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Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created One in every of Oklahoma’s Wealthiest Towns

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Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created one in all Oklahoma’s Wealthiest Towns
Up to date on October 11, 2017 Eric Standridge moreContact Author Okmulgee’s history is rich with each triumph and tragedy. From the rebirth of the Creek Indian and the numerous state changing selections made in Creek Counsel House, to the tragedies of the great Depression, this series will outline the important thing occasions that introduced this small city national prestige. Before you go away, ensure to take a look at the other pages in the Okmulgee Historical past collection.

Okmulgee History 1910-1919: Oil Tycoons, Vaudville Plays, and a City on the Rise
During this time, Okmulgee grew into it’s own. Gone have been the times when Okmulgee was generally known as Indian Territory, but relatively, it was now a bustling city full of opportunity. As it was all across the United States, Okmulgee was still a mix of previous and new. New cars and horse drawn popcorn stands lined the streets of downtown Okmulgee. Outlaws and bandits still roamed the countryside, whereas slick suited businessmen bustled around downtown.

Each day Life in Okmulgee 1910-1919
The town streets have been busy with delivery wagons – ice wagons, little goat drawn wagons the touring photographer needed to take footage of children, farmer’s wagons, the jewel tea card which smelled of pungent spices, teamsters’ wagons with pipe to the oil fiends and grocery delivery wagons. Okmulgee even had a hurdy gurdy man. “He came utterly outfitted with a music box on a prop pole and a little monkey on a series all dressed up in a pink and gold swimsuit with a bit red cap.

Picnics and outings had been the order of the day. One younger “social set” took bag and baggage, “along with the choicest edibles of the season and a colored cook to do the manual labor” and headed out for dripping springs for per region oil week of rollicking in the nation.

The Okmulgee County Courthouse was accomplished in 1918, with marble partitions and floors. The bonds for the court docket home had been bought to Katie Fixico, a rich Creek Indian, whose home has long housed the restaurant known as “The Southern Mansion.”

Many individuals turned Oil tycoons, hitting massive payoffs from native wells. Oil had modified the complexion of all the nation. Quite a few fields had sprouted round Okmulgee. Okmulgee producers and Refining Firm was organized in 1916. In Okmulgee alone there were 9 corporations which repaired or manufactured oil area gear.

Okmulgee Timeline 1910-1919
Okmulgee and Coalton Railway (later often known as Okmulgee Northern) began laying observe to ferry coal between the two cities. Oil and Coal were major sources of earnings throughout this time and occasions to come.

First hospital established in Okmulgee
On April twelfth, after a long politic battle, starting with first submission in 1907, the Okmulgee streetcar started operating. The vehicles between downtown ran and the Frisco depot. On July 4th, the vehicles carried over 4000 passengers, at a nickel a journey – to Lambert’s amusement park (Lake Park) at the south end of Ohio Road.

Poe-Hart gang ended its career in a shootout within the deep fork bottoms near old Nuyaka mission.

On February 18th, the primary Okmulgean to enlist in WWI was Lee Raymond Lengthy. He landed in France and on could 28, he took part in the first American offensive of the conflict at Cantigny. Long was shot and killed by German snipers on Might 30 – one in every of the primary casualties of the war.

William Howard Taft visits Okmulgee
Petroleum constructing completed

Okmulgee county courthouse accomplished.
Girls’s suffrage permitted

Dr J.E Bercaw and Docs Berry, Mitchener and Hole based the Okmulgee Clinic, a two story brick building at 319 West 5th.

Oil Production in the county from October to December was 45,000 barrels a day. Oil refineries had grow to be huge enterprise in the county. Along with oil and coal, there were 4 major glass factories in Okmulgee.

Stories of Okmulgee 1910-1919
In 1910, a brand new cheap way to function a theater was introduced in Okmulgee on June four. It was a form of forerunner of the drive-in theater, being roofless, but having 4 partitions. One of these theater was known as an “Air Dome”, and the one in Okmulgee was positioned on the west facet of Morton Road throughout from the Council House. For sure, showings were held solely within the summer season, and in good, clear weather.

The Parkinson Hotel
The Parkinson Resort was region oil the results of a joint effort of community leaders comparable to Jim Parkinson, L.S. Skelton, Choose W. W. Witten, and banker David M. Smith.

The Second ground parlor was elaborately furnished in mahogany, carpeted in red, and boasted an Everett Grand Piano, whereas the higher rooms have been outfitted with a bed, wardrobe, sizzling and cold water, and a panoramic view of town.

Furnishings for the kitchen cost $2,500.00, with chefs, bakers, and assistant cooks being introduced from Kansas City, and dining room ladies from St. Louis.

An enormous Customer
In 1913, William Howard Taft, twenty seventh president of the United States, got here to Henryetta to visit his pal, W.B. Hudson, father of Jim Hudson. At that time, Hudson lived at the current site of the Dr. W.M. Haynes house. Taft slept within the southeast bedroom. It took a sturdy mattress, for Taft weighed 352 pounds at the time.

Ankle Watch Craze Reaches Okmulgee
The Ankle watch, the fashion craze among society women of the east, has reached Okmulgee and has started a sensation. The primary look of the ankle watch was on a streetcar yesterday, and was worn by a pretty Okmulgee lady.

Sporting a brand new abbreviated skirt and a gold watch clasped about her left ankle, she boarded a car for lake Park yesterday to see the truthful. The automobile was well stuffed with different honest visitors.

Quickly after she sat down the woman tilted her left foot forward and glanced down at the watch. So did the opposite passengers. When the car stopped at the Frisco tracks she took a re-assessment on the watch – and so did the others.

The new ankle watch is designed to supplant the wrist watch, and the way far it will go in Okmulgee remains to be seen. Judging from the expertise of the woman yesterday the embarrassment of the fashion can be its greatest handicap.

Parkinson Presents Court Home Site
The courtroom home matter was given an excellent enhance at present by the provide by Mr. Parkinson last night time of the site identified because the Parkinson site to the county free of value for use as a site for the proposed new courtroom home. The offer was tendered today to the commissioners by agents of Mr. Parkinson. In fact the commissioners have not acted upon the offer as yet. It is alleged unless another offer is made which is preferable, which is not thought to be possible, there is little question that the location will probably be accepted. The lot is on the corner of Seminole and Seventh Street and is 140X150. It is smaller than the Baker-Aleander lot, but it surely is said to be the exact size of the site on which the Tulsa courtroom house stands. While the Tulsa site is generally complained of as being too small, it is yet identified that our court home might be not byconsiderable so large a one as Tulsa’s. The positioning provide by Mr. Parkinson is considered simplifying the court docket home bond proposition vastly.

The primary funding for the Okmulgee County Court docket House was furnished by an Indian girl – Katie Fixico. Originally, it was to have been a four story, white stone structure with a six-sided dome centered on the roof and 4 clocks going through each of the four instructions. Plans had been modified, nevertheless, in favor of the present construction. The Court House was dedicated in 1918, two months after William Howard Taft visited Okmulgee.

The Orpheum Theater
The following information is from Particular thanks to Symco for his nice research.

“The Orpheum opened Aug. 23, 1920. The opening picture, referred to as a photoplay at that time, was “Eyes of Youth”, with Clara Kimball Younger. Also featured on the opening program was a pipe organ live performance, and a 12-unit stage present produced by the Vanderbilt College Glee Club of Nashville, TN.

“Building started in 1919, which is the date on the cornerstone, nevertheless it truly opened in 1920. It was built by L. H. D Cook, and its title initially was the Cook Theatre, which is in raised terra cotta at the top of the facade. CT, for Cook Theatre, is repeated on small terra shields over poster frames within the foyer, and can be on an oval shield at the highest of the proscenium arch.

“Orpheum Vaudeville was featured, and inside two months of opening, Mr. Cook was utilizing both the Orpheum and Cook names in parallel, with the title ‘Cook’ in smaller print. In less than a year, he formally modified the theatre’s name to the Orpheum, and installed an elaborate new double-sided electric sign with the title ‘Orpheum’ in vivid incandescent lights, beneath a crown of lights known as waterburst lighting. The waterburst effect was produced by a motorized electromechanical flasher housed in a steel cabinet contained in the building.

“In keeping with a retired stagehand, the principle stage curtain opened each vertically, and facet-to-aspect, using a curtain motor that flew. Conversion from stage to screen may very well be carried out in 45 seconds.

“Possession of the theatre was separated from ownership of the building, and Griffith Brothers Theatres, which developed into Griffith Amusement Co. after which into Video Unbiased Theatres, bought the theatre, ca. 1924. Keith/Albee/Orpheum never owned it. The building was sold in tiny fractional pursuits to Greek folks, many of whom lived in Greece, and did not pay their share of taxes or maintenance. It took several years, and the help of the Greek ambassador, to consolidate the fractured ownership.

“Martin Theatres acquired it in 1982 by absorbing the Video Theatres circuit. Martin was soon re-named Carmike Cinemas, who operated it into 1991. An independent operator purchased the theatre from Carmike, after which purchased the building from the landlord.

“Video Theatres enclosed the balcony and converted it into two theatres in 1974.
“As to architectural options which can be lined, sometimes a brand new treasure is discovered. The latest discovery was two circular plaster embellishments within the plain portion of the ceiling that was over low-cost seats within the upper balcony, and is now coated by a suspended ceiling.

“The stays of higher orchestra field seats have been discovered behind false plaster partitions together with the stage. The false walls were removed, and destroyed decorative plaster was reconstructed by a retired Hollywood craftsman.”

Architect: Leon B. Senter
Fashion: Spanish Baroque Revival
Seats: Initially 1200; now 550.
Date of Opening: 1920
Screens: 2 – Its balcony was enclosed in 1974 for the second display.
Ownership: Independent
Operate: In commercial operation, enjoying first-run motion pictures

Click on right here to learn all the knowledge in regards to the Orpheum Theater.
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sendingJoyce Godwin Grubbs 3 years in the past
As Okmulgee is my hometown I all the time love learning more about it. I certainly loved the supplies of this text. Although I moved away after grade college, in my adult life I selected to find some of the suspense novels I wrote in Morris and Okmulgee. You never forget your roots they usually certainly do influence your life’s path.

Jim 5 years in the past
Does anyone know which architect designed the golf course at the Okmulgee Nation Membership I know that Bobby Jones and Chick Evans played an exhibition match at its opening in 1920. They would not have come to play just any course. Based on the unique 9 hole format, it appeared like a Perry Maxwell but research doesn’t present this.

AuthorEric Standridge 6 years ago from Wister, Oklahoma

I did a brief search through what I have to see if I may discover anything, but didn’t give you something but.

To verify, the proper spelling of the corporate is “Barnsdal” and never “Barnsdall” I used to be able to find references to each in Okmulgee, but I am undecided if it is a mis-spelling or not. So as to search out outdated photographs, I will have to know more about the corporate. I discovered references to “Barnsdal Oil Corporation”, is that this the right title of the corporate Additionally, if in case you have any NILS(Nationwide Built-in Land System) knowledge then that will assist.

I discovered a couple links which will help:… (Search the web page for “Barnsdal” (Search for similar – contains presidents names that supplied help to overseas oil wells. Many occasions, by searching the persons identify for photos you can come throughout photos of locations they visited/labored)

These had been the only two solid leads I found on the “Barnsdal Oil Corp.”, but once more, I am unsure of the proper spelling.

A pair sources to try:
First, as all the time, check the Okmulgee Genealogical Society for info. Many times they’ve previous data not found anyplace else.

Second, and this is where I get a large majority of leads, search by means of Google Books ( for any associated information. There have been a number of old Oil and Gas Journals from the early 1900’s that talked about Okmulgee oil fields/companies. Most of these outdated journals embrace pictures. If you’ll find the precise date that the company was began in Okmulgee, then they need to have a picture in that years journal.

Third, search the Google information archive ( This brings up outdated newspapers/articles/courtroom paperwork that have been printed previously. For example, go to that web page and sort in “Okmulgee”, then click on “1900”, that can zoom in to the years 1900 to 1920. Click on once more on one of the years and that will zoom in additional. Many times, these outdated archives hold the important thing to discovering what you’re looking for.

Many instances, especially within the early 1900’s, issues weren’t all the time as they appeared to be. While trying to find data on completely different articles, I’ve had to attempt 100 alternative ways until I found what I was on the lookout for.

Hopefully this helps, at least a little. I am going region oil to keep an eye out for any info I can discover – one never knows when a brand new, fascinating story can develop.

I want you the very best!
Janice (Kinser) DeRamus 6 years ago

I used to be raised on the “Old Barnsdal Refinery Property” South of Okmulgee. I am making an attempt to locate a picture of this Refinery. Does anybody have a picture of it, or know of someone who might have one. Thanks

AuthorEric Standridge 7 years in the past from Wister, Oklahoma
Harmon, I did have a bit of info, nevertheless it was all misplaced in the course of the transfer. I ran throughout her identify several times whereas on the Okmulgee geneological middle although. I might suggest giving them a go to (or a name, if it’s too far away) and they’d be capable of tell you greater than I could.

Good luck with it!
harmonfam4 7 years in the past

Do you have any extra data on Katie Fixico I did a google search and located she was additionally called Freeman, but could not find every other background or historical past.


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