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

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Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created one in every of Oklahoma’s Wealthiest Towns
Up to date on October 11, 2017 Eric Standridge moreContact Writer Okmulgee’s historical past is rich with each triumph and tragedy. From the rebirth of the Creek Indian and the various state changing selections made in Creek Counsel House, to the tragedies of the great Depression, this series will define the key occasions that brought this small city national prestige. Earlier than you leave, ensure to take a look at the other pages in the Okmulgee History series.

Okmulgee Historical past 1910-1919: Oil Tycoons, Vaudville Plays, and a Metropolis on the Rise
During this time, Okmulgee grew into it is own. Gone were the times when Okmulgee was often called Indian Territory, however moderately, it was now a bustling city filled with alternative. Because it was all across the United States, Okmulgee was still a mix of outdated and new. New automobiles and horse drawn popcorn stands lined the streets of downtown Okmulgee. Outlaws and bandits still roamed the countryside, while slick suited businessmen bustled around downtown.

Every day Life in Okmulgee 1910-1919
The town streets were busy with delivery wagons – ice wagons, little goat drawn wagons the traveling photographer needed to take footage of youngsters, farmer’s wagons, the jewel tea card which smelled of pungent spices, teamsters’ wagons with pipe to the oil fiends and grocery supply wagons. Okmulgee even had a hurdy gurdy man. “He came utterly equipped with a music field on a prop pole and a bit monkey on a sequence all dressed up in a purple and gold suit with somewhat red cap.

Picnics and outings had been the order of the day. One young “social set” took bag and baggage, “along with the choicest edibles of the season and a coloured cook to do the guide labor” and headed out for dripping springs for every week of rollicking in the country.

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

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

Okmulgee Timeline 1910-1919

Okmulgee and Coalton Railway (later referred to as Okmulgee Northern) began laying track to ferry coal between the 2 cities. Oil and Coal were main sources of income during 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 operating. The vehicles between downtown ran and the Frisco depot. On July 4th, the automobiles carried over 4000 passengers, at a nickel a ride – to Lambert’s amusement park (Lake Park) at the south end of Ohio Avenue.


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


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

William Howard Taft visits Okmulgee

Petroleum constructing accomplished

Okmulgee county courthouse completed.

Ladies’s suffrage approved


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

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

Tales of Okmulgee 1910-1919
In 1910, a new inexpensive way to operate a theater was launched in Okmulgee on June 4. It was a kind of forerunner of the drive-in theater, being roofless, however having 4 partitions. This type of theater was referred to as an “Air Dome and the one in Okmulgee was located on the west facet of Morton Road throughout from the Council Home. Needless to say, showings have been held only in the summer season, and in good, clear weather.

The Parkinson Resort

The Parkinson Hotel was the results of a joint effort of neighborhood leaders corresponding 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, whereas the higher rooms were outfitted with a bed, wardrobe, sizzling and chilly water, and a panoramic view of the city.

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

A big Customer

In 1913, William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States, came to Henryetta to go to his pal, W.B. Hudson, father of Jim Hudson. At the moment, Hudson lived at the current site of the Dr. W.M. Haynes house. Taft slept in the southeast bedroom. It took a sturdy bed, for Taft weighed 352 pounds on 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 first look of the ankle watch was on a streetcar yesterday, and was worn by a fairly Okmulgee lady.

Sporting a new abbreviated skirt and a gold watch clasped about her left ankle, she boarded a automobile for lake Park yesterday to see the honest. The automobile was nicely filled with other honest visitors.

Soon 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 second look on the watch – and so did the others.

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

Parkinson Offers Court docket House Site

The court house matter was given an amazing boost at present by the offer by Mr. Parkinson final evening of the site identified because the Parkinson site to the county freed from cost to be used as a site for the proposed new courtroom house. The offer was tendered today to the commissioners by agents of Mr. Parkinson. In fact the commissioners haven’t acted upon the provide as yet. It is alleged unless some other offer is made which is preferable, which isn’t thought to be seemingly, there may be no doubt that the positioning shall be accepted. The lot is at the nook of Seminole and Seventh Street and is 140X150. It’s smaller than the Baker-Aleander lot, however it is alleged to be the precise dimension of the site on which the Tulsa court house stands. While the Tulsa site is mostly complained of as being too small, it is yet pointed out that our courtroom house can be not byconsiderable so large a one as Tulsa’s. The site supply by Mr. Parkinson is regarded as simplifying the court house bond proposition vastly.

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

The Orpheum Theater
The following info is from cinematreasures.org. Particular due to Symco for his great analysis.

“The Orpheum opened Aug. oil cracking tower 23, 1920. The opening picture, called a photoplay at that time, was “Eyes of Youth”, with Clara Kimball Younger. Also featured on the opening program was a pipe organ concert, and a 12-unit stage present produced by the Vanderbilt University Glee Membership of Nashville, TN.

“Building started in 1919, which is the date on the cornerstone, however it actually 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 lobby, and is also on an oval shield at the top of the proscenium arch.

“Orpheum Vaudeville was featured, and within two months of opening, Mr. Cook was utilizing each the Orpheum and Cook names in parallel, with the identify ‘Cook’ in smaller print. In less than a year, he officially modified the theatre’s identify to the Orpheum, and put in an elaborate new double-sided electric signal with the name ‘Orpheum’ in vivid incandescent lights, beneath a crown of lights often called waterburst lighting. The waterburst impact was produced by a motorized electromechanical flasher housed in a steel cabinet inside the constructing.

“In response to a retired stagehand, the main stage curtain opened each vertically, and facet-to-aspect, using a curtain motor that flew. Conversion from stage to screen might be achieved in 45 seconds.

“Ownership of the theatre was separated from possession of the building, and Griffith Brothers Theatres, which developed into Griffith Amusement Co., and then into Video Impartial Theatres, purchased the theatre, ca. 1924. Keith/Albee/Orpheum never owned it. The constructing was bought in tiny fractional pursuits to Greek folks, a lot of whom lived in Greece, and didn’t 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 received it in 1982 by absorbing the Video Theatres circuit. Martin was soon re-named Carmike Cinemas, who operated it into 1991. An independent operator bought 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 that are covered, occasionally a new treasure is found. The most recent discovery was two circular plaster embellishments within the plain portion of the ceiling that was over low-cost seats in the upper balcony, and is now coated by a suspended ceiling.

“The stays of upper orchestra field seats had been found behind false plaster partitions at the side of the stage. The false walls were removed, and destroyed decorative plaster was reconstructed by a retired Hollywood craftsman.”

Architect: Leon B. Senter
Style: Spanish Baroque Revival
Seats: Initially 1200; now 550.
Date of Opening: 1920
Screens: 2 – Its balcony was enclosed in 1974 for the second screen.
Ownership: Impartial
Perform: In industrial operation, enjoying first-run films

Click right here to read all the data 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 studying more about it. I certainly enjoyed the supplies of this text. Though I moved away after grade faculty, in my grownup life I selected to locate a number of the suspense novels I wrote in Morris and Okmulgee. You always remember your roots and so they certainly do affect your life’s path.

Jim 5 years in the past

Does anybody know which architect designed the golf course at the Okmulgee Nation Club? I do know that Bobby Jones and Chick Evans performed 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 layout, it appeared like a Perry Maxwell but analysis does not show this.

AuthorEric Standridge 6 years in the past from Wister, Oklahoma


I did a short search by what I must see if I might discover anything, however did not give you anything yet.

To confirm, the correct spelling of the company is “Barnsdal” and not “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 previous pictures, I’ll have to know more about the company. I found references to “Barnsdal Oil Corporation”, is this the right identify of the company? Also, if in case you have any NILS(Nationwide Integrated Land System) information then that will help.

I discovered a pair hyperlinks that will help:

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

http://previous.caspenergy.com/19/oilidustry_e.html (Search for identical – consists of presidents names that supplied assistance to overseas oil wells. Many occasions, by searching the persons name for images you can come across photographs of locations they visited/worked)

These had been the one two strong leads I found on the “Barnsdal Oil Corp.”, however once more, I am not sure of the proper spelling.

A pair sources to try:

First, as at all times, verify the Okmulgee Genealogical Society for information. Many times they’ve old data not discovered anyplace else.

Second, and that is where I get a large majority of leads, search by way of Google Books (http://books.google.com/books) for any associated information. There have been several outdated Oil and Fuel Journals from the early 1900’s that mentioned Okmulgee oil fields/corporations. Most of those old journals include photos. If you could find the exact date that the corporate was started in Okmulgee, then they should have an image in that years journal.

Third, search the Google information archive (http://news.google.com/archivesearch). This brings up old newspapers/articles/court docket documents that were revealed beforehand. For example, go to that page and kind in “Okmulgee”, then click on “1900”, that may 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 are in search of.

Many occasions, particularly in the early 1900’s, things weren’t always as they appeared to be. Whereas searching for data on completely different articles, I’ve had to attempt a hundred other ways until I found what I used to be searching for.

Hopefully this helps, at least a bit of. I will keep a watch out for any data I can discover – one by no means knows when a new, fascinating story can develop.

I wish you one of the best!

Janice (Kinser) DeRamus 6 years in the past

I was raised on the “Old Barnsdal Refinery Property” South of Okmulgee. I’m trying to locate a picture of this Refinery. Does anybody 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 slightly information, but it surely was all misplaced through the move. I ran throughout her name a number of times while at the Okmulgee geneological middle although. I would suggest giving them a visit (or a name, if it’s too far away) they usually’d be able to let you know greater than I may.

Good luck with it!

harmonfam4 7 years ago

Do you may have any more data on Katie Fixico? I did a google search and found she was also referred to as Freeman, however could not discover another background or history.


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