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SHPO Presents 2010 Awards

The Oklahoma Historical Society's State Historic Preservation Office presented its 2010 Citations of Merit during an awards banquet in Okmulgeeon June 10, a highlight of Out Front in Preservation: Oklahoma's 22nd 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. Meadow Gold Sign Restoration Project

The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture and its partners, PSA Dewberry; Markham Ferrell; the City of Tulsa; Claude Neon Federal Signs; Tulsa County; and the Oklahoma Route 66 Association were recognized for their restoration of the Meadow Gold sign in Tulsa. Tulsa's Meadow Gold sign was constructed in the 1930s by Beatrice Foods and became a Route 66 icon. But, by the 1970s, the neon sign was dark, and by 2004, its future was uncertain. The TFA stepped up and applied for a grant from NPS to restore the sign, which was mounted on top of a small one-story building. Soon after the project began, ownership of the building and sign changed, and the new owner made it clear both would be demolished. TFA and its partners secured the sign and found a new location for it on historic Route 66 atop a custom-built interpretive pavilion. On May 22, 2009, during a public ceremony, the sign was lighted for the first time in over thirty years.

2. Rock Cafe Rehabilitation Project

Dawn Welch, Rock Cafe owner with Mike Kertok, architect and David Burke, engineer, were recognized for rehabilitation of this Route 66 icon. Several years ago, Ms. Welch brought the cafe back to life and developed a successful business that attracted local customers and tourists from around the world. The cafe was set as the lunch stop for one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference tours in October 2008. Then, just a few months before the tour date, the cafe was severely damaged by a fire. Although lunch there was not possible, Ms. Welch still greeted the groups, served a snack, and spoke to them outside the burned out building. There were initial concerns about the feasibility of another rehabilitation, but she was determined to save this National Register property. With technical advice and other support from the NPS, the National Trust, the SHPO and the dedicated efforts of Mr. Kertok and Mr. Burk, Ms. Welch realized her dream. The Rock Cafe reopened in June 2009 and is once again a must-see place for thousands of visitors driving the "Mother Road."

3. Arcadia Round Barn Project

The Arcadia Historical Society and Affordable Construction Company are presented the Citation of Merit for efforts to preserve the National Register-listed Arcadia Round Barn, one of the best-known buildings along Route 66 in Oklahoma. In 1988 the Society led a community effort to restore the barn, and part of that work included a complete restoration of the roof. The effort earned the group a National Trust Honor Award. In 2004 the Society received a cost-share grant from NPS for repairs to the windows, siding and electrical system. By 2008, the roof was again in need of repair. The Society went to work to raise awareness about the problem, which resulted in the generous donation of roofing materials and labor by Affordable Construction Company. The Society's effort also led to grant funds from the National Trust and NPS for the development of a long-range preservation plan for the barn.

4. Tower Theater Sign Restoration Project

Congratulations to Uptown Development Group, Superior Neon Signs, Inc., and Fitzsimmons Architects for restoration of the Tower Theater's neon sign. Located on Northwest 23rd Street in Oklahoma City, the theater has stood as a landmark on Route 66 since 1937, and contributes to the National Register-listed Jefferson Park Historic District. When the street was widened in the 1950s, large trucks passed within inches of the sign, causing repeated damage to it. With a restoration vision for the vacant theater, the Uptown Development Group received a cost-share grant from NPS to restore the sign to operating condition. With assistance from Fitzsimmons Architects and Superior Neon Signs, Inc., the Uptown Development Group has successfully restored the sign and supporting stucco tower. The City of Oklahoma City has installed traffic control devices to keep the large trucks away from the sign, and additional restoration efforts for the building are planned.

5. Ross Cemetery Rehabilitation Project

Howell and Vancuren, Inc. Architects, Sikes Abernathie Architects, and Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism receive recognition for the Ross Cemetery rehabilitation project. The cemetery, located at Park Hill, has special significance to the Cherokee Nation as Principal Chief John Ross and members of his family are buried there. The Ross Family plot occupies a raised area in the cemetery surrounded by a limestone wall, apparently constructed prior to the Civil War. Chief Ross, who died in 1866, is interred just outside the entry to the raised area. Time and the elements had caused damage to the walls and decorative features. The project included dismantling and numbering the existing walls and columns, removal of vegetation, installation of a concrete footing, reconstruction of the stone walls and columns, replacement of missing or badly eroded wall and column stones, and straightening and painting fence panels.

6. Linda Presa

Linda Presa purchased her ca1906 Bungalow/Craftsman style house in Enid's Waverley Historic District in 2006. At the time of the purchase, Ms. Presa obtained a historic photo of the house from the original owners, and it documented the historic backyard landscaping which included a brick patio and wood pergola. In 2009, she reconstructed both features based on the photograph. The landscaping project has recaptured the feeling of the original backyard and contributed to the many ongoing efforts of residents to preserve the unique qualities of their neighborhood.

7. Bartlesville Heritage Trail Downtown District Guidebook

The Bartlesville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Bartlesville, and volunteers Sharon Hurst, Vicki Stewart, Barbara Garrison, and Rudy Geissler are commended for their outstanding efforts to produce the 2009, thirty-four page publication, Bartlesville Heritage Trail: Downtown District. The walking tour guidebook features over 70 museums, historic sites, and local points of interest in Bartlesville. It includes a color-coded foldout map illustrating existing landmarks, lost treasures, museums, and the Bartlesville Downtown Commercial District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. The project evolved from the vision and hard work of the volunteers . The publication will enhance the experience of every visitor to Bartlesville, one of Oklahoma's newest official Main Street Communities.

8. Francile Cook

Fran Cook is recognized this evening for her many contributions to the preservation of Holdenville and Hughes County history. She began her professional library career in 1985 and served for twenty-two years as the community's library director. She raised funds for construction of an addition to the Grace M. Pickens Library and expanded the library's history collection. Ms. Cook worked closely with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Historical Society TO preserve cemetery records and the history of Hughes County. Additionally, she has written books on the history of Fort Holmes, Hughes County and the City of Holdenville. She also helped relocate the Hughes County Historical Museum into the historic Scott Hotel. Quoting from the nomination for her, "The history of our community will live on for all to see because of the dream and effort of Fran Cook."

9. Loretta Y. Jackson-African American Historical Society

The Loretta Y. Jackson-African American Historical Society is based in Chickasha and is operated by a nine-member board. In 2002, Ms. Jackson discovered that a circa 1910 African American one room schoolhouse remained intact on a farm near Verden and that it was threatened with demolition. The school was built by Allen Toles, an African American farmer, for his children and others from nearby farms. After his death, a new owner allowed the children to continue attending the school until consolidation in 1935. The Society rescued the school building, and in 2004 relocated it to Chickasha. Through fund-raising efforts of Ms. Jackson and the Society, the building's restoration was completed in February 2007, and the National Register-listed building again serves an educational purpose to allow children to learn about the one-room country school experience and about the lives of African-Americans in Grady County and Southwest Oklahoma.

10. Glynn and Sandra McCauley

The McCauleys purchased this American International style house in 2009, and it had been vacant for four years. They recognized the historical importance of this modern style house, not only for Cushing, but for the State of Oklahoma. They immediately started the process to list the property in the National Register of Historic Places. Their challenge is simply that buildings constructed during this period were built with "new" materials, materials whose quality and durability were unknown. The property owners are working tirelessly to restore this historic home through researching modern materials, tracking down contractors with experience in these materials and finding replacement parts/furnishings any place that they can. The SHPO recognizes their efforts to nominate the house to the National Register and for preserving this outstanding resource of the recent past.

11. Chris Bauer

Chris Bauer (Planning Administrator for the City of Enid) was nominated for the Citation of Merit by local citizens for his development of the 2009 concept plan for revitalization of Enid's Downtown Historic District. The plan recognizes that the historic district, listed in the National Register in 2008, is the heart of the community and that revitalization of the area will benefit the local economy and preservation efforts. The plan calls for rehabilitation of vacant public buildings such as Mark Price Arena; for adaptive reuse of upper floors of downtown buildings as living space; and for walking and bicycle paths for access to downtown.

12. Bill and Nelda Matthews

Bill and Nelda Matthews are recognized this evening for rehabilitation of Chandler's National Register-listed Conklin House. Features of the Colonial Revival house include a two-story projecting portico, a leaded glass entry door, an encircling veranda, two-story bay window, massive paneled pocket doors, ornate fretwork, two tiled fireplaces and a sweeping staircase in the entry foyer. While most of these features were intact, the Matthews found extensive water damage, badly deteriorated plaster walls, and an overall need for paint and general repairs. They began their preservation work in January 2009, and the house is once again a real point of pride for the Chandler community.

13. Wahnne Clark

Wahnne Clark is recognized for his leadership and commitment of personal resources to bring attention to an abandoned cemetery situated on the east end of the Henry Post Army Air Field at Fort Sill. The cemetery contains graves of Indians who had lived in the area of the Kiowa-Comanche Indian Agency. For over 50 years the cemetery has been commonly known as the Comanche Mission Cemetery, a moniker stemming from its brief association with the nearby Dutch Reformed Indian Mission church. Because he has an aunt, uncle, and other relatives buried there, Mr. Clark became interested in the cemetery the fall of 2006. He has traveled extensively in pursuit of its history and how to affect its preservation.

14. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and USAO Alumni Association

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and the USAO Alumni Association are commended for their combined efforts to preserve the historic buildings of the Oklahoma College for Women. The President's House and Home Management House were vacant and in deteriorated condition. Due to the leadership of President John Feaver, members of the alumni association, and others, rehabilitation of both buildings was completed in late 2009. The President's House, constructed in 1919, is once again serving as the University president's home. The Home Management House, built in 1929-30 to provide hands-on training for the all-female student body in the tasks of maintaining a proper home, is now the Stevens Alumni House and serves as offices, meeting space and overnight accommodations for the Alumni association.

15. Pauls Valley Historical Society

The Pauls Valley Historical Society is commended for its publication entitled Walking Tour & Historical Homes. The informative and attractively designed map is popular with visitors arriving on the Heartland Flyer and others as it provides a convenient and easy-to-use guide to the city's many historic places. The publication is an outstanding example of the important role local historical societies play in a community's overall historic preservation program. Congratulations on your hard work and contribution to Pauls Valley and the State.

16. Joel Phleat Boyd and Dana Pruitt Boyd

In 2007, the Boyds began rehabilitation of their home at 503 SW O Street in Ardmore, and completed the work in 2009. Judge Charles McGregor Campbell, appointed clerk of the Southern District Federal Court by President McKinley, purchased this double lot in 1907 and built the house now owned by the Boyds. The interior of the spacious four bedroom, two-story house features Crown molding and Red Oak flooring, refinished during the rehabilitation project. Also, the historic wood windows with original wavy glass were restored. The detached Carriage House, with a maid's room, was also refurbished. Finally, historic Red Rocket Crape Myrtles, Double Knock-Out Roses and Wintergreen Boxwoods were added to accent the pecan-treed lot. Congratulations to the Boyds for preserving this important Ardmore landmark.

17. Ponca City Ghost Sign Project

Ponca City Main Street's Historic Downtown Mural Committee was formed in 2007 to coordinate the painting of three murals depicting local history and to restore two historic Coca-Cola ghost signs in the Main Street district. Dr. Bob Palmer, Professor of Art at the University of Central Oklahoma and his students carried out the projects during their fall breaks in October of 2008 and October of 2009 with the support of numerous local volunteers. The HDMC raised $45,000 for the project, and a portion of the funds was reserved for future maintenance of the murals. The SHPO's Citation of Merit recognizes the special efforts of the HDMC and the artists to save the ghost signs that were barely visible and that are once again part of Ponca City's vibrant streetscape.

18. Enid News and Eagle

The Enid News and Eagle receives the Citation of Merit for its role in raising public awareness about the full range of preservation issues. The nomination form made it quite clear how much local preservationists appreciate the newspaper's support. In the past year, the newspaper informed the public about endangered historic properties, and these stories helped rally support for the restoration of one of the oldest houses in Enid. Other pieces explained how historic preservation has a positive economic and environmental impact on the community. Finally, the nomination stressed how press coverage of special events has strengthened local preservation initiatives and increased heritage tourism.

19. Downtown Muskogee, Inc. Historic Homes & Buildings Tour

Downtown Muskogee, Inc., was Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.'s first local partner for the This Place Matters Historic Homes and Buildings Tour on March 23, 2009. The Tour featured properties in three of Muskogee's historic districts and served as both a fundraiser and as an effort to educate the public about Muskogee's architectural legacy. The event highlighted the fact that historic buildings may continue in their original use or be adapted for a new one and that historic preservation is a tool for building sustainable communities.

20. Mayo Hotel Rehabilitation Project

The Snyder Family and Phillips Slaughter Rose Architects are commended for the certified rehabilitation of Tulsa's Mayo Hotel. No one would argue that the Mayo Hotel is a Tulsa landmark. Designed by George Winkler, the Mayo was built in 1925 and welcomed a multitude of celebrity guests and was Tulsa's place to go for special events. Sadly, the Mayo Hotel became a symbol of downtown Tulsa's decline when it closed in 1980 for repairs and then remained vacant for almost thirty years. The building was once included on Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.'s Most Endangered Places list, and preservationists in Tulsa and across the state feared the worst. But, on December 3, 2009, the Mayo officially reopened to an enthusiastic crowd of dignitaries and other special guests in a scene reminiscent of the time when it was new.

21. Adventures in History and Heritage: A Directory of Cultural Sites and Museums in Ponca City, Oklahoma

The City of Ponca City Historic Preservation Advisory Panel and Ponca City Main Street Adventures in History & Heritage Planning Group are commended for their development and publication of "Adventures in History & Heritage: A Directory of Cultural Sites and Museums in Ponca City, Oklahoma." It was designed as a resource for teachers and citizens. It identifies each cultural and/or historic site in the Ponca City area and contains the information needed for planning and scheduling field trips, group tours, or individual visits. The directory benefits Ponca City as it encourages people to discover the city's heritage; creates community awareness and pride; encourages community involvement; and generates partnerships among local schools, cultural heritage sites, students and citizens.

22. Broadway Garage Rehabilitation Project

Mason Realty Investors LLC and Hornbeek Blatt Architects are recognized for rehabilitation of the Broadway Garage. Constructed in 1914 the three-story Commercial Style building formerly served as the Oklahoma National Guard Armory and the Broadway Garage. Thanks to the efforts of the award recipients, the 30,000 square feet building today houses a diverse set of retail and business tenants including Cardinal Engineering, Allied Arts, Val-Tech, Bicycle Alley, and Coffee Slingers. A contributing resource to the Automobile Alley Historic District in downtown Oklahoma City, the certified rehabilitation qualified the owners for the federal and state rehabilitation tax credits. The project is an excellent example of how these financial incentives are encouraging redevelopment in Oklahoma City and other communities across the state

23. Chisholm Trail Coalition

The Chisholm Trail Coalition developed and conducts a Walking Tour of Enid's Downtown Historic District. The tour program began in April 2007, and is provided every third Saturday of April through October. Participants learn about Enid's history from historical characters portrayed by local citizens. The tour includes 13 historic landmarks around Enid's downtown square. The site of Enid's original land office and the WPA murals inside the Garfield County Court House that tell the story of Oklahoma's development are featured tour stops. Proceeds from the tours will be used to purchase a trolley to extend the downtown heritage walking tour to other historic districts in the community.

24. Old Central Rehabilitation Project

Oklahoma State University and TAP Architecture are commended for their sensitive rehabilitation of Old Central, the first building on OSU's campus. It survived surprisingly intact through university history, despite multiple renovations and a tornado. Old Central was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s, and the Oklahoma Historical Society entered into a lease with OSU to develop it as a museum and preserve the building. However, funding limitations made it difficult to sustain such a use. When The Honors College of OSU saw the possibilities for its use of the building, OSU and OHS decided to terminate the lease and work cooperatively toward the new preservation goal. In the summer of 2009, the new tenant moved in. There are five offices, two classrooms, a computer lab, and an assembly room on the top floor. The historic President's Office and the Night Watchman's office were left intact as historical exhibits.

25. Tulsa Foundation for Architecture

The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture is recognized this evening for its publication "Downtown Tulsa-Building Opportunity." The brochure is designed to inform the business community about the many positive features of Tulsa's commercial core, including numerous historic buildings, and special programs that support their redevelopment, such as the federal and state rehabilitation tax credits. Examples of several successful historic building rehabilitation projects are featured. The brochure was produced for TFA, including photography, by Kerry Walsh, Walsh Branding, Inc. and TFA board member. The publication is an excellent tool for increasing public awareness about historic downtown Tulsa.

26. Cherokee National Supreme Court Restoration Project

Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism and Sikes Abernathie Architects have completed a highly successful and significant preservation project. The CNCT was established in 2007, to promote and preserve the history and culture of the Cherokee Nation, and in 2008, they began work on Oklahoma's oldest government building, the Cherokee National Supreme Court Building, which also housed the Cherokee Advocate. After statehood, the building was purchased by Cherokee County to serve as county office space. The Cherokee Nation reacquired the building in 1979 and stabilized its structure. Thereafter, the building sat vacant. The CNCT proudly reopened the building this spring as a museum that focuses on the Cherokee National Judicial System and the Cherokee Advocate newspaper.

27. Local Cosponsors of the 2009 Statewide Preservation Conference

The SHPO extends its appreciation to Main Street Altus; Hobart Main Street, Inc.; Mangum Main Street Program; Sayre Main Street Program; Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center; and Southern Prairie Library System. Reaching the Summit: Oklahoma's 21st Annual Statewide Preservation Conference was held June 3-5, 2009, at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center, and a record attendance was on hand for the event. The Oklahoma Main Street Center and Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. join the SHPO in thanking all the local cosponsors for their many contributions. Without our local partners, the conference would not be possible. We continue to receive comments about how much everyone enjoyed their time in southwest Oklahoma. Thank you for the opportunity to visit your communities and the Quartz Mountains.