Oklahoma's newest members on the list of National Register of Historic Places

Monday, September 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma has 12 new properties on the National Registry of Historic Places. News on 6 reporter Rick Wells says one of the sites is an example of Tulsa's fondness for Art Deco architecture, while another is a musical landmark ready for a rebirth.

"We bought this building three years ago knowing it was an historic building, hoping it would be on the National Registry." Now it is.

Steve Eberle says the American Lung Association will restore and renovate the Tulsa Fire Alarm building for its new headquarters. More than that in its octagonal shaped central section will be an educational experience for those who visit. "1931 fire fighting. History of the fire department in Tulsa. Inside air quality, outside air quality, lung disease art deco architecture all in one package all in one field trip."

Its Art Deco style is what got the building the national recognition in the first place. Phase one of its renovation should be finished in a couple of years.

How the Cain's Ballroom escaped national recognition until now is a mystery, but it may be best known of Oklahoma's dozen new National Historic Places. From 1935 to 1942 it was the home of Bob Wills' daily radio broadcasts and live performances.

It is being renovated now, including the dozens of pictures of country music stars of long ago, that will be re-hung on its walls. Randy Frederick with Frederick Sommers and Western Sign, "they were pretty thick with dust and cob webs when they brought them in."

He says they'll clean em up. Put new stain on the frames, put on new nametags and repair them as they can. "There's one I like Tennessee Ernie Ford." Some of the star's names were of too long ago, but the big names we both remembered. “The original ET, Ernest Tubb and Hank Thompson and we've got Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and Bob Wills.”

The Cain's is set to re-open in two weeks with Dwight Yoakum.

Being included on the list of historic places triggers an automatic review by the National Parks Service to decide whether a Historic Place should be elevated to Historic Landmark status. Oklahoma has 19 National Historic Landmarks; the Boston Avenue Methodist Church is the only one in Tulsa.