Walker Avenue is one of the most used streets in Oklahoma City. It runs north and south and crosses the Oklahoma River.
After my success discovering the person behind Blackwelder Avenue, I was curious to see who Walker Avenue was named for and why he warranted having a street named after him.
This is what I learned.
Dr. Delos Walker was a true pioneer of our great state. He was born October 19, 1837 in Pennsylvania, raised on a farm and attended the University of Michigan. His medical studies were interrupted by service in the Civil War with the Union army. He graduated and practiced medicine in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kansas, before participating in the Run of ’89 and settling in Oklahoma City.
He was a member of the Oklahoma Town Company which on arrival, surveyed the townsite south of Sheridan Avenue which was originally called Grand Avenue, not to be confused with Grand Boulevard.
The rival Seminole Land and Improvement Co. surveyed the north part of town. The two companies used different points to start their surveys. When the two townsites were joined, each company refused to change their survey. The differences in the surveys created a jog in the north-south streets at Sheridan Avenue that many Oklahoma Citians will remember. This jog was gradually eliminated, with Walker at Sheridan being the last street to be straightened in 1991.
Dr. Walker staked out lots on Reno Avenue, built a grand house across the street from what is now the Myriad Gardens and lived there until his death on July 30, 1910.
In his obituary published July 31, in The Oklahoman, when asked who knows the story of the birth of Oklahoma, the president of the ’89ers association answered, “Dr. Delos Walker can tell you more perhaps than any other man in the city because he was here with the first who came in the great run. He lived through the whole history of the city and was one of the leading characters in the enactment of the great drama of life, …
In the book “A History of the State of Oklahoma 1908 Vol II” by Luther Hill,” the biography of Dr. Walker states: ”He helped organize the first public school and became the first president of the school board of Oklahoma City. For five years he was health superintendent of Oklahoma county, and was the first president of the Board of Health of Oklahoma City, holding that office five years. He was also one of the organizers and the first president of the Oklahoma Medical Society. At the present writing Dr. Walker is president of the association of Oklahoma pioneers known as the “89′ers”.
No wonder, they named a street after him.