Early Oklahoma in the archives

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Here are some interesting publications relating to early-day Oklahoma on the websites of the National Archives and the Internet Archive.

The National Archives has an online sample of documents from their Center for Legislative Archives about Oklahoma's path to statehood including:

  • Survey Map of Oklahoma and Indian Territory showing distances, municipal towns, and post offices, published by George Cram, 1902
  • President Benjamin Harrison's nomination of George Washington Steele to be the first Governor of the Oklahoma Territory, May 8, 1890
  • First page of the Joint Statehood Convention, Oklahoma City, July 12, 1905
  • HR 12707, A Bill to enabling the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government, January 20, 1906
  • Pages from a pamphlet called "Souvenirs of Tulsa - Indian Territory," 1906, which was submitted to Congress as evidence of Oklahoma's readiness to be admitted to the Union
  • Telegram from T.H. Marlin of the Indian Territory to Joe Cannon, March 13, 1906
  • Letter from Edwin Meeker of the Oklahoma Territory begging the House to concur with the Senate's amendment to the statehood bill, March 13, 1906
  • Engrossed HR 12707, An act to enable the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government, first page, June 16, 1906
  • Engrossed HR 12707, An act to enable the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government, endorsement, July 16, 1906

The main page has thumbnails of each item, which you can click on to see an enlarged view. You can also download a high-resolution scan of each item. (For example, the full-res version of the map is 68 MB.)

The Internet Archive offers a 1916 book, now in the public domain, called Men of affairs and representative institutions of Oklahoma. It comes from the collection of the New York Public Library. It features photographs and descriptions of important Oklahomans of the day, with an emphasis on Tulsa. You can view the book online, or download it as a PDF and in various other formats. I found it while looking for information about Tulsa's streetcar companies.

Cyrus Stevens Avery, who would become the father of Route 66, is one of the featured "men of affairs":

oil producer and farmer, Tulsa, born in Stevensville, Pa., on August 30, 1871, son of James A. and Ruie Avery. Educated in the public schools. Received A. B. degree from William Jewel College, Liberty, Mo. He is a Democrat and has served two terms as commissioner of Tulsa county. Is a Mason of high degree, being a member of the Consistory and Mystic Shrine. Member Board Directors Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa, and president Good Roads Association of the State.

Other Tulsa notables include Glenn T. Braden, founder of ONG and namesake of Braden Park, Patrick J. Hurley, Robert Galbreath (the man who discovered the Glenn Pool), and Harry Sinclair. Pat Malloy, Sr., is in the book -- former county attorney, Notre Dame graduate: "Mr. Malloy was left an orphan at the age of 14, a cyclone at Salix, Iowa, having killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister."

Toward the back of the book there's a photo and description of the late lamented Manhattan Court apartments at 11th & Cincinnati:

On the opposite page is shown Manhattan Court, Cincinnati avenue and Eleventh street, owned by David J. Kelley, of the Manhattan Oil Co., Tulsa, the most beautiful and most exclusive apartments in the Southwest. The suites are three rooms and bath; interior trimmed in mahogany; quarter-sawed oak floors throughout; specially designed electric light fixtures; building scientifically ventilated; construction, asbestos and fire-proof stucco. Manhattan Court has its own pure water system connected with each apartment for all purposes; instantaneous hot water; steam heat; all kitchens open on beautiful interior court with its fountain of pure water and lawn; under personal direction of superintendent, always on premises; iron grill entrance for trades people in rear, adding to the exclusiveness and privacy of the occupants; special store room for each occupant in the basement; kitchens completely furnished with gas range, pantry kitchen table, sanitary refrigerator, connected with air vents and flush drains; garbage container furnished; garbage and waste burned; container thoroughly cleaned daily; each department connected with vacuum cleaner, work done by superintendent; sanitary bed in each apartment; large closet with modern appliances for clothing; bathrooms tiled and white enamel; recessed tubs, porcelain fixtures, plate-glass mirrors, medicine cabinets recessed in the walls; adjustable head shower baths; all bath rooms fitted with white enamel accessories: highest standard of plumbing and modern fixtures with latest sanitary appliances of approved design.

Manhattan Court occupies a convenient and attractive site in Tulsa. The artistic and attractive exterior of this structure, combined with its modern, luxurious and convenient interior, offers a must desirable residence for discriminating and appreciative people who understand that it is not how much money one spends, but what
is received in return for such expenditure.

Manhattan Court is not excelled by any similar structure in the United States and it is with some degree of pleasure that the owner has been privileged to contribute his share in this manner to the welfare and upbuilding of Tulsa. These flats are all rented a year ahead, and have a large waiting list.

Other back pages are devoted to a four story building called the Oklahoma Hospital, somewhere in Tulsa, the Tulsa Pathological Lab at 3rd and Cheyenne, the R. T. Daniel Bldg at 3rd & Boston, Boswell's Jewelry, the Gallais Building (now known as the Kennedy Building), the seven-story Brady Hotel, the three-story Overton Grocery.

Construction in the new Maple Ridge neighborhood is highlighted in a two-page ad for Stebbins, Eisenbach, Tucker, and Darnell, General Agents. They project that Tulsa will soon pass Oklahoma City. "[H]ere is to be the great city between the Missouri river and the Gulf coast...."

One page is devoted to Oklahoma City's extensive streetcar and interurban system. Nowata's Savoy Hotel and Mineral Baths gets a page. Several two-page spreads are devoted to various Oklahoma oil refineries. There were once many more in Tulsa besides the two that remain.

Photos of the original Kendall College building and Kemp Hall (the girls' dorm) will make you mad at TU all over again:

The present college is located at College Hill, and has a thirty-acre campus with five college buildings. Three hundred and fifty young men and women can be accommodated. Kendall likes Tulsa and Tulsa likes Kendall. The city has given the ground and about $200,000. The college work consists of nine departments, instructed by a University-trained corps of twenty-five men and women. The course is four years, leading to classical degrees, academic course of four years, corresponding to first-class high school courses. Also special courses in music, art, expression, domestic science, oil geology, business a'nd normal training. The dormitory facilities are unexcelled in the state. Every room is an outside room, and the chapel seats 550. A 55,000 pipe organ was installed in 1915. The gymnasium is one of the best in the state: building 65x90 feet, with a basket ball court. 40x70 feet. Visitors' gallery that will seat 500, bowling alleys, dressing rooms, equipped with lockers and shower baths.

Gone, every last bit of it.

The big surprise was seeing Moman Pruiett in this august and respectable company: "Prior to April 15, 1916, Mr. Pruiett had defended 346 men and women charged with murder; and he now has on his docket thirty-nine similar cases. In addition to this record, he has assisted in the prosecution of 37 charged with murder; and has been equally successful as a prosecutor. It is said that he had defended and caused to be acquitted more men for murder than any other lawyer in the world, and he has not yet been practicing twenty years." I didn't expect that he'd be respectable enough for inclusion. A recent biography of Pruiett is titled He Made It Safe to Murder.

A search of the Internet Archive for Tulsa turns up quite a lot of video of city council meetings, public forums, and other events by David Schuttler. It's interesting to realize that the work of this enterprising blogger/videographer is better preserved and more accessible to the public than the news coverage of local TV stations. Many sermons by Dennis Gunderson of Tulsa's Grace Bible Church turn up as well.

MORE to come: Jack Blair of the Tulsa City Council staff has sent along a number of city documents about our streetcar companies -- very interesting stuff that I hope to get posted in the not too distant future.

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3 Comments

Yogi Author Profile Page said:

Thanks for the links and commentary. I love this kind of stuff.

LeviA Author Profile Page said:

This article is good. I’ve read short history of how is the situation of early Oklahoma. I’ve learned that the Overton Grocery is composed of three-story and it is one of the big groceries in town. Nowadays some groceries give loyalty cards. Did you hear about a Ring Thing? It is a service that combines the barcodes of all your grocery or other loyalty cards into one. It features separate bar codes that you can use as an all in one rewards card, and you don't even need a cash advance to get one – it's free! If you want to save money at Safeway, Albertsons, and Best Buy all at once, this might be the ticket for you. It's especially handy if you don't want to worry about needing a cash advance for groceries if you have a Ring Thing. This Ring Thing will surely help us in buying our necessities especially now that our president still doesn’t establish the solidity of our economy.

Mark Hawkins said:

Check out the Oklahoma Chronicles. Full of remarks and history about early Oklahoma. Taken from stories told by individuals in the early 1900's.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 10, 2009 9:43 PM.

They'll never stop begging was the previous entry in this blog.

A New Zealander's fond memories of Tulsa is the next entry in this blog.

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