Coltrane Road was named for John J. Coltrane, an ’89er born in North Carolina who owned land in the area near NE 36 and the street with his name.
The road begins at NE 23 Street between Bryant and Sooner Road and runs north, skipping a couple of section lines, nearly to Guthrie.
However, the street wasn’t originally named for the Oklahoma pioneer. It was named State Street.
According to an Oct. 5, 1944, story in The Oklahoman, the name change occurred because of a complication.
It seems there were two State streets in Oklahoma City — the northeast location and one in far northwest Oklahoma City, four blocks east of MacArthur Boulevard.
“It’s the folks along the west-side State Street who are raising the fuss. Their visitors go to the wrong street first, then have a long drive going to the right State Street.
“Besides,” says Mike Donnelly, County Commissioner District 2, site of the “west” State Street, “that other State Street never did rightfully exist. Originally it was named ‘Grant.’”
Mrs. Carl W. Skinner, one of several residents along the street and a niece of John Coltrane, said: “I was born about a mile from here and the street never has been called anything else (State Street) since it was opened several years ago.”
John J. Coltrane “originally owned three quarters of a section in that neighborhood. When the state capital was moved here from Guthrie, Coltrane offered land for the site.”
On July 5, 1911, The Oklahoman listed real estate transactions, and J.J. Coltrane transferred land to the State Capitol Building Co. for the sum of $1. In other early advertisements, Coltrane offered cattle for sale, and in the U.S. Census he is listed as a farmer.
The northwest corner of NE 36 and Coltrane was part of the land offered for the Capitol. The southeast corner was once the summer home of Gov. Robert S. Kerr and later the monks of the Holy Protection Orthodox Monastery of Forest Park. It is now privately owned.
R.L. Peebly (Peebly Road), county commissioner for the district, said he would entertain any suggestions for a new name, and Mrs. Skinner said she “would like for the name ‘Coltrane’ to be considered, honoring her uncle.”
While I found no official announcement, apparently there was no objection, and the east State Street became Coltrane Road.
Christmas is over, the presents unwrapped, the dinner eaten, the ballgames watched and this year’s Christmas memories made.
Newspapers used to have the luxury of space and often would publish poetry written by its readers.
This poem by Hazel Fletcher was published in The Oklahoman on Dec. 28, 1970.
She titled it “The Aftermath,” and it seems appropriate for the holidays.
“‘Twas the day after Christmas and you’d never guess / Where once there was order, there’s now such a mess.
“The pieces are scattered throughout the house, / There’s not even room for a little bitty mouse.
“Boxes and ribbons and much colorful paper, / The poor Christmas tree and the burned out taper.
“A hammer has hammered the lesser of toys, / The walking doll’s crippled by the rougher of boys.
“The truce is now over — children fight as before, / There’s a let-down feeling — can’t take any more.
“But regardless of the trouble, anxieties and din / We’d open our hearts and do it again.
“So memories are stored with memories from the past, / And love for them all will ever last.”
Hazel Fletcher of Purcell, now Hazel Nicholas of Marietta, had her poems published in The Oklahoman at least 12 times.
My memory of Christmas 2011 will be of the “wonky” Christmas tree.
My aunt Grace Helms, 88 years young, decided to decorate her 7-foot tree a row at a time, adding lights and decorations as she went.
It had 12 rows, but somehow rows 10, 11 and 12 were left on the back porch. When the top was added to the unstable wobbling tree, now only about 5 feet tall, it made for a “wonky tree.”
A new pre-lit tree was acquired, decorated and stands beautifully in the corner while the old one, with lights, decorations and tinsel, was delivered to a new family who had no tree, just in time for Christmas.
I hope this Christmas has given you wonderful memories to add to ones already made.
Imagine an event that would bring out nearly half the population of Oklahoma City.
Eighty one years ago, Oklahoma City enjoyed a Christmas parade that was attended by between 65,000 and 100,000 people.
The 1930 federal U.S. Census estimated the city’s population at 185,389.
This description, from the Oklahoma City Times, Dec. 5, 1930, sets the scene:
“Santa Claus was in town, and so was everybody else Friday afternoon to watch the gorgeous spectacle move south on Broadway. Cheers and shouts went up from the throngs on the sidewalks, and many a tiny child in the custody of his mother, waved a happy ‘Hello Santa’ as the parade passed.”
And from The Oklahoman, Dec. 6, 1930, it was reported: “Lindbergh day, Al Smith day, (Gov.) Walton inaugural day, all were eclipsed by the throng, which gathered to attest that Old Santa is Oklahoma City’s greatest hero.”
“What he had to offer in the way of a spectacle was by no mean’s disappointing.”
School was let out so the children could attend, and work came to nearly a standstill as state employees came from the Capitol, office workers watched from windows and even the federal court recessed so the jury could watch.
At a mile and a half long and starting at 10th and Broadway and winding through the downtown shopping district, the parade took more than an hour to pass.
WKY Radio was stationed atop The Oklahoman building at Fourth and Broadway describing the passing displays.
The parade numbered nearly 60 units, including floats, seven bands, three calliopes, city officials and, of course, Santa Claus.
Santa had come to town and brought with him his sleigh and 10 live reindeer.
As we all know, Santa usually travels with eight tiny reindeer, except when Rudolph joins the team.
In 1930, it was still nine years away before he would need Rudolph and his shiny nose, so Santa must have brought the two extra reindeer to help pull the sleigh along the streets.
Times have changed, but Oklahoma Citians now flock to the Holiday River Parade and enjoy the events of Downtown in December.
The Christmas lights are on at Automobile Alley, a part of Broadway that hosted the parade in 1930.
While downtown is nearly impassable with all the street closings because of reconstruction and repair, the Bricktown area offers the city Christmas tree, lights along the canal and snow tubing at the RedHawks Field at Bricktown. And, the newly renovated Myriad Gardens is decked out in style with lots of lights, ice skating and Santa, too.
So, visit downtown if you can. If not, close your eyes and picture the sight of Santa and his reindeer making their way downtown with excited children and delighted adults crowded along the streets.