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Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created One among Oklahoma’s Wealthiest Towns

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Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created considered one of Oklahoma’s Wealthiest Towns
Updated on October 11, 2017 Eric Standridge moreContact Creator Okmulgee’s historical past is rich with both triumph and tragedy. From the rebirth of the Creek Indian and the numerous state changing choices made in Creek Counsel House, to the tragedies of the nice Depression, this series will outline the key events that brought this small town nationwide prestige. Earlier than you depart, ensure to take a look at the other pages within the Okmulgee Historical past collection.

Okmulgee History 1910-1919: Oil Tycoons, Vaudville Performs, and a Metropolis on the Rise
Throughout this time, Okmulgee grew into it’s own. Gone have been the times when Okmulgee was generally known as Indian Territory, but somewhat, it was now a bustling city filled with alternative. As it was all throughout the United States, Okmulgee was nonetheless a blend of old and new. New automobiles 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.

Daily Life in Okmulgee 1910-1919
The town streets have been busy with delivery wagons – ice wagons, little goat drawn wagons the touring photographer had to take pictures of kids, 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 got here utterly geared up with a music field on a prop pole and just a little monkey on a series all dressed up in a pink and gold swimsuit with slightly purple cap.

Picnics and outings have been the order of the day. One younger “social set” took bag and baggage, “together with the choicest edibles of the season and a coloured cook to do the guide labor” and headed out for dripping springs for per week of rollicking within the nation.

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

Many individuals became Oil tycoons, hitting massive payoffs from local wells. Oil had changed the complexion of the complete country. Numerous fields had sprouted around Okmulgee. Okmulgee producers and Refining Company was organized in 1916. In Okmulgee alone there were 9 corporations which repaired or manufactured oil discipline gear.

Okmulgee Timeline 1910-1919
Okmulgee and Coalton Railway (later generally known as Okmulgee Northern) began laying observe to ferry coal between the two cities. Oil and Coal had been main sources of revenue throughout this time and occasions to come.

First hospital established in Okmulgee
On April 12th, after a long politic battle, beginning with first submission in 1907, the Okmulgee streetcar began working. The vehicles between downtown ran and the Frisco depot. On July 4th, the automobiles carried over 4000 passengers, at a nickel a experience – to Lambert’s amusement park (Lake Park) on the south finish of Ohio Avenue.

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

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

William Howard Taft visits Okmulgee
Petroleum constructing completed

Okmulgee county courthouse accomplished.
Women’s suffrage authorized

Dr J.E Bercaw and Medical doctors Berry, Mitchener and Gap founded the Okmulgee Clinic, a two story brick constructing at 319 West fifth.

Oil Manufacturing in the county from October to December was 45,000 barrels a day. Oil refineries had develop into huge enterprise in the county. In addition to oil and coal, there have been 4 main glass factories in Okmulgee.

Stories of Okmulgee 1910-1919
In 1910, a brand new cheap solution to operate a theater was introduced in Okmulgee on June 4. It was a form of forerunner of the drive-in theater, being roofless, however having four walls. This kind of theater was referred to as an “Air Dome”, and the one in Okmulgee was positioned on the west aspect of Morton Street throughout from the Council Home. Evidently, showings had been held solely within the summer time, and in good, clear weather.

The Parkinson Hotel
The Parkinson Lodge was the results of a joint effort of neighborhood leaders resembling Jim Parkinson, L.S. Skelton, Choose W. W. Witten, and banker David M. Smith.

The Second floor parlor was elaborately furnished in mahogany, carpeted in pink, and boasted an Everett Grand Piano, whereas the higher rooms have been equipped with a mattress, wardrobe, sizzling and chilly water, and a panoramic view of the town.

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

A giant Customer
In 1913, William Howard Taft, twenty seventh president of the United States, came to Henryetta to visit his buddy, W.B. Hudson, father of Jim Hudson. At the moment, Hudson lived at the present site of the Dr. W.M. Haynes residence. Taft slept in the southeast bedroom. It took a sturdy bed, for Taft weighed 352 pounds at the time.

Ankle Watch Craze Reaches Okmulgee
The Ankle watch, the trend craze amongst society women of the east, has reached Okmulgee and has began a sensation. The first appearance of the ankle watch was on a streetcar yesterday, and was worn by a pretty Okmulgee woman.

Sporting a brand new abbreviated skirt and a gold watch clasped about her left ankle, she boarded a automotive for lake Park yesterday to see the fair. The car was properly filled with other honest guests.

Quickly after she sat down the woman tilted her left foot forward and glanced down on the watch. So did the other passengers. When the automobile stopped on 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 can go in Okmulgee remains to be seen. Judging from the expertise of the lady yesterday the embarrassment of the style might be its biggest handicap.

Parkinson Provides Court Home Site
The courtroom home matter was given an ideal increase at the moment by the offer by Mr. Parkinson final night of the site known because the Parkinson site to the county free of value to be used as a site for the proposed new courtroom house. The supply was tendered as we speak to the commissioners by brokers of Mr. Parkinson. In fact the commissioners haven’t acted upon the offer as but. It is alleged until some other provide is made which is preferable, which is not thought to be doubtless, there is little question that the positioning can be accepted. The lot is on the nook of Seminole and Seventh Avenue and is 140X150. It’s smaller than the Baker-Aleander lot, nevertheless it is claimed to be the precise measurement of the location on which the Tulsa court house stands. While the Tulsa site is generally complained of as being too small, it’s yet pointed out that our courtroom house can be not byconsiderable so large a one as Tulsa’s. The location provide by Mr. Parkinson is considered simplifying the courtroom home bond proposition enormously.

The primary funding for the Okmulgee County Courtroom House was furnished by an Indian girl – Katie Fixico. Initially, it was to have been a 4 story, white crude oil jobs in texas stone construction with a six-sided dome centered on the roof and 4 clocks going through each of the four instructions. Plans were changed, nonetheless, in favor of the present construction. The Court House was devoted in 1918, two months after William Howard Taft visited Okmulgee.

The Orpheum Theater
The following information is from Particular because of Symco for his nice research.

“The Orpheum opened Aug. 23, 1920. The opening image, known as a photoplay at the moment, 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 University Glee Membership of Nashville, TN.

“Development started in 1919, which is the date on the cornerstone, however it actually opened in 1920. It was constructed by L. H. D Cook, and its identify initially was the Cook Theatre, which is in raised terra cotta at the highest of naphtha 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 within two months of opening, Mr. Cook was using both the Orpheum and Cook names in parallel, with the identify ‘Cook’ in smaller print. In lower than a year, he formally modified the theatre’s title to the Orpheum, and put in an elaborate new double-sided electric sign with the name ‘Orpheum’ in vivid incandescent lights, beneath a crown of lights often called waterburst lighting. The waterburst effect was produced by a motorized electromechanical flasher housed in a steel cabinet inside the building.

“In line with a retired stagehand, the primary stage curtain opened both vertically, and side-to-facet, using a curtain motor that flew. Conversion from stage to display may very well be carried out in 45 seconds.

“Possession of the theatre was separated from ownership of the constructing, and Griffith Brothers Theatres, which developed into Griffith Amusement Co. after which into Video Independent Theatres, purchased the theatre, ca. 1924. Keith/Albee/Orpheum never owned it. The constructing 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 a number of years, and the assistance of the Greek ambassador, to consolidate the fractured ownership.

“Martin Theatres bought it in 1982 by absorbing the Video Theatres circuit. Martin was soon re-named Carmike Cinemas, who operated it into 1991. An unbiased operator purchased the theatre from Carmike, and then bought the building from the landlord.

“Video Theatres enclosed the balcony and transformed it into two theatres in 1974.
“As to architectural features which are coated, sometimes a brand new treasure is found. The newest discovery was two circular plaster embellishments within the plain portion of the ceiling that was over cheap seats in the higher balcony, and is now lined by a suspended ceiling.

“The remains of higher orchestra field seats have been discovered behind false plaster walls along side the stage. The false walls have been 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 screen.
Possession: Independent
Perform: In business operation, playing first-run movies

Click on right here to learn all the information in regards to the Orpheum Theater.
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sendingJoyce Godwin Grubbs three years in the past
As Okmulgee is my hometown I always love learning extra about it. I definitely enjoyed the supplies of this text. Although I moved away after grade school, in my adult life I chose to find among the suspense novels I wrote in Morris and Okmulgee. You always remember your roots and they actually do influence your life’s path.

Jim 5 years ago
Does anyone know which architect designed the golf course on the Okmulgee Country Club I know that Bobby Jones and Chick Evans performed an exhibition match at its opening in 1920. They would not have come to play just any course. Primarily 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 by means of what I should see if I could find something, but didn’t come up with something yet.

To verify, the right spelling of the corporate is “Barnsdal” and never “Barnsdall” I was able to find references to both in Okmulgee, however I’m undecided if it’s a mis-spelling or not. In order to seek out outdated images, I am going to have to know extra about the corporate. I found references to “Barnsdal Oil Corporation”, is this the proper title of the company Additionally, when you’ve got any NILS(National Built-in Land System) knowledge then that may assist.

I found a pair hyperlinks that may assist:… (Search the page for “Barnsdal” (Seek for similar – consists of presidents names that supplied assistance to overseas oil wells. Many times, by looking out the persons name for photographs you can come throughout photographs of locations they visited/labored)

Those have been the only two stable leads I discovered on the “Barnsdal Oil Corp.”, but again, I’m unsure of the proper spelling.

A pair assets to attempt:
First, as at all times, examine the Okmulgee Genealogical Society for data. Many instances they have old information not discovered wherever else.

Second, and that 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 outdated Oil and Gasoline Journals from the early 1900’s that mentioned Okmulgee oil fields/corporations. Most of these previous journals embody footage. If you could find the exact date that the corporate was started in Okmulgee, then they should have a picture in that years journal.

Third, search the Google information archive ( This brings up previous newspapers/articles/courtroom documents that were published previously. For instance, go to that web page and sort in “Okmulgee”, then click on “1900”, that will zoom in to the years 1900 to 1920. Click once more on one of many years and that may zoom in further. Many times, these old archives hold the key to discovering what you’re searching for.

Many times, especially within the early 1900’s, issues weren’t all the time as they appeared to be. While looking for data on different articles, I’ve needed to attempt a hundred other ways till I discovered what I used to be searching for.

Hopefully this helps, a minimum of a little. I am going to keep a watch out for any data I can find – one never is aware of when a brand new, fascinating story can develop.

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

I used to be raised on the “Previous Barnsdal Refinery Property” South of Okmulgee. I’m making an attempt to find a picture of this Refinery. Does anyone have an image 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 little information, nevertheless it was all misplaced through the transfer. I ran throughout her name a number of occasions while at the Okmulgee geneological heart although. I would counsel giving them a visit (or a name, if it’s too far away) and so they’d be capable to inform you more than I might.

Good luck with it!
harmonfam4 7 years in the past

Do you have any more data on Katie Fixico I did a google search and found she was also called Freeman, however could not find every other background or historical past.