BEFORE SKIRVIN: Early Day Oklahoma City Hotels

Long before the magnificent Skirvin Hotel rose high above the city in 1910, there were hotels that throbbed with adventure, festivity, mystery, death, and scandal in the new community.

According to a 1922 article in the Daily Oklahoma ("Owner of City's Original Hotel, the Pickwick, was Mrs. Wright, Still Here", April 22, 1922, pg. 2), the first hotel in Oklahoma City was the two story PICKWICK HOTEL and it stood, "on the south side of Grand avenue, the third door west of Broadway." It was named for the Fort Worth hotel of the same name. Other early day hotels included: The Grand Avenue, The Arbuckle Hotel, The Compton, The Alamo Hotel, The Weaver, The International Hotel, and in 1902 the Illinois Hotel opened. Later on, but before the Skirvin, the Lee Hotel, would be the talk of the town.
Early day newspaper reports would over who was in town, and why, and keep everyone posted of the comings and goings around the town. The hotels were often the scenes of affairs, people also chose to kill themselves (usually by carbolic acid or morphine overdose, less often by pistol). Lovers tracked down errant mates, gentlemen thieves and con artists plied their trades and "Doctors" were frequent guests selling their "patent" formulas.

This website has some excellent images of these early hotels - and many others - before 'Urban Renewal" gutted the heart of the city of its history: http://dougdawg.blogspot.com/2007/03/downtown-hotels.html

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