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

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Historic Okmulgee: How Oil Tycoons Created one among Oklahoma’s Wealthiest Towns
Updated on October eleven, 2017 Eric Standridge moreContact Creator Okmulgee’s historical past is wealthy with both triumph and tragedy. From the rebirth of the Creek Indian and the various state changing decisions made in Creek Counsel House, to the tragedies of the great Depression, this collection will outline the key occasions that brought this small town nationwide prestige. Earlier than you depart, be sure to take a look at the other pages in the Okmulgee Historical past sequence.

Okmulgee Historical past 1910-1919: Oil Tycoons, Vaudville Performs, and a City on the Rise
Throughout this time, Okmulgee grew into it is personal. Gone had been the days when Okmulgee was known as Indian Territory, but slightly, it was now a bustling town filled with alternative. As it was all across the United States, Okmulgee was nonetheless a blend of outdated and new. New cars 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.

Day by day Life in Okmulgee 1910-1919
The town streets were busy with delivery wagons – ice wagons, little goat drawn wagons the traveling photographer had to take photos of youngsters, 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 fully equipped with a music box on a prop pole and a bit of monkey on a chain all dressed up in a crimson and gold swimsuit with a bit crimson cap.

Picnics and outings had been the order of the day. One young “social set” took bag and baggage, “together with the choicest edibles of the season and a colored cook to do the handbook labor” and headed out for dripping springs for a 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 sold to Katie Fixico, a wealthy Creek Indian, whose house has lengthy housed the restaurant known as “The Southern Mansion.”

Many individuals turned Oil tycoons, hitting large payoffs from local wells. Oil had modified the complexion of your entire country. Numerous fields had sprouted around Okmulgee. Okmulgee producers and Refining Company was organized in 1916. In Okmulgee alone there have been 9 firms which repaired or manufactured oil discipline tools.

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 revenue during this time and instances to come.

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

Poe-Hart gang ended its profession 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 might 28, he took half in the first American offensive of the battle at Cantigny. Lengthy was shot and killed by German snipers on May 30 – one among the primary casualties of the conflict.

William Howard Taft visits Okmulgee
Petroleum building accomplished

Okmulgee county courthouse completed.
Ladies’s suffrage approved

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

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

Stories of Okmulgee 1910-1919
In 1910, a brand new cheap technique to function a theater was launched in Okmulgee on June 4. It was a kind of forerunner of the drive-in theater, being roofless, however having four partitions. This sort of theater was called an “Air Dome”, and the one in Okmulgee was positioned on the west aspect of Morton Avenue throughout from the Council Home. Needless to say, showings have been held solely within the summer, and in good, clear weather.

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

The Second ground parlor was elaborately furnished in mahogany, carpeted in crimson, and boasted an Everett Grand Piano, while the higher rooms had been equipped with a bed, wardrobe, scorching and chilly water, and a panoramic view of the city.

Furnishings for the kitchen value $2,500.00, with chefs, bakers, and assistant cooks being brought 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 present site of the Dr. W.M. Haynes house. Taft slept in the southeast bedroom. It took a sturdy mattress, for Taft weighed 352 pounds on the time.

Ankle Watch Craze Reaches Okmulgee
The Ankle watch, the trend craze amongst society ladies 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 reasonably Okmulgee woman.

Sporting a new abbreviated skirt and a gold watch clasped about her left ankle, she boarded a automotive for lake Park yesterday to see the honest. The automotive was nicely full of different fair visitors.

Soon after she sat down the girl tilted her left foot forward and glanced down on the watch. So did the other 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 should go in Okmulgee stays to be seen. Judging from the experience of the lady yesterday the embarrassment of the fashion will be its best handicap.

Parkinson Gives Courtroom House Site
The courtroom house matter was given an awesome boost right now by the provide by Mr. Parkinson last evening of the site recognized because the Parkinson site to the county freed from price to be used as a site for the proposed new court docket house. The provide was tendered right now to the commissioners by agents of Mr. Parkinson. After all the commissioners have not acted upon the offer as yet. It is said except some other provide is made which is preferable, which isn’t thought to be possible, there may be no doubt that the site might be accepted. The lot is at the nook of Seminole and Seventh Street and is 140X150. It’s smaller than the Baker-Aleander lot, but it is claimed to be the exact measurement of the positioning on which the Tulsa courtroom house stands. Whereas the Tulsa site is mostly complained of as being too small, it is yet pointed out that our courtroom house will probably be not byconsiderable so massive a one as Tulsa’s. The site offer by Mr. Parkinson is considered simplifying the court home bond proposition greatly.

The primary funding for the Okmulgee County Court House 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 dealing with every of the four instructions. Plans had been changed, however, in favor of the present construction. The Courtroom Home was dedicated in 1918, two months after William Howard Taft visited Okmulgee.

The Orpheum Theater
The following information is from Particular due to Symco for his great analysis.

“The Orpheum opened Aug. 23, 1920. The opening image, called a photoplay at the moment, was “Eyes of Youth”, with Clara Kimball Younger. Additionally 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.

“Development started in 1919, which is the date on the cornerstone, but 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 top of the facade. CT, for Cook Theatre, is repeated on small terra shields over poster frames in the lobby, and is also on an oval shield at the top of the proscenium arch.

“Orpheum Vaudeville was featured, and inside two months of opening, Mr. Cook was using 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 name to the Orpheum, and installed an elaborate new double-sided electric signal with the name ‘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 inside the building.

“According to a retired stagehand, the principle stage curtain opened each vertically, and aspect-to-side, utilizing a curtain motor that flew. Conversion from stage to display may very well be executed in 45 seconds.

“Ownership of the theatre was separated from possession of the building, and Griffith Brothers Theatres, which developed into Griffith Amusement Co. after which into Video Impartial Theatres, bought the theatre, ca. 1924. Keith/Albee/Orpheum never owned it. The building was offered in tiny fractional pursuits 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 help of the Greek ambassador, to consolidate the fractured ownership.

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

“Video Theatres enclosed the balcony and transformed it into two theatres in 1974.
“As to architectural options which might be coated, occasionally a new treasure is discovered. natural gas price 1990 The latest discovery was two circular plaster embellishments within the plain portion of the ceiling that was over cheap seats within the higher balcony, and is now coated by a suspended ceiling.

“The stays of higher orchestra box seats were discovered behind false plaster walls at the side of the stage. The false partitions had 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.
Ownership: Independent
Function: In industrial operation, playing first-run movies

Click on here to read 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 at all times love learning extra about it. I certainly loved the materials of this text. Although I moved away after grade faculty, in my grownup life I selected to locate 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 ago
Does anyone know which architect designed the golf course on the Okmulgee Nation Membership I 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 original 9 hole format, it looked like a Perry Maxwell but analysis doesn’t show this.

AuthorEric Standridge 6 years in the past from Wister, Oklahoma

I did a short search via what I should see if I might discover anything, however didn’t provide you with something yet.

To verify, the correct spelling of the company is “Barnsdal” and not “Barnsdall” I was capable of finding references to both in Okmulgee, however I’m not sure if it’s a mis-spelling or not. So as to find outdated pictures, I will need to know extra about the corporate. I discovered references to “Barnsdal Oil Company”, is this the proper title of the corporate Additionally, you probably have any NILS(Nationwide Built-in Land System) data then that may help.

I found a couple links that may help:… (Search the page for “Barnsdal” (Seek for similar – consists of presidents names that supplied assistance to overseas oil wells. Many instances, by looking the persons name for images you possibly can come across photographs of locations they visited/labored)

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

A pair resources to try:
First, as at all times, test the Okmulgee Genealogical Society for info. Many occasions they’ve old records not found anywhere else.

Second, and that is where I get a large majority of leads, search by way of Google Books ( for any associated info. There were a number of previous Oil and Gasoline Journals from the early 1900’s that mentioned Okmulgee oil fields/corporations. Most of those outdated journals include footage. If you’ll find the exact date that the company was started in Okmulgee, then they should have a picture in that years journal.

Third, search the Google news archive ( This brings up old newspapers/articles/court docket documents that were revealed beforehand. For instance, go to that page and sort in “Okmulgee”, then click on on “1900”, that may zoom in to the years 1900 to 1920. Click on again on one of the years and that will zoom in further. Many times, these outdated archives hold the important thing to discovering what you are in search of.

Many times, particularly within the early 1900’s, issues weren’t at all times as they appeared to be. Whereas searching for information on totally different articles, I’ve had to attempt 100 alternative ways until I discovered what I used to be on the lookout for.

Hopefully this helps, at least a bit of. I will keep an eye fixed out for any information I can find – one never knows when a brand new, fascinating story can develop.

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

I was raised on the “Old Barnsdal Refinery Property” South of Okmulgee. I’m trying to find a picture of this Refinery. Does anyone have a picture of it, or know of someone who might need one. Thanks

AuthorEric Standridge 7 years ago from Wister, Oklahoma
Harmon, I did have a little data, however it was all misplaced during the transfer. I ran throughout her identify a number of occasions while on the Okmulgee geneological heart although. I would suggest giving them a go to (or a name, if it’s too far away) and 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 extra info on Katie Fixico I did a google search and found she was additionally known as Freeman, but couldn’t discover any other background or natural gas price 1990 historical past.


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