Husband, Wife, Take Steps To Bring New Life To Old Okmulgee Building

Thursday, August 11th 2016, 10:44 pm
By: News On 6

Another historic downtown is getting a transformation, and the first apartments are almost ready to be leased.

The movement is called #OkmulgeeRising, and it started two years ago. The goal is to have 100 people living in downtown Okmulgee, and to help, a century-old building is getting a makeover.

Margaret and Robb Hess decided to devote their lives to bring back the McBrayer building.

For over 50 years, old offices on the second floor of the building were blocked off, but now they're about to become eight loft units.

"There's so much upstairs on these upper floors in Okmulgee, that I just feel like were closed off and have just been waiting for the right time and the right people to bring it back to life," Margaret Hess said.

The husband and wife team received a preservation tax credit to remodel the building.

Margaret said, “We were able to keep all of this beautiful woodwork. It's just amazing that this is 100 years old and, just look at it."

The renovation is part of a larger movement to get people living in downtown Okmulgee.

"It has totally changed our lives,” Margaret said. “We never looked up before - I think that was one of the neatest things."

Rob Hess said, "The neat thing about this is we don't have to keep it a secret. I mean, everybody can do this, all small towns can do it."
OSU's Institute of Technology in Okmulgee is getting in on the action too. Officials plan to remodel a block of historic buildings, offering to house to 74 students.

The same consultant who is working on "flipping" downtown Muskogee spent two years in Okmulgee.