Real estate notes from The Oklahoman for Jan. 11, 2020
Oklahoma locations added to the National Register
The Holy City of the Wichitas Historic District, four sites in Oklahoma City, and one in Ponca City are the newest listings in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Holy City of the Wichitas, constructed in 1934-1936, was listed for its significance associated with the work relief and public works programs of the New Deal in Oklahoma and its importance as a public recreational area. The district is also an outstanding example of National Park Service Rustic architecture and landscape design as applied to a federal wildlife refuge. The Holy City has been in continuous use on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge site since 1935.
Other new listings are:
• Harmony School, 1537 NE 24, was listed for its role in education and ethnic heritage and its Classical Revival style. The school, first placed into service in 1928, was built in three phases. The first two were designed by the architectural firm of Layton, Hicks and Forsyth, and it reached its current form around 1949 with an auditorium wing designed by architects Bailey and Bozalis. Harmony Elementary School originally served white students only.
Located in a transitional neighborhood, it was one of the first elementary schools in Oklahoma City to be the subject of a challenge to the Oklahoma City Board of Education’s discriminatory transfer policies. The transfer policy benefited white students by allowing them to transfer to a predominately white school outside of their district, but denied African American students the same transfer options. The initial challenge was unsuccessful but helped set the stage for future legal actions that led to desegregation of the public school system.
• The Oklahoma National Guard Armory, 200 NE 23, listed for its role in military history and economics as well as for its Streamline Moderne style. Commonly understood as a federal New Deal project, the armory actually was part of Gov. Ernest Whitworth Marland’s “Little New Deal” and was financed solely by state funds. Completed in 1938, the Oklahoma National Guard Armory was a training site for the 45th Infantry Division and a public meeting space.
• The State Highway Department Testing Laboratory, 2311 N Central Ave., was listed for its role in politics and government and its Art Deco style. The laboratory played a key role in the evolution of the State Highway Department as a centralized authority for the construction, maintenance and administration of state roads and bridges. It was described as one of the most modern facilities of its time upon completion in 1934.
• Iroquois Apartments, 900 NW 13, was listed for its role in community planning and development and for its Tudor Revival style. The building, constructed by W.J. Hoover in 1928, is among 25 “brick box” apartment buildings constructed by various developers between 1910 and 1935 in what is now Midtown. Iroquois Apartments historically catered to single, working-class tenants, with Hoover advertising affordable rents and proximity to an interurban railway station.
• The Ponca City Municipal Airport Hangar, 2231 Waverly St. in Ponca City, was listed for its significance in economics and military history. Construction in 1930-1932 symbolized the strong economic relationship between burgeoning aviation and oil. The city acquired the land but managers and engineers from Continental Oil Co. (Conoco) oversaw construction. In 1941 the hangar was part of British Flying Training School No. 6, overseen by Darr School of Aeronautics, which trained more than 1,000 British airmen and more than 100 American aviators for military service in World War II.