Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created Certainly one 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 eleven, 2017 Eric Standridge moreContact Writer Okmulgee’s history is rich with both triumph and tragedy. From the rebirth of the Creek Indian and the numerous state changing choices made in Creek Counsel Home, to the tragedies of the good Depression, this sequence will define the key occasions that introduced this small city nationwide prestige. Earlier than you leave, make sure to take a look at the other pages within the Okmulgee History sequence.

Okmulgee History 1910-1919: Oil Tycoons, Vaudville Performs, and a Metropolis on the Rise
During this time, Okmulgee grew into it’s own. Gone were the times when Okmulgee was often known as Indian Territory, but fairly, it was now a bustling town stuffed with alternative. Because it was all across the United States, Okmulgee was nonetheless a mix of previous and new. New cars and horse drawn popcorn stands lined the streets of downtown Okmulgee. Outlaws and bandits nonetheless roamed the countryside, while slick suited businessmen bustled round downtown.

Daily Life in Okmulgee 1910-1919
The town streets had been busy with delivery wagons – ice wagons, little goat drawn wagons the touring photographer had to take photos 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 completely outfitted with a music box on a prop pole and slightly monkey on a sequence all dressed up in a purple and gold swimsuit with slightly crimson cap.

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

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

Many individuals turned Oil tycoons, hitting huge payoffs from local wells. Oil had changed the complexion of the whole country. Quite a few fields had sprouted around Okmulgee. Okmulgee producers and Refining Firm was organized in 1916. In Okmulgee alone there were 9 companies which repaired or manufactured oil field equipment.

Okmulgee Timeline 1910-1919

Okmulgee and Coalton Railway (later referred to as Okmulgee Northern) started laying observe to ferry coal between the 2 cities. Oil and Coal were main sources of revenue during this time and times to come back.

First hospital established in Okmulgee

On April twelfth, after a long politic battle, beginning with first submission in 1907, the Okmulgee streetcar started running. The cars between downtown ran and the Frisco depot. On July 4th, the cars carried over 4000 passengers, at a nickel a ride – to Lambert’s amusement park (Lake Park) on the south end of Ohio Street.


Poe-Hart gang ended its career in a shootout in the deep fork bottoms close to outdated Nuyaka mission.


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

William Howard Taft visits Okmulgee

Petroleum constructing accomplished

Okmulgee county courthouse completed.

Girls’s suffrage authorised


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

Oil Production within the county from October to December was forty five,000 barrels a day. Oil refineries had change into big business within the county. Along with oil and coal, there have been four major glass factories in Okmulgee.

Stories of Okmulgee 1910-1919
In 1910, a new inexpensive way to function a theater was introduced in Okmulgee on June four. It was a sort of forerunner of the drive-in theater, being roofless, however having 4 partitions. This sort of theater was referred to as an “Air Dome and the one in Okmulgee was situated on the west facet of Morton Road across from the Council Home. For sure, showings have been held only within the summer season, and in good, clear weather.

The Parkinson Resort

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

The Second floor parlor was elaborately furnished in mahogany, carpeted in red, and boasted an Everett Grand Piano, while the higher rooms were equipped with a mattress, wardrobe, scorching and cold water, and a panoramic view of town.

Furnishings for the kitchen price $2,500.00, with chefs, bakers, and assistant cooks being brought from Kansas Metropolis, and dining room girls from St. Louis.

An enormous Visitor

In 1913, William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States, came to Henryetta to visit his good friend, W.B. Hudson, father of Jim Hudson. At that time, Hudson lived at the present site of the Dr. W.M. Haynes home. Taft slept within 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 vogue craze amongst 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 reasonably Okmulgee lady.

Wearing a new abbreviated skirt and a gold watch clasped about her left ankle, she boarded a car for lake Park yesterday to see the honest. The car was well crammed with other honest visitors.

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

The brand new ankle watch is designed to supplant the wrist watch, and how far it is going to go in Okmulgee remains to be seen. Judging from the experience of the lady yesterday the embarrassment of the style can be its best handicap.

Parkinson Presents Court docket Home Site

The court house matter was given an incredible boost at present by the provide by Mr. Parkinson last night time of the positioning known because the Parkinson site to the county free of price to be used as a site for the proposed new courtroom house. The provide was tendered in the present day to the commissioners by agents of Mr. Parkinson. Of course the commissioners have not acted upon the supply as but. It is claimed unless some other offer is made which is preferable, which isn’t thought to be seemingly, there is little question that the location 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, however it is said to be the exact dimension of the positioning on which the Tulsa court house stands. While the Tulsa site is usually complained of as being too small, it is but identified that our court house will be not byconsiderable so massive a one as Tulsa’s. The site provide by Mr. Parkinson is regarded as simplifying the court home bond proposition enormously.

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

The Orpheum Theater
The following info is from cinematreasures.org. Particular because of Symco for his nice analysis.

“The Orpheum opened Aug. 23, 1920. The opening image, called a photoplay at the moment, was “Eyes of Youth”, with Clara Kimball Young. Also featured on the opening program was a pipe organ concert, and a 12-unit stage present produced by the Vanderbilt College Glee Club of Nashville, TN.

“Development began in 1919, which is the date on the cornerstone, nevertheless it really opened in 1920. It was built by L. H. D Cook, and its identify initially was the Cook Theatre, which is in raised terra cotta at the highest of the facade. CT, for Cook Theatre, is repeated on small terra shields over poster frames within the foyer, and can also 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 identify to the Orpheum, and put in an elaborate new double-sided electric signal with the title ‘Orpheum’ in bright incandescent lights, beneath a crown of lights generally known as waterburst lighting. The waterburst impact was produced by a motorized electromechanical flasher housed in a steel cabinet contained in the constructing.

“In response to a retired stagehand, the principle stage curtain opened both vertically, and aspect-to-facet, utilizing a curtain motor that flew. Conversion from stage to screen could be finished in forty five seconds.

“Ownership of the theatre was separated from possession of the building, and Griffith Brothers Theatres, which advanced into Griffith Amusement Co., and then into Video Unbiased Theatres, purchased the theatre, ca. 1924. Keith/Albee/Orpheum by no means owned it. The building was sold in tiny fractional interests to Greek people, many of whom lived in Greece, and didn’t pay their share of taxes or upkeep. It took a number of years, and the assistance of the Greek ambassador, to consolidate the fractured possession.

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

“Video Theatres enclosed the balcony and transformed it into two theatres in 1974.

“As to architectural options which can be lined, sometimes a new treasure is discovered. The most recent discovery was two circular plaster embellishments within the plain portion of the ceiling that was over cheap seats in the upper balcony, and is now covered by a suspended ceiling.

“The stays of higher orchestra field seats have been found behind false plaster walls along side the stage. The false walls were eliminated, and destroyed decorative plaster was reconstructed by a retired Hollywood craftsman.”

Architect: Leon B. Senter
Model: Spanish Baroque Revival
Seats: Originally 1200; now 550.
Date of Opening: 1920
Screens: 2 – Its balcony was enclosed in 1974 for the second display.
Possession: Unbiased
Operate: In business operation, enjoying first-run movies

Click on right here to learn all the data concerning the Orpheum Theater.

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sendingJoyce Godwin Grubbs three years in the past

As Okmulgee is my hometown I at all times love studying more about it. I certainly loved the materials of this text. Although I moved away after grade faculty, in my grownup life I chose to find a few 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 anybody know which architect designed the golf course at the Okmulgee Country Club? I do know that Bobby Jones and Chick Evans played an exhibition match at its opening in 1920. They wouldn’t have come to play just any course. Primarily based on the unique 9 hole format, it seemed like a Perry Maxwell however analysis 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 discover something, however didn’t come up with something but.

To confirm, the correct spelling of the corporate is “Barnsdal” and never “Barnsdall”? I was capable of finding references to each in Okmulgee, but I’m unsure if it is a mis-spelling or not. In order to find old pictures, I’ll must know extra about the company. I discovered references to “Barnsdal Oil Corporation”, is that this the correct identify of the corporate? Also, in case you have any NILS(National Built-in Land System) information then that will help.

I discovered a couple hyperlinks that may assist:

http://www.archive.org/stream/reportonprogress1944… (Search the web page for “Barnsdal”

http://outdated.caspenergy.com/19/oilidustry_e.html (Search for similar – contains presidents names that provided assistance to overseas oil wells. Many occasions, by looking out the persons identify for photos you possibly can come throughout photographs of locations they visited/worked)

Those have been the only two stable leads I discovered on the “Barnsdal Oil Corp.”, but once more, I am unsure of the correct spelling.

A pair resources to attempt:

First, as at all times, check the Okmulgee Genealogical Society for information. Many instances they have old information not found anywhere else.

Second, and this is where I get a large majority of leads, search by Google Books (http://books.google.com/books) for any related information. There have been several outdated Oil and Fuel Journals from the early 1900’s that talked about Okmulgee oil fields/companies. Most of those outdated journals include photos. If you will discover the precise date that the company was began in Okmulgee, then they should have an image in that years journal.

Third, search the Google news archive (http://information.google.com/archivesearch). This brings up outdated newspapers/articles/court docket paperwork that have been published beforehand. For instance, go to that 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 many years and that may zoom in additional. Many times, these outdated archives hold the key to discovering what you’re looking for.

Many occasions, especially within the early 1900’s, things weren’t always as they appeared to be. While searching for data on completely different articles, I’ve had to try a hundred alternative ways till I found what I was in search of.

Hopefully this helps, a minimum of just a little. I am going to keep a watch out for any info I can find – one by no means is aware of when a new, fascinating story can develop.

I want you one of the best!

Janice (Kinser) DeRamus 6 years in the past

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

AuthorEric Standridge 7 years in the past from Wister, Oklahoma

Harmon, I did have a bit of data, but it surely was all misplaced during the transfer. I ran across her title several occasions whereas on the Okmulgee geneological middle though. I might suggest giving them a visit (or a name, if it’s too far away) they usually’d be capable to inform you greater than I may.

Good luck with it!

harmonfam4 7 years ago

Do you’ve any more information on Katie Fixico? I did a google search and located she was also referred to as Freeman, but couldn’t discover another background or history.


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