Oklahoma Architect Leonard H. Bailey

Masonic Lodge/Journal Record Building
designed by Leonard H. Bailey
What do the Masonic Lodge Building (now the Journal Record building), the old multistory Kinkade Hotel and Lawrence Hotel, a small town jail, an Army Chapel at Fort Sill (1933) and Wesley United Methodist Church (1928) share in common?
The architectural skill of Leonard H. Bailey and the firm Bailey and Alden.  After completing training in London, Bailey traveled to the United States, finally arriving in Oklahoma in 1903.  William Matthews, busy then designing the Overholser Mansion, took him on as a very junior partner.
As Oklahoma entered the Union in 1907, he was launching out with his own firm.  He went into partnership with another local man, Virgil D. Alden in 1920.  Both men were members of the American Institute of Architecture.
Postcard of the Hotel Kingkade
designed by Leonard H. Bailey
Other buildings designed by Leonard H. Bailey exist around the state and some have achieved a place on the National and/or Oklahoma Register of Historic Places: The Prague Courthouse and Jail (1936), New Chapel at Fort Sill (near twin in style to Wesley Methodist; 1933).  Other jobs included the 1909 St. Paul's Parish House in Oklahoma City and the Woodward Arts Theater.

Wesley Methodist Church (UMC), designed by Leonard H. Bailey and his partner Virgil D. Allen, 1927-1928. 

Wesley Methodist Church Interior - Bailey and Allen architects, 1928

New Post Chapel, Fort Sill, Ok (1933) designed by Leonard H. Bailey



New Wesley Ties to Anton Classen Unearthed

Anton H. Classen Jr.
This early business leader of Oklahoma City was also a Methodist and he supported several early Methodist colleges, churches, and outreaches. He donated land to Wesley Methodist Church  in the early days; an area now known as the "Triangle".  For many years it was thought this was merely another example of his long standing support of Methodism and Oklahoma City groups.

The Triangle at NW 25 and Classen Blvd and the later landscaping all were evidence of the same generous spirit that supported the early Epworth University effort.  To see an excellent historical overview of Classen Blvd. fronting Wesley on the east, see this page.

Now, through research of this blog, it has been discovered  that there was more than mere civic support behind his gifts.  While searching through early membership rolls it was found that the brother and a sister of Anton H. Classen were members of Wesley Methodist Church.

John Randolph Classen, his wife Nysa and daughter Ruth J., while living at 1512 W 30th Street, united with the church on June 8, 1919.  The pastor at that time was Dr. Dean C. Dutton.
Anna Classen Wahl

Also, it has been discovered that other relatives were also members of Wesley.  Anton's father had been a member of the German Methodist Church of Oklahoma City. There was a daughter there as well named Anna Helena Sophia Classen Wahl.  The Wahls and several of their children's families were active members of Wesley (The McBride family and McAlister family). [See entries on the Wahl's elsewhere on this blog]
In the dedication program of May 1928 it reads: "Between the church building and Classen Boulevard in the foreground to the east is a triangular plot of ground which was given to the church by Mrs. Anton Classen and her late husband.  Mrs. Classen has provided a plan prepared by Hare and Hare, landscape architects of Kansas City, Mo., and will park the triangle according to the plan, thus providing an ideal setting for this beautiful Temple of God."(pg.16)

New Chronology of OKC Church Discovered: Wesley Methodist 1910

In convention in October of 1910 the Oklahoma Methodist Episcopal Church, North set aside $300 to build a new work in what was then the northwest outskirts of Oklahoma City. In 1900 a lot of the land in the area had been cornfields but developer I.M. Putnam, Anton Classen, Shartel and others saw opportunities and began selling.

1. First location: NW 25th and Military Park, 1910-1911

First service here was Sunday, Dec. 25, 1910 with Bishop William Quayle preaching. He gave the first $100 to a building fund begun that day. The above building was built using a $300 mission grant from the M.E. North Oklahoma Conference in October 1910. The church formally organized on Nov. 10, 1910.

2. Second church, NW 25th and Douglas Blvd, Epworth View Addition,(separated from
Classen Blvd. by a triangle of land given to the church by Anton H. Classen)

The "Sheep Shed" at NW 25 and Douglas, just off Classen Blvd.
An addition buts out on the right side. ca. 1911/15. They moved in the spring of 1911 to this location due to an influx of members with the closing of Epworth University.

3. Third Church structure, NW 25th and Douglas Blvd, Epworth View Addition,(separated from Classen Blvd. by a triangle of land given to the church by Anton H. Classen). Classes and events were conducted across NW 25 on land later sold to Kamp and on which he built his historic courtyard apartment complex in the late 1920's.

"The Dutton Tabernacle" 1920; You can see the 'bones' of the other structures if you look closely. Aggressive growth, diverse program and strong membership participation saw the church grow to nearly 1,000.

4. Fourth incarnation of the church's physical sanctuary, NW 25th and Douglas Blvd, Epworth View Addition,(separated from Classen Blvd. by a triangle of land given to the church by Anton H. Classen). Dedicated in May of 1928.

In 1924, F.A. Colwell, first pastor and now a contractor was responsible for tearing down the Dutton Tabernacle to make room for the new English Gothic sanctuary; a building across NW 25 was used for classes and events. In 1928 the above sanctuary was completed and dedicated. Later, the house was used as a youth and education building, Hadduck Hall. It was torn down in the 1970's.

Appreciation to the library and archives of Wesley UMC for use of these valuable images relating its history and its links to Oklahoma City history. For more incredible history of this church and its people (many deeply imbedded in the building of the city) visit here.



The House

For me, there is no greater mystery than an old house.  I want to know its history, the people who
lived there and the times they experienced.  A house says so much about its setting, its slice of history and the values people had.  It reveals the advances and trends in technology, motion, social relations and family values.
It is like a sponge in the way it can absorb the energies - both good and bad - of the people who resided there.  Its poor construction can cause headaches like the sprawling Winchester House of California.  Bungalows, designed to fulfill a life philosophy of comfort, welcome, and artistry can retain a sense of home even while setting trash strewn and vacant.
This photo I found in a tiny old shop ages ago...the photo called to me as these houses so often do. I see this photo and I see mystery...was it torn down or lovingly restored?  Do cars park where that house once stood so lovely and proud?  Have other families been sheltered and welcomed through that front door?
Unknown, and unanswerable, the house represents all the history lost, forgotten or discarded.  We are all poorer for the absence.


A Link to Some African-American History in Oklahoma

One of the interesting and noteworthy aspects about the work of the modern antiquarian is that in this connected and tech rich world so many are involved.  This means that so much more data can be uncovered, fresh views taken free of the biases of traditional disciplines and the linking of information to present a fuller and more comprehensive history of a subject.  A recent blog came to my attention, Black and White Journal, and it has some impressive research related to little known, and often ignored, aspects of Oklahoma history.  Hopefully, it will be a model for others to dig deep and share their findings...one person's tiny puzzle piece may be the answer to a long standing query.

Kudos to Black and White Journal.


Halliburton Department Store - Oklahoma City

During its life the Halliburton also existed in partner forms.  Scott-Halliburton (later Gloyd-Halliburton, McEwen-Halliburton, finally simply Halliburton's) (Oklahoma City). 

The popular department store was 118 feet high with 8 floors and 4 elevators and was constructed in 1920 at 327 West Main, it was a leading Oklahoma City department store until 1960 when urban renewal spelled its demise.

This sticker was on the back of a framed photograph.  


The Swastika in Early Oklahoma City

Forever connected to the Nazi Movement beginning in 1920's Germany, the shape commonly known as the swastika has much older roots. It is actually a prehistoric shape with associations to Hinduism, Native American art in Mound Builder cultures in Ohio, in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and into Central and South America, and can be found in some form on nearly every continent with strong presence in Asia. 
It had long associations of good fortune and this element was rediscovered in the late 1900's and became part of the spiritualism and alternate religious beliefs that emerged at that time. It was also first coming to the attention of the budding anthropologists of Native American early cultures.  
As early as 1906 there is an advertisement of the shape and the selling of various trinkets of luck. It cited the book by Thomas Wilson.  Thomas Wilson, curator of the U.S. National Museum authored a book, "The Swastika:The Earliest Known Symbol, and Its Migration; with Observations on the Migration of Certain Industries in Prehistoric Times" (1896), emphasized its role as a charm or amulet for good fortune.
In 1909 Duncan-Stone Reality was selling "Swastika Lots" around the area of the proposed new capitol building on Lincoln Blvd.
During the early statehood days until just the late 1930's there was literary club in Oklahoma City called the Swastika Study Club.  They formed in March of 1907 as a self-improvement and charitable organization according to The Story of Oklahoma City. In 1908 they met at the home of Mrs. G.A. Finninger, 3301 Epworth Blvd. (Oklahoman, Feb.16, 1908,pg.15).
File:IndusValleySeals swastikas.JPG
Indus Valley Civilization Seal
It was not such a lucky sign in 1940 when resident Clarence Hicks Jr. was faced with living in a home adorned with a yellow swastika on the brown brick face of the house.  The headline said it all: "It's An Old Indian Sign: But It Looks Mighty Nazti (sic)" (Oklahoman Dec.29, 1940, pg. 23).  The house was located at 208 NW 32 in Oklahoma City. How it was dealt with then is unknown but today, it appears to have a coat of paint over the location of the offending symbol.

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