Take a good look at the state Capitol building and on each of the eight corners of the roof, you will find a winged lion.
A photograph in The Oklahoman, Jan 29, 1928, tells the story of twolions that were not destined for the Capitol roof but instead found their way to the front yard of a house in the Harndale addition of Oklahoma City.
“They stand in the front yard of the oldest house in the addition, a small Spanish type home once occupied by an official of the State Capitol Building company.”
“Early in 1917, the capitol was nearing completion. About that time an anti-British movement got afoot … Objection to the lions was voiced on the grounds that they savored of King George V or perhaps Richard the Lion Hearted. Consequently two of the brutes were spared a domeless home.”
From a June 18, 1962, story we get a slightly different story of how the lions arrived in Harndale.
In 1914, when architects Solomon Layton and his partner S. Wemyes Smith were drawing up designs for the Capitol, Smith came up with the idea of having British lions perched on the Capitol.
They were made of concrete, and when they arrived, two were flawed.
Here, the story becomes a mystery as the twolions were placed at Classen Drivenear NW 14. There, they guarded the Harnsdale neighborhood for more than 40 years.
The Harnsdale addition was developed by early day attorney and developerWilliam Fremont Harn. It was Harn who donated the land where the Capitol now stands, and possibly he was given or sold the lions in appreciation of his donation.
Regardless of how they arrived, in 1962 the Harnsdale lions were offered for sale by the executor of the estate for “$2000 and the equipment to carry off the one-ton statues.”
I searched The Oklahoman’s archives, but have yet to find who purchased the lions and where they are now.
If anyone knows, e-mail me at email@example.com or give me call me at (405) 475-3695.