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Historic Preservation

As a part of its mission, the Capitol-Medical Center Improvement and Zoning Commission works to preserve historical, architectural and archaeological resources located in the district. To date, the commission has designated three historic districts and one historical landmark:

Any exterior work on properties or sites located within these districts, zoned either Historic Preservation or Historic Landmark, requires a Certificate of Appropriateness to be issued by the commission’s Historical Preservation and Landmark Board of Review or commission staff. Review of projects is subject to the commission’s zoning rules (Oklahoma Administrative Rules, Title 120, Chapter 10) and the commission’s Historic Preservation Standards and Guidelines.

If you are considering a project within a historic preservation district, please review the Historic Preservation Standards and Guidelines  and the Application for Historic Preservation Review. For application deadlines and meeting dates, please check the application deadline schedule.

Capitol-Lincoln Terrace Historic District

The Capitol-Lincoln Terrace Historic District was established by the commission in 1974. The following is excerpted from the district’s 1976 nomination to the National Register of Historic Places:

In fact as well as in popular fancy, Oklahoma and oil are one ... a new state and a new industry grown up together. And the Capitol-Lincoln Terrace Historic Preservation District, a compact collection of 153 fine residences standing virtually within the shadow of the state capitol itself, is an eminently fitting symbol of this unique relationship.

Oklahoma became the 46th state of the Union in 1907. Three years later, in 1910, the capital was moved to Oklahoma City from Guthrie and plans were soon under way to provide a suitable Capitol. That massive classic structure was completed in 1917 with Oklahoma City itself lying a mile to the south, connected by a dirt road leading across an unbroken pastureland.

Into the breech moved John J. Culbertson, who had donated part of the land on which the Capitol was built. Within a year he had opened up to homebuilders a section southeast of the Capitol that was to become Lincoln Terrace. Before 1918 had ended the first two homes had been constructed. Some 75 were built in the 1920s. Most of the others in the preservation district were erected in the 1930s.

Initial impetus for development came, of course, from the political sector, but oil was a strong contributing factor. In 1920, Oklahoma ranked first in oil production in the United States. Lincoln Terrace soon became the place to live for political leaders, newly rich oilmen, and other notables real and would-be in the young state. When the ITIO-Foster No. 1 blew in on Dec. 4, 1928 some five miles to the south, Oklahoma City changed from capital city of an oil producing state to an oil capital in its own right. The Oklahoma City Field with single wells capable of producing up to 60,000 barrels a day was one of the nation's significant discoveries.

Before long, the procession of drilling rigs marched north and west to engulf the city's east side and the Capitol complex itself. When the city council refused to include state-owned land within authorized drilling zones, then Gov. E.W. Marland, himself an oilman, placed the area under martial law and issued drilling permits in defiance of the city government. Oil derricks, tanks, and miscellaneous drilling equipment soon dotted the state property ... including one rig in the garden of the Governor's Mansion.

This frenzied activity left an indelible stamp on the Capitol-Lincoln Terrace district. Not only was the Lincoln Boulevard esplanade along the west edge of the district an actual working oil field (it contains several producing wells to this day), but the preservation district itself soon acquired a disproportionate number of homeowners who were petroleum industry leaders. A recently compiled list shows at least 32 important Oklahoma oilmen who had or still have homes in Lincoln Terrace.

Included are three former state governors Roy J. Turner, Johnston Murray, and Robert S. Kerr. Other prominent figures to live in the area include General W.S. Key, commander of the 45th Infantry Division in World War II; Orel Busby, justice of the State Supreme Court; George Shirk, former Oklahoma City mayor and long-time president of the Oklahoma Historical Society; Moss Patterson, aviation pioneer; Bishop Thomas Casady, early-day Episcopalian leader; and Leslie Fain, for whose wife globe-circling aviator Wiley Post named his "Winnie Mae” airplane. ...

… A secondary factor in preserving the district is the continuing influence of the city's growing medical complex immediately to the south. University Hospital, teaching facility of the University of Oklahoma Medical School, was dedicated in 1919. From the first, many of the state's best known physicians were residents of the historic district. As the complex grew into the present Health Sciences Center, more doctors, medical personnel, and Center agencies have moved into the district's fine houses.

Lincoln Terrace East Historic District

The Lincoln Terrace East Historic District was established by the commission in 2018. The following is excerpted from the district’s 2004 nomination to the National Register of Historic Places:

The Lincoln Terrace East Historic District is comprised of buildings, mostly homes, built primarily in Period Revival styles such as Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Prairie School, Mission Revival, and Italian Renaissance Revival styles. The vast majority of buildings are single story, domestic buildings that have brick or mixed-masonry walls, prominent chimneys, engaged porches, and multiple gables. While many of the buildings look similar it is clear upon inspection that no two are alike. They differ considerably in detail (i.e. brick color, level of ornamentation, orientation, gable and/or chimney placement). The buildings are similar in design and feel to those in the Capitol-Lincoln Terrace Historic District, but much smaller in scale. Like the Capitol-Lincoln Terrace Historic District to the west, Lincoln Terrace East has remained relatively undisturbed, and retained the character, setting, and feeling that it originally embodied when initially developed. ...

The Lincoln Terrace East Historic District is significant as a reflection of the residential development of Oklahoma City during the period from 1925 to 1942. This is communicated through the spatial layout of the neighborhood and the character of the middle class homes that dominate it. The district is a distinctive entity marked by street patterns, setbacks, house sizes and a unity of design.

Wilson-Harn Historic District

The Wilson-Harn Historic District was established by the commission in 1978. Originally established as Classen’s North Highland Parked, and now a part of the Lincoln Terrace neighborhood, the Wilson-Harn Historic District was named after William Freemont Harn, original homesteader to the area, and his philanthropist niece, Florence Wilson. The addition was developed by Anton Classen, an early Oklahoma City real estate baron and civic leader. During the 1920s and 1930s, Wilson-Harn was home to several prominent state and national figures, including:

Johnston Murray – the 14th governor of Oklahoma (1951-1955) and son of Gov. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray (421 N.E. 15th St.).

Wirt Franklin – a state and nationally known figure in the oil industry who helped found the Independent Petroleum Association of America and sought the imposition of tariffs on foreign-produced oil in order to protect Oklahoma and national oil industries (1515 N. Lincoln Boulevard).

Jewell Hicks – an architect with the architectural firm Layton, Hicks and Forsythe, who is credited with designing the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion and many other significant buildings across the state (400 N.E. 14th St.).

James Brazell – a former lumber and oil businessman who is credited with owning the first automobile in Oklahoma, and was, at one time, the oldest licensed pilot in the state (440 N.E. 14th St.).

The district contains homes of many architectural styles that were prominent from the 1890s to 1920s, including Prairie, Georgian Revival, Neoclassical, Federal and Spanish Revival.

Maywood Presbyterian Church

The Maywood Presbyterian Church was designated a historical landmark by the commission in 1986. The site of the Maywood Presbyterian Church is located in the Maywood addition, which was platted in 1893 by Capt. David F. Stiles and James Geary. Stiles was well-known as the provost marshal that resided over Oklahoma Station during the land run of April 1889. Geary opened the first bank in Oklahoma City in 1889. The church is sited adjacent to Stiles Park, the first park in Oklahoma City.

The Maywood Presbyterian Church, which now houses the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, was completed in 1907, the year of statehood, and was the first permanent church structure erected in Oklahoma City. The cornerstone of the church was laid on Nov. 24, 1907, eight days after Oklahoma became the 46th state. The church was constructed by two congregations, the Cumberland and Presbyterian branches of the Presbyterian Church, whose denominations had split over differences arising during the Civil War.

The newly-formed congregation remained in the Maywood Presbyterian Church until Christmas of1946. Two other congregations called the church home from 1946-1977, when the church became vacant. In 1980, the church was condemned by the City of Oklahoma City, transferred to the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, and then sold to a company that renovated the church and constructed an addition to be used for offices.

Architecturally, the church has elements of both Romanesque (round, arched windows) and Italian Renaissance (“quoins” or dressed stones at the corners laid so that faces are alternately large and small). Initially, the church was surrounded by stately homes and commercial buildings, but all original construction in the Maywood addition was demolished during the Urban Renewal era to make way for the Centennial Expressway and a modern office park.


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