Oklahoma County, Oklahoma

Oklahoma Station and Oklahoma City In Pictures

Overholser Opera House
Built 1903
When the Overholser opened in 1903 it had three shallow balconies, and four tiers of box seats, with a total seating capacity of 2400. It was located at 217 W. Grand and such notables as Sarah Bernhardt and Lillian Russell performed there.  John Eberson's 1920 Adamesque remodel for Keith Albee replaced the three balconies with one long, steeply sloped, cantilever balcony which reduced seating to 2200. Warner Brothers gained control in 1928 and installed new, wider chairs, and expanded leg room between seats, which caused a reduction of 200 chairs. Cinerama installation resulted in an even further reduced capacity.  New owners acquired the building in 1917 and rebuilt it to become the Orpheum Theatre, seating 1,040. The Orpheum opened in 1921 and was destroyed in the mid-1960s.

date of picure unknown, but should abt 1900

Pictured above is the Old County Courthouse

Pictured above is the Hotel Bristol

The Commerce Exchange Building was built by Martin Rhinehart during the 1920s and was his pride and joy.  He used nothing but the finest materials such as solid walnut woodwork, imported Italian marble and terrazzo, beautiful handpainted plastered lobby ceilings, etc.  Though he lost it during the Depression, he kept his office there well into the 1950s.  The Commerce Exchange was so well built with reinforced concrete that the demolition people were really challenged in tearing it down.  This was shortly before they started imploding structures.

Oklahoma City's First Amusement Park and Zoo
Pictured above and below

Delmar Gardens, one of the earliest Oklahoma examples, enriched life in Oklahoma City from 1902 until 1910. John Sinopoulo and Joseph Marre, who trained at Delmar Gardens in St. Louis, opened the park on land owned by Charles Colcord. The amenities included a theater, race track, baseball field, swimming pool, railway, beer garden, hotel, restaurant, and swimming pool. Located on 140 acres near the North Canadian River, the Gardens enjoyed a large clientele and attracted entertainers like Lon Chaney, boxers John L. Sullivan and Jack Dempsey, and Dan Patch, a legendary race horse. Unfortunately, swarms of mosquitoes that accompanied the river's annual flooding contributed to Delmar Gardens's demise, and the advent of prohibition was the death blow.

Springlake Amusement Park
pictured above

In 1924, after his spring-fed pond in northeast Oklahoma City had been open to swimming and picnicking for six years, Roy Staton built a swimming pool there. Later expanding his park, he bought many of the rides from the defunct Belle Isle Park, built a ballroom, and in 1929 added the Big Dipper roller coaster, a fixture in the park for almost fifty years. The height of Springlake's popularity extended from the 1950s into the 1960s, and the park attracted top entertainers of the era including Johnny Cash, the Righteous Brothers, Roy Acuff, and Conway Twitty. A large riot that erupted in 1971 in the park, between whites and blacks, frightened away potential customers and hastened Springlake's demise. A change of ownership, poor maintenance, and fire led to the park's 1981 sale to the Oklahoma City Vo-Tech Board, which closed Springlake for good.

Wedgewood Village Amusement Park operated in northwest Oklahoma City in the late 1950s and 1960s.
Wedgewood, opened in 1958, had a fine carousel, swimming, boating, a roller coaster, and all the standard amenities before closing in 1969.

Frontier City, owned at the beginning of the twenty-first century by the Oklahoma City-based Six Flags, Inc., one of the largest amusement companies in the nation, began operation in 1958 on the heavily traveled Route 66 and I-35 in northeast Oklahoma City. Using a western theme and moving an entire western town from the Oklahoma State Fair, the new park attracted 1.2 million visitors in the first year. Although Frontier City had lean years, the theme park continued to entertain the region into the twenty-first century by providing nationally recognized entertainment and an ever-growing selection of thrill rides.

Pictured is the Epworth University in 1911.

In the early 1900ís, Epworth University was the first college in Oklahoma City, built on the location of the current Epworth United Methodist Church. It was founded as a federated organization supported by two major denominations of the Methodist church: the Methodist Episcopal Church (also known as the "north" branch), and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. These denominations had split over slavery in 1844 and re-merged in 1939. Reconciliation found a home at Epworth in the early part of the century, as it did at the end of the same century.  In 1907 Epworth University (now Oklahoma City University), a Methodist institution of higher learning, established the first law school in Oklahoma. Unlike many at the time, Epworth required three years for completion of the degree program. Charles B. Ames was named dean. The faculty consisted of three full-time members, with other courses being taught by attorneys. Classes began in the fall of 1907 with an enrollment of fifteen students.


Pictured above is the old Oklahoma City High School

Pictured above is Roosevelt Jr. High School

Pictured above: Top left: Lincoln Top right: Washington
Pictured above: Bottom left: Emmerson, Bottom right: Irving

[Pictures are more than likely from the government website, Oklahoma City County Assessor's site.]

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