April 2014 Archives

Emerson Elementary School, north of downtown Tulsa at 909 N. Boston Ave, will celebrate its centennial this Friday night, May 2, 2014, from 6 to 8 pm. Dinner will be provided by Elote and music by Muskogee's Wild Card Band. There will be a silent auction to benefit the school's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiative. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 11-17. Visit Emerson's "purchases and donations" page to buy tickets and centennial T-shirts.

In researching a story about the neighborhood south of Emerson, I've enjoyed talking to a number of alumni who attended the school in the '40s and '50s and getting to know the school's long and fascinating history.

Emerson School dates its birth from its authorization in Tulsa's 1913 school bond issue. A April 14, 1915, story, headlined "BUILD NEW SCHOOL ON THE NORTH SIDE: Buy Block In Kirkpatrick Heights for a Unit Building," reported:

Amicably settling the slight dissention [sic] which recently arose between the North Side Improvement association and the city school board, it was decided at the meeting of the school board last night to purchase a block of ground in the Kirkpatrick Heights addition for a new school site and build an entirely new unit school at that place. In view of the unsafe condition of the Sequoyah school, for a large number of children, it was decided to diminish the attendance there as well as repair the building and render it safe as far as possible.

It is thought probable that the Osage school, which is a grade school, would never likely grow very much, shall be made the location for the manual training and domestic science departments for the more advanced students of the north side. This will prevent their having to go as far south as the central high school or as far east as Washington school to take that course of study. Members of the North Side Improvement association present expressed themselves before the board and privately as being entirely satisfied with the arrangement.

(On the same page, a box score and news story announced that the Tulsa World-Democrat newsboys baseball team, the Newsies, had defeated Bellview (Lincoln) elementary school 7-6 and Horace Mann elementary 10-2 in a Sunday afternoon double header. For more information about the concerns of this period for school building soundness and safety, see "'JITNEY' SCHOOLS ARE 'ALL BLOWED UP'" in the September 8, 1915, Tulsa World.)

A month later, on May 19, 1915, the school board approved, with one member dissenting, the purchase of a block in Kirkpatrick Heights and rejecting the Mary Davis site. (That may be a reference to the Davis-Wilson Heights Addition, on the east side of Cincinnati at the top of Sunset Hill. The same page discusses work on the Detention Home and has an ad from the Tulsa Theatre Managers Association about a wildcat strike by union musicians, stagehands and operators.)

A Sunday, September 19, 1915, news story about the reopening of the school year the following day announces that enrollment for the new school in Kirkpatrick Heights would be held at Osage (Fairview west of Denver) and Sequoyah Schools (Boston and Easton) "A separation of the district will be made, as soon as the building is completed." A January 4, 1916, story reports that Emerson school "will be occupied tomorrow," with only one further school from the last bond issue to be completed (Riverview).

Tulsa Emerson elementary school, original building

NOTE: It appears that the Oklahoma Historical Society had the photo backwards. Based on aerial photos, the auditorium was on King Street, second building east of Boston. When reversed, the photo matches the slope of the land.

Emerson has had two incarnations. Its first was as a campus on the east side of Boston between King and Latimer Streets, occupying about half a block and built according to the "unit plan" devised by school board member H. O. McClure, namesake of a Tulsa park and school. Each unit consisted of two classrooms with its own restrooms and cloakrooms. As enrollment grew, additional units would be built, gradually enclosing an inner courtyard. One two-story building housed the auditorium and school offices. The plan was innovative and received national attention. While many unit plan schools, including Emerson, have been demolished, a few remain, and most have been put to other purposes: Lee School at 21st and Cincinnati, Irving School at 1st and Nogales, Pershing School in Owen Park neighborhood, and Lincoln School at 15th and Peoria. In some cases, like Lincoln and Irving, units were constructed around multistory school buildings.

The courtyard wasn't big enough for baseball; little league games were played several blocks north at Cheyenne Playground.

Tulsa school unit plan conceptual drawing

Prior to school desegregation, Emerson was a school for whites only. After Brown v. Board of Education, starting in 1955, a few African-American children enrolled in the school. Bill Leighty, who was an Emerson student at the time, remembers that the change was uneventful and the new students were welcomed. Over the next 20 years, changing school boundaries and changing residential patterns (influenced in part by the urban renewal demolition of Greenwood and the displacement of its residents) resulted in Emerson becoming a majority African-American school; 87.4% in the 1975-1976 school year.

The second, modern incarnation of Emerson began in 1975, as part of a plan to desegregate schools without forced busing. Tulsa proposed, and the Federal judge accepted, a plan to build a new Emerson School as a magnet, to complement new magnet schools at Carver Middle School and Washington High School. Charles Johnson Elementary, located in the old Washington building in the Greenwood district, and which had been one of the segregated "separate" schools for African-Americans, would be closed and merged into Emerson. Longfellow, at 6th and Peoria, had been closed and merged into Johnson for the 1972-1973, to try to create a balanced student body.

Building this superschool involved the creation of a superblock, demolishing the original buildings and the houses on the rest of its block, the block to the south, and two blocks to the west. Forty-six single-family homes, three duplexes, seven apartment buildings, and a small retail building at 14 E. Latimer (home in in 1957 to Tulsa Nozzle and Valve, in 1967 to the Edge of Night beer joint) were removed. King Street was closed between Cincinnati Ave (now MLKJr Blvd) and Main, and Boston Ave was closed between Jasper Street and Latimer Street.

The new Emerson, which opened its doors in 1976, had a brand new, modern building, innovative curriculum offerings, and highly-credentialed teachers. From a 1977 report to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights about the desegregation of Tulsa schools:

On April 24, 1975, District Judge Frederick Daugherty issued an order with regard to Emerson Elementary School. The order approved the school districts request to build a new elementary school based on an expansion of the existing Emerson campus. Student assignment changes were made by consolidating the enrollments of Emerson and Johnson Elementary Schools. The court stipulated that the new Emerson must maintain a black enrollment of not more than 50 percent. The school district, expanding on its previous successes at Burroughs Little School, Carver Middle School, and Washington High School, sought voluntary white student enrollment. The court had made it quite clear that, if the voluntary approach did not work, the district would have to take other action to maintain the prescribed racial enrollment in the new school.

The new Emerson Elementary, which opened in September 1976, formed the final link in a complete K-12 alternative school program where students can experience individualized, continuous-progress learning in a racially desegregated environment. The total enrollment of 700, with a 50-50 black-white ratio, consists of approximately 500 neighborhood children and an additional 200 white student volunteers. Children in grades K-3 are located in a special area with ready access to other activity areas. The curriculum emphasizes communication skills and mathematics taught by a team of teachers. Enrichment experiences include music, drama, and creative arts at this level.
Children in grades three through six have three time blocks of 110 minutes each allotted to communication skills, math-science, physical education, and humanities. Additional instruction in music is available on the violin, guitar, and piano beginning at the third-grade level.

Although the main emphasis is on basic skills geared for individualized instruction, the curriculum stresses a humanities program. Children at Emerson have access to a piano laboratory, a potter's wheel, instruction in dance and drama, and a miniature television studio where they can produce their own shows. The curriculum features a creative learning center where children may engage in enrichment experiences in the arts, crafts, plant growing, and creative writing. This component of the curriculum is closely articulated with the exploratory curriculum at Carver Middle School so that Emerson students can continue their entire public school education through similar programs at Carver Middle School and Washington High School.

Today, Emerson is the neighborhood school for a three-square mile area that includes all of downtown within the Inner Dispersal Loop plus an area bounded by the L. L. Tisdale Expressway, Peoria Avenue, Pine Street and 11th Street. It feeds into Central Junior and Senior high schools. At the start of this academic year, Emerson had 311 students and 23 teachers. 95% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. 70% of the students are African-American. Student attendance rate last year was 94%.

There's one more reason for Oklahomans to celebrate April 22.

schoolhouse_rock-bill-as-law.pngLast Tuesday, on the 125th anniversary of the Oklahoma 1889 Land Run, Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2366, the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, giving Oklahomans valuable protection in the exercise of their First Amendment rights. From the bill:

The purpose of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act is to encourage and safeguard the constitutional rights of persons to petition, speak freely, associate freely and otherwise participate in government to the maximum extent permitted by law and, at the same time, protect the rights of a person to file meritorious lawsuits for demonstrable injury.

HB2366 was authored by State Rep. John Trebilcock (R-Broken Arrow) and is a fitting capstone to his twelve years in the Legislature. State Sen. Rick Brinkley (R-Owasso) shepherded the bill through the Senate. Reps. Mike Turner (R-Edmond), Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), and Jadine Nollan (R-Sand Springs) joined as co-authors. The bill was approved unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee (14-0), the whole House (94-0, with 7 excused), the Senate Judiciary Committee (6-0), and the whole Senate (42-0, with 6 excused).

When the bill goes into effect on November 1, Oklahoma will have one of the strongest anti-SLAPP laws in the nation.

Ken White, a California 1st Amendment attorney, ably sums up the case for anti-SLAPP bills like HB2366:

The bottom line -- without an anti-SLAPP statute, a malicious litigant can often inflict substantial expense and hardship upon someone in retaliation for their speech, even if their claim lacks merit, and do so with relative impunity.

Some key points:

1. In a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a plaintiff seeks to punish the defendant for expressing his opinion or stating a fact he doesn't like aired publicly by subjecting him to a costly legal process. The SLAPP plaintiff can achieve his objective -- silencing criticism -- even if he ultimately loses his case in court. The cost in time, money, and anxiety of defending the lawsuit will deter the defendant from future criticism and may also deter others from speaking out.

2. SLAPPs not only threaten political bloggers and newspaper reporters, but consumer watchdog groups and reviewers on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor have been hit with SLAPPs as well.

3. The U. S. Supreme Court has issued many decisions protecting 1st Amendment rights by restricting lawsuits against written and spoken expression. For example, proving libel against a public figure requires that you prove the defendant knew he was lying or had a reckless disregard for the truth. But in practical application these protections come into play only at the end of the process, when the judge makes his ruling, or perhaps not until the case is heard by an appellate court. Even if the defendant prevails in the end, the damage has been done.

4. SLAPPs hit hardest when the SLAPPer has ample resources to sustain the prosecution of a lawsuit but the SLAPPee has to choose between (A) possible bankruptcy to defend the suit all the way to the end or (B) an undesirable settlement, which may include a promise to silence his criticism.

In response to this situation, Oklahoma has now become one of a number of states that have passed strong anti-SLAPP legislation to shift consideration of First Amendment protections to the beginning of the process and to deter malicious lawsuits by imposing costs on the plaintiff if the suit is dismissed. An effective anti-SLAPP law acts as an equalizer to ensure that you don't need a vast financial reserve in order to exercise your First Amendment rights, but it still provides for redress of valid defamation claims.

What the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act does:

The Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act authorizes a special motion to dismiss to be filed and heard early in the process. The motion must be filed within 60 days after the suit is filed, and discovery is suspended until the court rules on the motion. The hearing on the motion must be held within 60 days of its filing, (The time may be extended to 90 or 120 days under special circumstances, but 120 days is the limit.) After the hearing, the court has 30 days to rule.

The defendant must first establish that the suit is based on, relates to, or is in response to his exercise of his freedom of speech, freedom to petition government, or freedom of association.

In response, the plaintiff must establish "by clear and specific evidence a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim in question." The defendant can obtain dismissal of the case if he can establish "by a preponderance of the evidence each essential element of a valid defense" to the plaintiff's claim.

What makes this different from an ordinary motion to dismiss is that the judge can go beyond "the four corners" of the complaint. The court doesn't have to take the plaintiff's charges at face value.

If the court dismisses the case, the court is required to award court costs, reasonable attorney fees, and legal expenses as well as sanctions "sufficient to deter the party who brought the legal action from bringing similar actions."

If the motion to dismiss is "frivolous or solely intended to delay," the court may award costs to the plaintiff.

Either side can appeal the court's ruling, and the appeal must be expedited; otherwise the benefit of an early motion would be neutralized.

Who is helped by the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act?

  • Newspapers, radio and TV stations, and news bloggers, particularly smaller news outlets which may not have the resources to fight lawsuits.
  • Participants in online forums who express their opinions about public issues.
  • Consumer protection organizations that rate businesses. The Texas law has been used successfully several times to block SLAPPs brought against such organizations by businesses angry about negative ratings.
  • Consumers who register their opinions about experiences with local businesses on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor, and Angie's List.
  • The general public, who enjoy a greater flow of information about matters of public interest because the groups listed above are not intimidated by the threat of SLAPPs.

Some history:

Previously, Oklahoma had a very limited anti-SLAPP provision, covering only libel, but not other causes of action used in SLAPPs (like "tortious interference" or "conspiracy"), and covering only speech related to government proceedings. Oklahoma's law lacked any form of early review that could spare an unjustly charged defendant from a lengthy and costly process. It also lacked any mandatory provision to require the plaintiff in an unwarranted lawsuit to make the defendant whole for the costs of his legal defense. (Laura Long detailed the deficiencies of Oklahoma's statute in the Summer 2007 issue of the Oklahoma Law Review.)

In 1995, two trial lawyers filed suit in Creek County against members of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, a group attempting to launch a tort reform initiative petition. The suit alleged defamation, tortious interference with business relations, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy because CALA criticized trial lawyers as a profession in their letter soliciting steering committee members. The lawsuit dragged on for three years and went all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. You can read a summary of the case here and the State Supreme Court decision here

The issue caught my attention way back in 2005 as one of a number of potential legal hazards for political bloggers. In 2006 and 2007, there were news stories about certain Islamic groups using libel suits to silence criticism or investigation of ties to hate groups and terrorist-supporting organizations, and KFAQ had to deal with a defamation suit from a city councilor.

In 2008, neighborhood activists opposed to the 10 N. Yale project faced legal threats from the Mental Health Association of Tulsa and Councilor Jason Eric Gomez. SLAPPs have even been used to target historic preservationists, simply for participating in the public process for approving or denying demolition permits or zoning changes.

In 2009, State Sen. Tom Adelson filed a bill (SB742) to add anti-SLAPP protections modeled after California's law, but the bill died without a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

In 2012, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity launched the "Protect Your Voice" initiative to push for legislation giving citizen journalists the same protections as traditional journalists in mainstream media.

TrebilcockPortrait_Lrg.jpgLast fall, during the legislature's pre-filing period, Rep. Trebilcock put out a request for suggestions for legislation he should author during his final session in the legislature. I suggested anti-SLAPP legislation, and that was one of the bills he decided to pursue. I passed the research I had done on to Rep. Trebilcock, and he took it from there. Not wanting any animus toward me (particularly over my National Popular Vote coverage earlier in the session) to get in the way of a good idea, I kept a low profile on the bill, although I was happy to have the opportunity to answer questions from a few legislators.

The Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act is not the only landmark legislation Rep. Trebilcock has authored in his final session. HB2372, which protects the privacy of an employee's social media accounts from inspection by an employer, has passed the House and Senate unanimously, but in different versions. The Senate amendments are now pending in the House.

The Internet has created unprecedented opportunities for ordinary Oklahomans to make their voices heard. Thanks to Rep. Trebilcock, Sen. Brinkley, legislators of both houses and parties, the chairmen and members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and Gov. Fallin, they can now make responsible use of those opportunities for the betterment of our cities, counties, school districts, and state, secure in their protection from malicious lawsuits.

From p. 3 of the August 23, 1922, edition of the Tulsa Daily World:

A building permit was issued Tuesday to the Jewish Institute, which is to be located at 629 N. Main street. The plans call for a one-story building and basement, with a large assembly hall. The cost is estimated at $20,000.

From p. 3 of the August 27, 1922, edition of the Tulsa Daily World:

The cornerstone of the Jewish Institute of Tulsa will be laid on Tuesday evening, August 28, at 8 o'clock at 627 North Main. This institution, when completed, will be equipped with a spacious hall for dances and mass meetings, club rooms, reading rooms, library, chess room and various facilities for games, a kitchen for the catering for Jewish social affairs, and other attractions that will make the Jewish Institute a center of Jewish social life.

Here's a description of the institute's location and purpose from the article about Tulsa by the Institute of Southern Jewish Life:

Members of B'nai Emunah built a Jewish Institute, designed to be a community center, in 1922. Reflecting the scattered nature of the Orthodox synagogue's membership, the Jewish Institute was 1.5 miles away from B'nai Emunah. Nevertheless, the Orthodox synagogue's Talmud Torah school started meeting at the Institute, a vast improvement over the shul's basement, where they had been meeting. The B'nai Emunah sisterhood, which had been founded in 1921, held their meetings and functions at the Institute. The heyday of the Jewish Institute was short-lived, as financial troubles forced it to close in 1930. The building was still used by Jewish groups occasionally. Later in the 1930s, member of B'nai Emunah who lived on the northside met there for high holiday services since they lived too far from the synagogue to walk there. Abe Borofsky and Harold Smith were the lay leaders for the northside group.

I believe this is a photo of the Jewish Institute. The synagogues in Tulsa at the time were B'nai Emunah, a two-story building at 10th and Cheyenne, and Temple Israel, at 14th and Cheyenne. Both two-story buildings were topped by domes. This building better fits the newspaper's description of the Jewish Institute.

BFC-A1624-Tulsa_Jewish_Institute-627_N_Main.jpg

The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.

Recently U. S. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) made news for his statement that the military service of his Republican opponent, U. S. Rep. Tom Cotton, has given Cotton "a sense of entitlement" to take a seat in the Senate. Cotton, an Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, has rebutted Pryor with a lighthearted ad featuring the man whose job it was to drill any sense of entitlement out of him -- his drill sergeant:

Matt K. Lewis, writing in the Daily Caller, says that Pryor's "sense of entitlement" comment was a muffed attempt at forwarding his campaign's message that Cotton is too ambitious for Arkansas. The "too ambitious" gambit follows an attempt to knock Cotton down by saying that his conservative voting record was reckless and irresponsible -- a message that failed to resonate with Arkansas voters.

Cotton is a graduate of Harvard, and Harvard Law School -- and he worked as a management consultant in Washington for McKinsey & Co. These are all very impressive credentials, but they are presumably outside the experience of most Arkansans. Pryor would have to try to turn McKinsey & Co. into Cotton's Bain Capital.

The good news for Cotton is that the sixth generation Arkansan actually looks and sounds like an Arkansan. The attacks on McKinsey have (so far) failed to resonate.

But Pryor still had something to work with. In order for a narrative to work, it has to ring true, and having met Cotton several times, it's fair to say he does carry himself with an air of superiority that might not play well in Arkansas....

Grasping at straws, however, Team Pryor must have seen this trace of arrogance (a prerequisite for a one-term Congressman daring to challenge a sitting U.S. Senator and heir to a local political dynasty!) as a lifeline. Presumably, voters who would meet Cotton on the trail would have this sense reinforced by his demeanor.

This would help explain the anti-Cotton micro site called "Ambitious Tom."

Mark Pryor is not someone who should talk about another person's sense of entitlement. He holds the Senate seat that his daddy, also a former governor, used to hold.

With few serious challenges to Republican elected officials in our state, Oklahoma conservatives won't have much to keep them busy this fall, but just across the state line they could help Republicans take control of the U. S. Senate by replacing an entitled princeling with an intelligent, accomplished conservative.

The Tulsa Daily World and the Tulsa Democrat both ran front page stories about Congress authorizing President Wilson to use the Armed Forces to intervene in Mexico.

The World's front page was almost entirely devoted to the impending Mexico invasion. Above the masthead, a red banner headline read "LAND MARINES 48 HOURS." The lead story announced "WILL SEIZE CUSTOM HOUSES AT TAMPICO AND VERA CRUZ WED." The only interruption was a "WARNING!" in the bottom center of the front page that the rival Democrat was producing a cheap imitation of the World's pink-paper special 6 p.m. sports edition with all the baseball scores.

The Whirled had the local angle, with a story about men across the state wiring and telephoning the Oklahoma National Guard's adjutant general to volunteer to fight in Mexico, and one special volunteer who offered to organize a special unit for any expedition:

Tulsa came to the front in the Mexican crisis last night when "Geenral" [sic] Tate Brady wired Senator [Thomas] Gore, asking for authority to raise a regiment of Indian cavalry volunteers to serve should war break out with Mexico. His telegram follows:

"Senator Thomas P. Gore, Washington:

"The first man to lay down his life on Cuban soil for flag and country was Milo Hendrix, an Indian boy. In the great war between the states, the Indian people sent their full quota to both northern and southern armies. No soldiers were braver. They are specially qualified for duty in the mountains of Mexico. Proud of being a Cherokee citizen, I ask the president through you, if volunteers are called for, for the privilege of organizing a regiment of Indian cavalry for duty at the front.

(Signed) "TATE BRADY"

(The Democrat had Brady's letter on p. 10, the back page of this addition.)

Page 2 of the World announced movies every evening in the 1,200 capacity "airdome" at the Sand Springs Park. On page 4, we learn that the Tulsa baseball club in the Western Association is looking for a new name and will pay $10 in "real money" to the person who makes the winning suggestion. "'Oilers' is too common, as several teams in past years have had that moniker." Page 4 also has another tribute to Tate Brady, this time for his business acumen in moving his dry goods store from the a leased space on the south side to his Brady Hotel just north of the Frisco tracks. "Last year he retailed nearly ninety-one thousand dollars for cash and this year so far has been 44 per cent over last."

On the same page, The New Fashion Store at 112 E. 2nd Street cashes in on war fever with a quarter-page ad headlined:

WAR DECLARED
ON RETAIL PRICES IN TULSA

(They bought a full-page ad in the Democrat, p. 8, with the same headline.)

According to a Santa Fe ad on p. 7, you can take Train 202 out of Tulsa at 8 a.m., arrive in Kansas City at 5:15 p.m., take in dinner and a show, then catch the Oil Flyer at 2:30 a.m. (but sleepers are available at 11:30 p.m.), arriving back in Tulsa at 11:30 a.m. A caricature of the dapper "University Four" announces their upcoming show, "A Bit of Harmony" at the Lyric Theater.

tulsa_world-19140421-University_Four_Barbershop.png

The Democrat devoted only three of its seven front-page columns to the Mexico story. The big local story was preparations to send a delegation of Tulsans to the United Confederate Veterans convention in Jacksonville, Fla., to try to land the 1915 convention for Tulsa. A delegation of 200 men would take a special train to Jacksonville, over the southern route through Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Montgomery. In the two weeks before the UCV convention, 5,000 booklets about Tulsa, featuring a photo of the new convention hall, would be distributed in "the larger cities of the south."

A big chunk of the Democrat's front page is devoted to a sort of Socratic dialogue (headlined "Cloistered Conversations") between a Mr. Hymn and a Mr. Rockefeller concerning the latter's monopolistic oil pricing practices and the possibility of a shutdown of Oklahoma drilling in response to a decline in the price of oil. Page 2 has more on that topic, and a story about Oklahoma's desire to purchase unplatted islands and lands in the bed of the Arkansas River from the Department of the Interior. The question hinges in part on the navigability of the river. Another lengthy feature about Standard Oil's methods is on p. 4.

Page 3 of the Democrat has a big display ad decrying the folly of paying $30 a month or more in rent when you could instead by a new home in Crosbie Heights Addition, served by two streetcar lines, a mere 10 blocks from "down town," where "the scenery is splendid, the air is pure and free from the dirt and grime of the congested district of down town. In such location the children and wife will find health and happiness during the hot summer months. The altitude is such that you will find it coll during the hot nights of the coming summer."

tulsa_democrat-19140421-Crosbie_Heights.png

Speaking of streetcars, the same page announces that the Tulsa Street Railway will install a new switch on North Cheyenne Avenue, enabling more cars and more frequent service -- every seven minutes -- and the possibility of an extension of the North Main Street line. Meanwhile, the new line to the Bellview addition (3rd to Madison to Fostoria to Quincy, ending just south of 15th Street) would run on a 12-minute headway with the Owen Park line. The headways had been 18 minutes before recent improvements.

Also reported on page 3 of the Democrat, the Lutherans, led by the Rev. C. W. Sifferd, broke ground on April 21, 1914, for a new building on the southeast corner of 5th and Elwood, designed by George Winkler. The church had a membership of 140, but were building the new church to hold 750, with a full basement for Sunday school classrooms. (The building stood until demolished to make way for the Tulsa County Courthouse. First Lutheran Church relocated to 13th and Utica.)

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Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Accession A2289

As yet undeveloped, land near Boston Ave. and Haskell St. was the temporary home of lions, tigers, apes, and monkeys -- the Con T. Kennedy Shows and Hackman Animal Circus had come to town. (These days, the land is again re-undeveloped and could once again play host to a circus tent and midway.)

Page 6 of the Democrat reported the Western Association's 140 game schedule. Tulsa would open at home on May 1, starting a three-game series with the recently reinstated Muskogee club. Elsewhere on the page, the Tulsa school board was mulling plans to condemn a block of land to expand Riverview School. The board was ready to advertise plans to construct the new $300,000 High School, so that construction could start as soon as the state Attorney General approved the $500,000 bond issue. It hadn't been decided whether to build on the same block as the current school or a different one.

The 1914 City of Tulsa election, to be held the following day, would be a snoozer and warranted a mention only on the bottom right corner of page 7. The Democratic slate of city commission candidates were all unopposed, but the election had to be held in order to comply with the city charter.

A legal notice on p. 9 announced the sealed-bid auction of the Kaffir Corn Palace, on the grounds of the County Farm, on N. Lewis between Archer and the Frisco tracks. The building, celebrating what we call sorghum, was the centerpiece of the 1913 International Dry Farming Congress.

And finally, the classified ads on the back page of the World include a black manorca cockerel for sale at 901 No. Cheyenne (eggs, too), rooms for rent (inquire at the Coney Island Café), and this touching personal:

NOTICE--Would like to correspond with some lady that wants a home and is willing to help make one. I am 48 years old, light complexioned and blue eyes, don't swear nor drink, but still I am not perfect. Address William Colson, Columbus, Kansas.

This is a performance of the tenth movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil. It is a musical elaboration on an ancient chant, "Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ."

Having beheld the resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one.

We venerate thy cross, O Christ, and we hymn and glorify thy holy resurrection, for thou art our God and we know none other than Thee. We call on thy name.

Come, all you faithful, let us venerate Christ's holy resurrection. For behold, through the cross joy has come into all the world.

Ever blessing the Lord, let us praise his resurrection, for by enduring the cross for us he has destroyed death by death.

Here is the chant on which Rachmaninoff's setting is based -- Воскресение Христово видевше:

(Transliteration and English translation here.)

On this day 100 years ago, Tulsa's "new" Majestic Theater opened its doors to the public. The grand opening was announced with an ad and story on page 5 of the previous day's Tulsa Daily World:

tulsa_majestic_theater-19140417.png

WELCOME
Majestic Theatre
OPENS TOMORROW---SATURDAY---APRIL 18

SHOWING DAILY.

HIGH CLASS MOTION PICTURES.

Music by the

MARVELOUS UNIT ORCHESTRA.
"The Instrument with a Human Voice."

Don't miss this show. A good place to take the family.

Open at 1:30 p.m., showing continuously until 11 p.m.

Admission.
Adults 10 cents, Children 5 cents.

Opening Program

Vitagraph's Big Circus Drama in Two Parts
"THE FRUITS OF VENGEANCE."
A thrilling drama of life in the Big White Tents.

Fine Lubin Production
"THE LITTLE HERO."
Let the Kiddies see this.

Essanay Laugh Producer
"THREE BABES IN A FLAT."
A clever comedy satire.

Coming Soon
TULLY MARSHALL and the original New York cast, presenting
"PAID IN FULL."

The accompanying news item:

Messrs. McCarty & Rothstein take great pleasure in announcing the opening tomorrow, Saturday afternoon and evening, of the New Majestic theater. During the past month the theatre has been in the hands of carpenters, painters, decorators, etc., and has been completely altered and improved, now presenting a most attractive appearance, one that will meet with the approval of all patrons. The house will be under the personal management of B. F. Rothstein, lately associated with Harry Davis, the well-known theatrical and motion picture magnate. It will be devoted exclusively to high class motion pictures and feature films in which appear the leading actors and actresses of the world, depicting the great theatrical successes. At an approximate expense of $10,000 the management has installed on of the famous Wurlitzer Unit orchestras, which combines piano with all orchestral acompaniements, such as horns, flute, violin, drums, cello, castanets, tambourine, whistles, bells, chimes, xylophones and traps. The management, at considerable additional expense secured a well-known artist of Dallas, Texas, to preside over this wonderful instrument. Recitals will be given afternoon and evening, thus affording the music-loving public a rare treat. It is the only instrument of its kind in the entire state of Oklahoma and weighs in the neighborhood of 6,000 pounds.

Reading through the puffery, it appears that this is a reopening after a remodel, rather than the opening of a new building.

What isn't clear is where this was. In 1910, the Bijou Theater sat at the corner of 4th and Main. In 1917 (according to Sanborn Maps), the new, new Majestic was built next door at 406 S. Main, and remained standing until demolished for the present occupant, a parking garage that takes up the north two-thirds of the block between Main, Boulder, 4th and 5th. Tulsa was small enough, and the business district was compact enough, that there was no need to clutter up a theater ad with an address.

First in a possible series. Newspapers and other publications from 1922 and earlier are in the public domain, and many of them are available online through the Library of Congress and Oklahoma Historical Society websites.

The April 17, 1914 edition of the Tulsa Daily World ran 12 pages. The front page headline was about the peaceful resolution of the Tampico Affair. Mexican President General Huerta offered to make amends for the arrest of American troops at Tampico. (The previous day's edition had a banner headline in red ink above the masthead announcing "War With Mexico Now Imminent / Bloodshed Likely at Track Today.")

Further down page 1, there was news of an arrest in the hatchet murder of Muskogee shopkeeper B. F. Richardson. The accused was Richardson's shop clerk, C. T. Hefler, who had been fired after an argument.

On the upper left of the women's page (p. 7) is the headline:

PLAN SUMMER CAMP FOR TULSA BABIES

WORK FOR THE COMING SUMMER
IS BEING PLANNED RIGHT
NOW

EXPENSE IS NOT LARGE

Camp Away from the City's Heat
Would Do Much to Reduce Summer
Death Rate

The story was about a committee of Tulsa women pushing for the establishment of a "baby detention camp." No indication of where it would be located. The committee elected the following ladies as the board of directors.

Mesdames J. A. Hull, J. M. Gillette, S. E. Dunn, John Murray Ward, Frank Sowers, Edward R. Perry, Oscar R. Howard, Sim W. Parrish, J. E. Crosbie, Frank E. Shallenberger, O. L. Frost and Frank H. Greer.

A June 19, 1914, story reports that a home was purchased "opposite Orcutt park," accessible by the Oklahoma Union Traction streetcar line. The 1920 city directory shows the Tulsa Detention Home located at 1704 S. Trenton. Later, the 1939 Sanborn map shows a "County Children's Home" at 1710 S. Trenton at the corner with 17th Street. The homes currently on that corner are of much later construction.

An August 1, 1915, story distinguishes the new detention home ("near the old bungalow at Seventeenth and Spark Streets"), which seems to be an orphanage for children whose parents are deceased or unfit, from the baby camp. Both are run by the local Humane Society.

(In 1921, Wichita established a "Fresh Air Baby Camp" in its Riverside neighborhood. The building was later used as a Girl Scout hut, then sat empty for many years. At present, the building is being restored to its historical appearance. Fresh Air Baby Camp has a much nicer sound than Baby Detention Camp.)

IN OTHER NEWS:

The April 16 edition noted the paper's circulation on the previous day at 12,650.

Several ads in the paper boost the Tulsa Evening Sun, sister paper to the World, which began publication on December 1, 1913, and had a daily circulation of 4,000. "It has been proven that a morning paper with an evening edition is the solution of taking care of the 'overhead cost' in newspaper publishing."

Some links of interest to me and possibly no one else within a 500 mile radius:

(Remember, "blog" is short for "weblog," a log of things found on the World Wide Web.)

Scottish historic counties game: See the name, click on Clackmannanshire.

1859 Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Ross and Cromarty: "two shires of Scotland, so curiously mixed up in geographical position, and so closely united politically, as to render their description under one head a matter not merely of convenience, but even of necessity." So the article begins. The county of Cromarty "is divided into eleven portions, which are whimsically inserted into various parts of the larger county of Ross, like fragments of a more ancient rock in some newer geological formation." When the George Mackenzie, Viscount Tarbat, acquired the original county of Cromarty (mainly the port of that name and environs), he convinced the government of Scotland to annex to the county all of the other bits of land he owned, between 1685 and 1698. The article goes on to say that Mackenzie's Royston House (later called Caroline Park), near Edinburgh, was annexed to Cromartyshire, and that "many of the houses in the Canongate of Edinburgh belong to different counties in Scotland, from their having been the town residences of Scottish noblemen whose estates lay in those different shires. The total land area of Cromartyshire was estimated at 345 sq. mi.

To deal with the impracticalities of this sort of situation, the Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1832 reassigned detached parts of English and Welsh counties to the constituencies of the counties in which they were geographically located. A companion bill, the Reform Act of 1832 also eliminated representation (for "rotten boroughs") or halved it for some boroughs while creating new constituencies where there had been no representation. (Prior to the act, Old Sarum, an uninhabited hill in Wiltshire, elected two members of parliament.) In 1839, law enforcement and courts were reassigned to the county in which the detached part was locally situate. The Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 formally made these odd bits part of the counties which surrounded them, leaving only seven counties in England and Wales with exclaves.

County-Wise is the new website for the Association of British Counties, which "exists to promote the use of the historic counties as a standard geography for the UK." The historic counties movement is a reaction to the frequent reorganization of local government in Britain over the last half-century. Historic counties provide a permanent geographical framework and "fixed popular geography," even as local government boundaries continue to shift at the whim of the national government of the day.The site has a page for each historic county in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The National Library of Scotland's Georeferenced Maps allows you to overlay historic maps going back to the 18th century onto a choice of modern satellite imagery and maps. It covers Britain, Ireland, and Belgium. A slider control allows you to make the historic layer more or less transparent for comparing present-day features to historic maps.

The map at Wikishire overlays historic county boundaries on OpenStreetMap data. It shows the 20-odd exclaves of Cromarty. The map is based on the work of the Historic County Borders Project, which is creating a digital database for use in mapping and GIS. The current boundaries available are based on including small detached parts in the county in which they are situate, but a future dataset will provide boundaries including small detached parts as they existed prior to the 1844 act.

RELATED:

In 1986, the BBC attempted to create a new digital version of the Domesday Book on the 900th anniversary of William the Conqueror's comprehensive survey of his new realm. Participants submitted photographs and descriptive text to document everyday life. The collected materials, which were organized by 4 km x 3 km grid cells, called D-Blocks, were archived on a special type of Laser Disc which required special computer equipment. The data was rescued from digital oblivion, and in 2011, the BBC solicited updated information from around the country. The National Archives now curates the collected BBC Domesday material. In the story of the project, there is a cautionary tale -- make provision for your digital legacy!

In a private venture in 2001, Adrian Pearce set out to 'reverse engineer' the original Domesday data and make it available to any Windows PC - instead of emulating it. In 2004 he succeeded and published the data online, the first instance of a Domesday website. However, on January 27th 2008, Adrian Pearce sadly died and the website was taken off line.

("Sadly died" is an odd formulation. "Sadly" doesn't really modify "died," as it isn't meant to tell us of Mr. Pearce's countenance upon his own demise. It's sloppy shorthand for "we are sad to say" or "we sadly report." Americans use "happily" or "fortunately" in this way, but this misuse of "sadly" seems peculiarly British.)

And then there's this, in the "Frequently Asked Questions" for the 2011 project. It's no longer enough to cringe at the nouns and adjectives used by Mark Twain or Rudyard Kipling; behold the speed of Newspeak's evolution:

The language in 1986 is inappropriate these days

The articles were submitted in 1986 and the language used may differ from what we feel is acceptable today. However, this is now a historic record and therefore we have republished it intact.

ALSO SORT OF RELATED:

Voices from the Dawn has an interactive map of Ireland's ancient monuments. Click a hotspot and read an article about the folklore surrounding standing stones, dolmens, and the like, and view a virtual reality photo of the monument and its surroundings. It turns out a place we stayed 20 years ago this June, Holestone House, near Doagh, Antrim, Northern Ireland, was named for a famed 4 1/2 foot-high slab of rock with a hole through it. Engaged couples clasp hands through the waist-high hole as a symbol of betrothal, a custom that goes back for centuries.

We saw another of the monuments on the next year's trip, the Kilclooney Dolmen near Portnoo, County Donegal. I remember my wife's consternation when I told her we were going to see a dolmen, but couldn't (wouldn't, she thought) tell her what it was. No one really knows, although they're also called "portal tombs."

The filing period has ended for the 2014 Tulsa city elections. All races this year are for two-year terms.

Re-elected:

City Auditor Cathy Criswell, District 5 City Councilor Karen Gilbert, and District 8 City Councilor Phil Lakin were re-elected with out opposition.

Primary:

Five districts which drew three or more candidates will have a primary in June, with the possibility of a candidate winning outright with more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two will be on the November general election ballot.

District 1:

Jack Ross Henderson, 63, 2014 N. Rosedale, 74127, incumbent.
Denis Palmer, 61, 707 E. Mohawk Blvd., 74106
Vanessa Hall-Harper, 42, 2020 W. Newton St., 74127

District 2:

Jeannie Cue, 60, 5313 S. 32nd West Ave., 74107
Aaron L. Bisogno, 27, 7722 S. St. Louis Ave.
Lydia D'Ross, 50, 7742 S. Victor Ave., 74136

District 4:

Blake Ewing, 35, 1323 S. Frisco Ave., 74119
Dan Patten, 29, 107 N. Detroit Ave., Suite 300, 74120
Julian Morgan, 28, 418 S. Peoria Ave., 74120
Elissa K. Harvill, 1722 S. Carson Ave., Apt 1806

District 6:

Skip Steele, 64, 13380 E. 33rd St., 74134
Arnie Murillo, 38, 13029 E. 27th Pl., 74134
Connie Dodson, 46, 13302 E. 28th St.

District 7:

Eric Turley, 44, 9215 E. 59th Pl., 74145
Anna America, 50, 6849 E. 56th St., 74145
Arianna Moore, 27, 3801 S. 93rd East Ave., 74145

General:

Two districts which drew two candidates each will be on the November ballot only.

District 3:

David Patrick, 5712 E. Tecumseh St., 74115
Virgil Lee Wallace Sr., 1564 N. New Haven Ave., 74115

District 9:

G. T. Bynum, 3607 S. Florence Ave., 74105
Paul Tay, 4004 S. Toledo Ave., 74135

Today is the final day of the filing period for the 2014 City of Tulsa elections. For the first time since 2011, all nine council seats are on the ballot at the same time, along with the City Auditor's seat.

You may find this news puzzling. Yes, there was a filing period last week. That was for state and county offices. No, I don't know why Tulsa had to be different. The language adopted by Tulsa (second Monday in April) will sometimes result in a filing period the same week as the state filing period (overlapping on Wednesday) and sometimes result in a filing period the following week.

This election marks the end of over five years of thrashing about with terms and election dates. In 2008, Tulsans voted to approve a charter change to move elections from the spring of even-numbered years to the fall of odd-numbered years. This was a wise move. It allowed campaigning candidates to take advantage of warmer weather and longer days, and put the elections at a normal time of year for voting, while maintaining separation from national and state elections, so that voters could focus on local issues.

A couple of years later, Tulsans voted to change the council terms of office to a three-year term, staggered so that no more than three seats would expire in any given year. 2011 was to be the last all-council election. Seats 1, 4, and 7 were up in 2012, seats 2, 5, and 8 in 2013, and seats 3, 6, and 9 in 2014. There were conflicts with state-authorized election dates in the even-numbered years.

In 2011, the same year that staggered terms were set to begin, Tulsans for Badder Government Same Old Tulsans Save Our Tulsa successfully pushed initiatives to move the council back to a two-year term and to move city elections to the even-numbered years, and to make council elections non-partisan. (Their at-large councilor proposition failed.) The three-year terms for the councilors elected in 2012 and 2013 and the city auditor elected in 2013 were truncated so that all seats would be up for election in 2014. The Mayor's office will next be on the ballot in 2016, along with the auditor and all nine councilors -- barring another charter change.

I opposed the Save Our Tulsa charter changes for a number of reasons, including the sense that non-partisan city elections sharing a lengthy federal and state ballot would be ignored by voters, volunteers, media, and candidates. The dearth of filers for this fall's election seems to bear out my predictions.

As of the end of the second day of filing, there are only three contested seats. It looks like three councilors who have shown a degree of independence from the city establishment are being targeted for defeat: Jack Henderson in District 1, Blake Ewing in District 4, and Arianna Moore in District 7.

Two of the challengers are the campaign managers from last year's mayoral race: Danny Patten, Dewey Bartlett Jr's campaign manager, is challenging Ewing, and Anna America, Kathy Taylor's campaign manager and a former Tulsa School Board member, is challenging Moore. It may well be that these two folks made independent decisions to run, but I suspect both will have substantial establishment backing.

The other six councilors and the new city auditor are as yet unchallenged, but all have filed for re-election. They are:

City Auditor Cathy Criswell: In 2013, she defeated incumbent Clift Richards.
District 2 Councilor Jeannie Cue
District 3 Councilor David Patrick
District 5 Councilor Karen Gilbert
District 6 Councilor Skip Steele
District 8 Councilor Phil Lakin
District 9 Councilor G. T. Bynum

Roscoe Turner as Golden DrillerIt would be a particular shame if David Patrick draws a bye in the first election following the death of former District 3 Councilor Roscoe Turner. Turner and Patrick faced each other in every election since 1996 (except the 1998 special, when Patrick's sister took his place), either in the Democratic primary or, when Patrick changed his registration to independent, in the general election.

District 3 includes most of the area north and east of I-244 and US 75, plus the area north of 11th Street between Sheridan Road and I-44.

We need a council full of Roscoe Turners (and a mayor of that caliber as well) if we want city boards and commissions to be responsive to the concerns of citizens in all of Tulsa. That process starts today, by making sure that each of our city elected officials are held accountable to the voters in a competitive election campaign.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Filing for City of Tulsa offices is at the Tulsa County Election Board, 555 N. Denver Ave., in the former "Mission style" Safeway supermarket with the arched roof. You'll need a notarized declaration of candidacy and a $50 cashier's check.

Here is a current map of City of Tulsa council district and precinct boundaries.

Dr. Jeffrey Myers, a great-grandson of W. Tate Brady, posted a comment today on a BatesLine entry from July 2013 ("The Brady name game") regarding the renaming of Brady Street in Tulsa. Controversy over the early Tulsa civic leader's connection to racist organizations resulted in a bizarre City Council compromise that renamed Brady Street within the Inner Dispersal Loop to Matthew B. Brady Street, honoring the Civil War-era photographer who had no connection to Tulsa.

Below is Dr. Myers's comment, which is unedited, except for the addition of an authorship line to ensure it is properly attributed.

What´s in a Name: The Legacy of Tate Brady [by Dr. Jeffrey Myers]

As one of the great-grandchildren of W. Tate Brady, I was deeply saddened to learn of his affiliation - direct or indirect - with racist organizations. Although he died long before I was born, we great-grandchildren often heard of his deep affection for "Tulsey Town" and his coining of the term "Tulsa Spirit".

Personally, I have never thought of "Brady" Street simply as a personal tribute to one of Tulsa´s founders, but rather a reminder of one of the most eventful and "spirited" chapters in the history of the city - with all of its triumphs and tragedies, virtues and vices, successes and failures. To preserve a name - including both the achievements and the shortcomings it represents - serves to convey historical identity.

In some ways, Tate Brady can be said to have been a child of his times. He was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in a young city painfully divided along racial lines. He was a man filled with larger-than-life dreams, as well as inconsistencies. Having joined the Ku Klux Klan as a young man, he later renounced the group, going on to support an anti-Klan gubernatorial candidate for election.

If I am not mistaken, though, he is being judged for one substantiated act of cruelty which, despicable as it is, remains one single act. I am not aware of any evidence of his complicity in other crimes, nor is there convincing evidence linking him to an active role in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Fortunately, times have changed; needless to say, actions must always be understood and judged in the context of those times. Historical revisionism is sometimes tempting, but often self-serving.

It has been said that Wyatt Tate Brady was known for hiring African Americans to work in his hotel and other businesses. Not long before she died at the age of 104, Mabel B. Little, a survivor of the Tulsa Race Riot who was once employed by Brady, recalls in her book, Fire on Mount Zion: My Life and History as a Black Woman in America (1990): "Another man, Mr. Tate Brady had good feelings for black people. He hired several black boys as porters. But he told them up front, "Listen, boys: I'm gonna train you so you can get your own businesses someday."

I´ve always liked the fact that this historical street north of Main only bore a surname - and not a first name, thus pointing beyond itself, not only to the larger Brady family - many of whom loved and gave generously of themselves and their gifts to Tulsa, but also to the wider family, named and unnamed, of pioneer-spirited Tulsans. The name Brady invokes that which is unique to Tulsa - not only at its best, but also that which needs to be transformed and redeemed, individually and together.

In a moment of larger vision, W. Tate Brady was once quoted as saying: "Indian and white man, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, we worked together side by side, and shoulder to shoulder, and under these conditions, the 'Tulsa Spirit' was born, and has lived, and God grant that it never dies." Though framed in words from another era, this vision would seem to capture the magnanimous, unifying "spirit" of Tulsa - the direction surely intended by the street sign bearing the name "Brady".

I've been told that Leon Russell's voice is being used to greet travelers at the Tulsa International Airport, and that, in his greeting, he mentions seeing world-renowned violinist Jascha Heifetz at the Tulsa Municipal Theater, now known as the Brady Theater.

Heifetz appeared in Tulsa, at what was then known as the Convention Hall, many years earlier, on March 16, 1922, as part of a blockbuster concert series that included ballerina Anna Pavlova and pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The performers for the rest of the series are not well-remembered today, but they were famous at the time: Frances Alda (operatic soprano), Royal Dadmun (baritone), John McCormack (Irish tenor), Flonzaley Quartet (string quartet).

At the time, $10 got you season tickets for the best seat in the house. In inflation-adjusted terms, that's $15 per show. Individual tickets ran from $1 to $3, plus 10% war tax.

A newspaper advertisement for the series appeared on page 12 of the September 25, 1921, edition of the Tulsa Daily World:

Ad for 1922 concert series including Jascha Heifetz, Anna Pavlova, and Sergei Rachmaninoff

Don't know for sure, but I suspect that the Carson Concert Series was the forerunner for Carson Attractions, which handled tickets and booking for the Tulsa Assembly Center for many years.

1922 was not Heifetz's first visit to Tulsa. He also appeared at the Convention Hall on March 4, 1919. Ticket prices were 50 cents cheaper than they would be in 1922.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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