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Stillwater Community Center, local cosponsors of the 2005 statewide preservation conference held in Stillwater. These generous and dedicated local organizations and agencies joined the Oklahoma Main Street Center, Preservation Oklahoma, and the SHPO to make the 17th annual statewide conference a success. The conference program featured the preservation of significant educational buildings, downtown revitalization, and many other topics. Special tours to the Oklahoma State University Campus and the Pleasant Valley School were in keeping with the conference theme. The local cosponsors provided outstanding receptions and made certain all local arrangements were addressed and staffed registration. As with every other statewide conference, the local cosponsors are key partners, and the SHPO could not present the conference without them.