The Oklahoman’s Sports Department has offered several recent stories with predictions and preseason polls on how the Sooners and the Cowboys might fare this season.
August 1, 1909 Daily Oklahoman for Sunday made a prediction for the University of Oklahoma football team with the headline “GOOD CHANCE FOR SOONERS OF 1909 Oklahoma University Has a Strong Schedule — Many Players to Return.”
The story boasts, “Next season Oklahoma University will no doubt have the best football team in the history of the institution. All of last year’s men will be back except the two ends, Walling and Pickard.”
This was OU’s 14th season and the 4th year the legendary Bennie Owen was the coach.
The Sooners schedule included Central Normal School (now the University of Central Oklahoma), Kingfisher College, Kansas University, Alva Normal School (now Northwestern Oklahoma State University), Arkansas University, Washburn College, St. Louis University, Texas A&M University, Texas University and Epworth University (now Oklahoma City University).
A check of the game stories showed the University Oklahoma 1909 team won 6 games and lost 4 games.
A story published December 7, 1909 wrapped up the season saying: “The football season of 1909 came to a close with the Thanksgiving game. While the Sooners did not win the championship of the Southwest, while they failed to make as good a showing as the team of the previous year, they played a strong aggressive game at all times and finished the season with credit. The students feel that so many games away from home, the long trips toward the close of the season and a run of hard luck all helped to defeat one of the best teams Oklahoma has ever sent forth.”
The last sentence summed up the season. “The football has been a paying proposition this year and at the close of the season the council finds several hundred dollars in the treasury of the athletic association.”
Let’s wish this year’s team the best of luck and hope that they will make “a good showing” and finish the season “with credit” as they did 100 years ago.
We know they’ll make a profit!
April 19, 1925, The Oklahoman published a 104 page special edition “The 89ER Homecoming Edition.” This is one of the stories of the men and women who made the run and pioneered our great state.
“–Then He Lost His Hat”
Many hard luck tales have been told by men who came to Oklahoma on the opening day and failed to find the fortune they felt so sure was in sight, but probably the unluckiest man of all those who “missed fire” on that day was W.C. Thompson, who had been telegraph operator at the Guthrie station for many months before the opening.
Thompson was engaged to be married to Ella McClerkin, of Topeka, Kansas, and with the opening of the Territory he saw an opportunity to get a good start in life.
His plan was to take a claim and have his intended take one adjoining, then each would take a good business lot and later they would get married. He sent for the young lady and she came to Guthrie on April 18, and readily agreed to the three propositions — two homesteads, two business lots and a wedding. Thompson, who had excellent opportunities to do so, had selected two fine homesteads adjoining the city, two of the best business locations and had four tents shipped in to be used to hold down the homesteads and town lots.
When noon arrived on the twenty-second, starting from the depot, the two made a lively run for the
selected homesteads, but on reaching them found both occupied by several claimants. Hurrying back to town they found that misfortune had not come single-handed to them that day for the tents which Thompson had pitched on his selected lots early in the morning were both stolen and the lots occupied by a half dozen or more squatters.
Ella returned to the depot in disgust, while Thompson went in search of other lots and remained away so long that his work was neglected at the depot and a collision between two freight trains resulting, he lost his job the next day.
All this was bad enough, but still worse, disgusted with his mismanagement and failures the young woman packed her trunk and went back to Kansas where she soon after married another man.
I found no more on poor Mr. Thompson in the newspaper. We hope his luck changed and he prospered with the new state.
Chances are, if you have driven in the western half of Oklahoma City, whether north or south you have crossed Blackwelder Avenue.
I have started driving on SE 59th regularly and cross Blackwelder at least twice a week. It started me wondering, just where did the name come from.
After searching The Oklahoman Archives, I discovered that Blackwelder Avenue was named for early Oklahoma City pioneer, Guy Elliott Blackwelder.
Guy Blackwelder was born in Kansas and moved with his family shortly after the Run of 1889. He was a member of the city’s first high school graduating class in 1895 and played football on the school team.
Guy Blackwelder, with his father, M.L. Blackwelder operated the Blackwelder Co., a real estate firm in Oklahoma City. The Blackwelders were early day home builders.
From 1911 to 1917, he served two terms as commissioner of public works (in charge of streets, sewer and sidewalks) and it was at this time the city street was named in his honor.
In 1944 Guy Blackwelder was killed in an automobile accident at the intersection of Britton and Eastern (Martin Luther King Blvd.)
In September 1906, Oklahoma City welcomed the national convention of the Hoo-Hoo.
Members came from every state in the union (there were 45 states at the time) and from Canada. A front page advertisement in the Sept. 7 edition of The Oklahomansaid 3,000 Hoo-Hoo delegates would be in town.
The great Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal service organization of men involved in any aspect of the lumber industry,was formed in 1892 in Gurdon, AR.
A group of lumbermen on the way from one convention to another was delayed in Gurdon, Arkansas. While passing the time at the local hotel, they discussed the need for an organization among lumber people to promote fellowship and goodwill.
The organizers did not want to be conventional or superstitious, so they adopted the black cat with its tail curled in a nine as their emblem and used the No. 9, the number of lives of the cat, for different aspects of their organization. There would be 9 leaders and they would meet the 9th day of the 9th month at the 9th hour. Their dues would be 99 cents. There would be no lodge, no regular meetings and, as for the name, it came from one member’s description of another’s shock of hair on an otherwise bald head. He called it a hoo hoo.
Lumbermen started using hoo hoo to describe the unusual. For example, a good card hand would be a hoo hoo hand, and so what better name for the new organization.
One of the gentlemen had been reading Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of the Snark,” and so they borrowed from the poem such names as snark for their leader. His official title would become Snark of the Universe. Other officers were Bojum, Jabberwock, Custcatian, Junior Hoo Hoo, Senior Hoo Hoo, Scrivenoter, Arcanoper and Gurdon.
On Sept. 9, 1906, at 9 in the morning, the 15th annual session of the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo met at the Overholser Opera House for a business meeting. A banquet, more meetings and as much fun as they could crowd into four days was planned for the delegates. Oklahoma City was eager to show off its progress. There was a polo match, cattle roping, tours to Delmar Gardens and more for the delegates’ entertainment. The Daily Oklahomanon Sept. 9, 1906, ran a special front page for the Hoo-Hoo and highlighted Oklahoma City’s homes and buildings throughout the paper. Many advertisements ran in the paper welcoming the Hoo-Hoo and touting the city and its businesses.
Judging from the stories that were published, this concatenation was a great success from both the Hoo-Hoo’s and the city’s point of view. Hertha Hess-Jobson, society editor for The Oklahoman,wrote, “The Hoo-Hoo convention is certainly a caterwauling success. We have entertained all kinds of strangers in our town, but never have we had a brighter, happier more progressive and genial crowd.”
The Hoo-Hoo organization suffered during the Depression almost to the point of ceasing, but it survived and continues on to this day. This year it celebrates its 117th year and is now known as the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. Its headquarters and museum are in Gurdon, AR, and its Web site is www.hoo-hoo.org.
When I hear the words secret service, I immediately think of the president surrounded by men in suits looking very serious.
Oklahoma City’s secret service began with an ordinance in May of 1909 proposed by the mayor, Henry M. Scales, and passed by the city council. It created a secret service department that would perform the duties of the plain clothes men of the regular police department. Their chief would report to the mayor and they would be located in the basement of city hall.
The May 15 newspaper gave the explanation for the separation of the patrol department and the plain clothes department, which would allow “the police department to be better able to cope with local conditions than ever before.”
The headline in the January 1, 1911, Daily Oklahoman declared:
“GREAT YEAR FOR POLICE SERVICE
Perhaps Greatest Improvement Has Been in Secret Service Department”
The story states, “The work done by this department is of the highest done in any of the detective departments of the cities of the west. Some of the greatest ”crooks” in the country have been apprehended by them, and they have fathomed some perplexing crimes. The department has the distinction of being one among many of the country that is on a paying basis. Not only does the department pay its own expenses but with the surplus added to the revenues of the police department pays one-half the expenses of that department.”
The secret service department operated, not without controversy, until 1911. Mayor Scales and the police chief, John Hubatka carried on a dispute over control. Hubatka filed an injunction, a lawsuit and attempted an ouster of the mayor.
The controversy ended with the election in May of 1911. The new mayor, Whit Grant, appointed a new police chief.
The July 14, 1911, newspaper, announced that William “Bill” Tilghman, the famous
Oklahoma lawman who had helped “Bat” Masterson clean up Dodge City and had served as sheriff of Lincoln County, would be the chief of police upon the appointment by the mayor. The article also states that “the secret service department will be discontinued and the police department supplemented with six detectives.”
With that action, Oklahoma City’s secret service department was merged back into the police department under the control of the police chief and with the plain clothes officers, the detectives, serving alongside the patrolmen again.
Tilghman remained chief of police until February 10, 1913, when he resigned to campaign for the office of U.S. marshal for the western district of Oklahoma.
Every workday morning my driving routine is generally the same: Interstate 40 to Interstate 235 and the Broadway Extension to Britton Road.
Since I’m at work by 6 a.m., I get to see the buildings of downtown Oklahoma City with the lights on. I scan the skyline and look for the beacon that shines from the top of the First National Bank building.
The building was built in 1931 in 10 months. The beacon, consisting of a stationary light of 50,000 candlepower to direct pilots to the airport eight miles away and a larger revolving light that would be visible farther away, was turned on Sept. 6, 1931, in a special dedication ceremony attended by Kiwanis club members and their international president, William O. Harris, who was visiting the city for the Texas-Oklahoma district club convention.
A story from the Sept. 7, 1931, Daily Oklahoman reported: “After a round of speeches and musical numbers, Harris pushed a set of buttons and the building was flooded in light and the beacon was set in operation. Of 2,500,000 candlepower, the revolving beacon can be seen from the air a distance of 100 miles, H Edward Smith, manager said.” Another story said it was visible between 50 and 75 miles.
The floodlights that illuminate the top of the building were described as being “like a snow-clad peak in the Sierras.”
I can see that as I drive by, and now on special occasions the building is lit in different colors, like red for Valentine’s Day.
This enduring landmark, once the tallest building west of the Mississipi River, has been overshadowed by taller buildings in recent years, and its lights do not stand out as brightly when so many more lights are visible, but to me the First National Bank and Trust building is the skyline of Oklahoma City, and I hope it stands forever more.