Several advertisements for 'bungalows' appeared in early Oklahoma City newspapers. They appeared to be centered in the NE 8th and NE 9th areas. The ads found (to date) appeared in 1907-1910. Several ads in 1904-1906 are being explored as well.

A 1907 ad described a bungalow for sale somewhere "near Emerson School" (715 N Walker area). In 1908, the ads were numerous and located houses on West 2nd, West 9th, East 7th, East 10th, 18th and 20th Streets.
An interesting sidebar was several of these were offered by a "Miss Corder with the Cowthorne Co." An early female real estate agent?
In 1909, larger "modern" bungalows were being advertised, such as the large home on 18th near Shartel, a seven room at 410 Maple on two lots, 705 W. 25th, 1441 W. Main, and on 26th Street.

In a 1915 edition of the Oklahoman, an article stated "100 Homes Built Here During Year: Bungalows Predominate as Type of Construction in Buildings". The hugely popular style was slated to reach 400 in the coming year due to its style, attentions to detail, and its price range of $12,000 to $40,000.
There was in the bungalow, quite literally, a style for almost every pocket book. It was the emergence of the American middle class and the "home ownership" movement that merged individualism, modernity (freedom from the stuffy Victorian styles) and a decidedly American equalization of status in society that made these homes real estate winners. Add to that in the coming years the "kit" houses, from Aladdin and Sears, that were easy to deliver, easy to build, and easy to buy and the stage was set for wide spread home building. "On Capital Hill, throughout the precincts of University and Putnam and other additions...their tile, slate, or shingle roofs cover comfort and inviting elegance."

The ubiquitous bungalow, so carelessly cast aside and denuded of its many charming and unique features is worthy of salvation through restoration. The bungalow, and the larger arts and crafts movement styles, were all designed and carried out with charming attention to creating an "atmosphere" of harmony, of integration of nature and art, and a space to feed the inner soul as well as protect the outer being .



I remember sitting in seventh grade English one warm autumn day as the teacher picked up the dogeared old text, flipped a page or two and then began to read aloud. It was a hard audience, right before lunch, and the students were slumped in seats or holding pencils over paper in anticipation of note taking.
Yet, as he read...the heat of the day fell away. The sun drenched institutional classroom became a dark landscape with a moon riding overhead. Our breathing quickened in time with the horses steps as a lover sped to a meeting and anxiety built in time with the frantic praying for safety in a young maid's breast. As the words rolled off the teacher's tongue we were transported to a far away place of romance and mystery...
"And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door."
The evocative cadence and mood of the poem coupled with the reading quality made the poem an instant favorite. Alfred Noyes "The Highway Man" stands as one of the most mystical and romantic of poems I have ever heard. There is a pulse that runs through it as strong as a lover's heart beat and an echo of horses hooves carrying fate to its destination.
To this moment, a moonlight landscape can still evoke that memory. Then I swear I can hear the sound of distant horses hooves...riding, riding...




In the early 1990's accounts of a "Hatchet House" with accompanying awful murder and porch painted red to hide "all the blood", began to appear in local OKC newspapers.
An axe welding murderer chases down a school girl, chopping her up and disposing of the body. Every house were she had sought help but found silence was then painted red as a mark of their guilt in the girl's death.

Soon tales of swings moving in the moonlight.....and ghostly voices of children playing..... began to flesh out the vague and lurid premise. Now, every Halloween local haunters flock to the historic district of the Gatewood Neighborhood to find the notorious house with hatchet cutouts...or the red painted porch....or the driveway where 'they found the body.'

This seemed like an easy find....track down the dastardly crime....solve the mystery...provide some background for this legend. Most versions seem to date the crime in the 1950's. Several other common urban legends do begin in the late 1950's and can be tracked in the news.
So far...however, no such OKC crime has come to light. The area only dates back to the 1920's when it boomed along with various other areas of the city. An official history document even dates it only to the 1930's. Its classic hometown feel and its historic homes kept it a special place for many decades. There was tragedy as children, going to and coming from, the local elementary school were killed in accidents. Some crime....natural deaths, but no murders. Findng a grim and ghastly crime worthy of such a horrific legend....has so far drawn a blank.

It is similar to the tale in the Don Knotts comedy, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." The small town with a haunted house, ghostly organ music and blood stained keys. Here, substitute the "Hatchett House" and generally bad reputation.

Unless, and until, something definite is discovered this is no doubt another OKC Urban Legend. So, drive through the area and enjoy the neighborhood that is on the national historic registry.....but give the folks there a rest because there is really nothing else to see there.

(Originally published 2008; updated 2013)



Let me tell you about...."Tellabration" (R) - A global celebration of storytelling held each November.

Each November storytellers around the globe celebrate storytelling in evening concerts in homes, halls, fields, theaters, bookstores, schools, and any place they can share their love of the art form. In 1988, a storytelling guild in Connecticut decided to offer a special evening of storytelling. It proved so satisfying that they planned more and soon they were happening all over the country!

According to one source, Oklahoma's first "TELLABRATION! (R)" was in 1992 at the Sooner Theater in Norman and was produced by Letty Watt. Over the years some producers have included: Letty Watt, Bob Bjorkland, Lois Hartman, Fran stallings, Lynn Moroney, Rosemary Czarski, Marilyn Hudson....

Some of the Oklahomans who contributed their talent to sharing stories in the state's many "Tellabrations!" include: Ginger La Croix, Letty Watt, Theresa Black, Robert and Marie Harris, Barabra McBride-Smith, Patsy Packard, David Titus, Weckeach Bradley, Jared Aubrey, Bob Bjorklund, Lois Hartman, Kris Hunt, Peggy Kaney, Sam McMichael, Jo Etta Martneay Bryan, Whit Edwards, Debra Garnejkul, Connie Fisher, Vance Morrow, Sky Shivers, Steve and Pat Kardolff, Will Hill, Tina Saner, Emilea Moring, Kathryn Thurman, Marilyn A. Hudson, Chester Weems, Rosemary Czarski, Liz Parker, Bonnie Smith, Jeannette Harjo, Stella Long, Shaun Perkins, Molly Lemmons, Kim Green, and others.

In the Tulsa, Oklahoma area Connie Fisher and Darla L'Allier have produced them at various locale venues, such as Borders Book Store.
Some sources for news of Tellabration events: Territory Tellers website, Oklahoma Tellers news blog, and the national page for the event.

Note: If you kow of other names or details regarding these events - please send them to me. The poster is from the 2002 event hosted by the Pioneer Library System in Norman, Oklahoma. Featured tellers: Lynn Moroney, Jahruba Lembeth, Maureen McGovern and Marilyn A. Hudson.

I Write Like...

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

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