Weather Dog Report...
Well! It's about time that NW Okie let us get in here. How did you Oklahomans like the rain and snow we towed here ... all the way from Colorado? Didn't think we could do it, did you? If NW Okie says she is going to do something, she tries awfully hard to accomplish it!
NW Oklahoma Territory Battle & Mural...
Alva has added another mural to this "City of Murals" since we were here last. If you are in Alva, drive downtown to Flynn Avenue & Seventh Street -- Look to the northeast corner -- westside of the "Higginbotham" building (where the Grande Theatre & Liberty Theatre once stood long time ago) -- you can catch a glimpse of this famous NW Oklahoma Territory battle. Yep! Alva is becoming a "Mural City," isn't?
(1935) Burning of Castle On the Hill...
Burning of the Castle on the Hill, Alva, Okla. 1895-1935 -- After browsing through old yearbooks, family journals, and old newspaper clippings from the archives of the newspaper department at the Oklahoma Historical Society, this is what we compiled about Alva, Oklahoma's "Castle on the Hill." The following article is taken from The Alva Daily Record, Volume 33, Number 53, pg. 1 & 2, Friday, March 1, 1935. It concerns the burning of "The Castle on the Hill" (Northwestern State Normal School) that burned completely down Friday, March 1, 1935, in the early morning hours around 2:30a.
BULLETIN: Every citizen in Alva interested in the Northwestern State Teachers college is called to meet this morning at 10 o'clock at Herod hall to discuss plans for rebuilding the college administration building. The announcement of the call was issued this morning at 5 o'clock by Charles Lamphere, president of the chamber of commerce. The call is urgent and every person in Alva is asked to be present.
BULLETIN: The residence belonging to Harry Williams, Fifth and Normal, was in flames this morning at 5:15, and probably will be almost a total lose.
BULLETIN: Arrangements will be made to carry on college class work Monday in spite of the destruction of the administration building. "There positively will be school Monday," Dean Sabin C. Percefull declared this morning. "Efforts will be made to obtain the use of local churches for class rooms," he said.
"Old Main," the adminisrtation building of Northwestern college, was completely destroyed by flames of unknown origin that broke out early Friday morning. A high wind accelerated the spreading of the flames, and the entire fire department with an army of volunteers worked far into the morning, but the flames continued to spread.
Three college students, who had their sleeping quarters in the building, were trapped on the roof. Their frantic cries for help roused G. R. Bradley, college engineer, from his quarters in the engine room on the campus. Bradley cut ropes from the stage settings in Herold hall and came to the rescue. The fire department arrived in time to save the boys with ladders.
The alarm was turned in by Bob Deal and Herman Hammerstead of the Magnolia Service Station across from the campus. When the trucks arrived, the three boys, Floyd Antis, Tony Anderson and Clyde Friend, were trapped on the southwest corner of the roof with the flames lapping around them. The ladders were erected just in time to prevent them from being burned.
No Insurance: There is no insurance covering the approximately $100,000 building, and there was little hope of saving the library with its 30,000 volumes worth about 50 or 75 thousand dollars as the high wind from the south fanned the flames beyond control. The water pressure in the hose was not sufficient to reach all parts of the roof where the worst flames were raging.
The fire war reported to have started in the attic of the huge building, but before the alarm was turned in, the first floor was in flames, too. Bradley suggested that the obsolete wiring in the building as a possible cause of the fire.
Volunteers Help: The fire department's entire force was supported in its valient efforts to check the flames by a host of volunteer college students and citizens who rushed to the scene when the siren spread the alarm. The leaping flames could be seen from all parts of town.
The oiled floors in the building burned like tinder, and the wind aided in spreading the fire to all parts of the great edifice. Black smoke poured out of every vent in the red brick structure as the "Castle On the Hill" became a seething furnace.
Immediately after rescuing the three students from their precarious position on the blazing roof, the fire fighters turned to the east door and battered it down. The lower floor was flooded with water, and every effort was made to cut the fire off from the library on that floor, but those efforts failed.
Army in Fight: The army of men were fighting the flames from the time the first truck reached the scene at about 2:30 in the morning on, but it was impossible to gain control of the flames.
The oldest building on the campus, affectionately called "Old Main" was being completely destroyed with records and books, invaluable to the college. The loss will be a tremendous blow to the state, the administration and the students.
The students of the college had just finished a special schedule that made up the three weeks of class work missed during the "scarlet fever epidemic," and another great shake-up in their class work and schedule is evident now that the main building on the campus has been destroyed.
Alva School Built After Long Battle: Historical Sketch of City Institution Gives Many Interesting Angles. The administration building of Northwestern State Teachers college, destroyed by fire, Friday morning at 3 o'clock, was erected in 1898 at a cost of approximately $100,000, and was the result of untiring efforts of many of the best known pioneer residents of northwestern Oklahoma.
These are notes from Grandpa William J. "Bill" McGill's journal, dated March 1, 1935, where he wrote, "The old Administration building burned down -- Boy! Was everybody sick. March 14, 1935 - $300,000 passed by both houses to rebuild. Only 4 opposition -- parade by everybody at noon, March 14, 1935."
The Rest of the Story...
Warwick (Oklahoma) Country School Reunion... "Thanks to you & Duchess, for making it possible to make contact with my ole school mates, from Warwick, Oklahoma country school. I was surfing the web, about 1 1/2 years ago, and by the grace of God, and you, I ran across a letter from Ruth Oliver, from Warwick. I had moved to Iowa, 60 years ago, and had lost all contact of my schoolmates. Well, last May we had our first annunal Warwick Country School Renuion. This was thrown together in 5 dasy, with 35 in attendence. We are planning to hold the second annual Warwick School reunion."
Northwestern Normal School President - James E. Ament...
The President of Northwestern Normal School, James E. Ament, was a native of Illinois, and a graduate of the Illinois State Normal school at Normal, Illinois, was superintendent of the city schools at Carrol, Iowa, Rock Island, Ill., and several other cities. Mr. Ament arrived in Alva on September 15, 1897, and at once begun preparations to open school September 20th, that was previously announced by the commercial club through the newspapers. The school opened on that date with an enrollment of 58 young men and women, and a veral members of the commercial club were present to see the beginning. On the first Monday in November, 1897, 100 were enrolled.
In the mean time president Ament was working with the commercial club on a propostion to place before the board of regents and Gov. Barnes on December 1. Mr Ament, with the assistance of Prof. J. J. Brockway, county superintendent, had compiled school statistics that were formidable evidence of the need of a large building here. Mr. Ament contended that we should not intimate that a building to cost less than $100,000 would be sufficient here, and that we should insist that we would fill that large a building with students within five years after its completion. At the board meeting on Dec. 1st, the letting of the contract was put off again. Then for some reason (we will let the reader guess) the secretary of the board received several hundred letters from young people all over Woods and adjoining counties, wanting to know when the new normal building would be completed. Mr. Ament was corresponding with an old friend, John Volk, at Rock Island, Illinois, one of the largest contractors in the state, and when the board again met January 20, 1898, Mr. Volk was present with Mr. Ament; but the plans were changed and enlarged again, and the board advertised for bids to be opened on March 10. The board after considering several bids, let the contract on that date to John Volk & Co., for the building., for $86,018.00. BUT... changes, additions, furniture, etc, cost over $110,000.00 when everything was ready for school work, September 11, 1899.Other Presidents of Northwestern:
Ted White Family Inquiry...
"I am hoping that some of the people you mentioned, may be related to me. Ted White (if it is the same family) had 2 or 3 other brothers: Elbert, James, and maybe John? Their father worked in sawmills. Ted's father, they called General. Ted's mother was Naomi Maddox/White who later remarried. Two of the Graham brothers married into our family. Does this sound familiar? If this is the same family, do you have any additional information on what happened to General White (Ted's father) or Ted's little brother James Wesley White?" -- Tina White - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quit Claim Deed (QCD)...
"Hey Duchess! No Big Deal... BUT, Tell Oakie in this last weeks 'Okie Legacy' the reference to a QCD "Quick Claim Deed" really should be "Quit Claim Deed". Always enjoy the newsletter - Keep Up The Good Work!" -- An Old Landman
Talimena, Runestone & Spiro Mounds...
Warwick Country School Reunion...
"Thank you! Thank you!! We sure had a blast last year. After 60 years, some you recognize, and wow, some I'd never recognize. I think the high light was, some one grabbing the flag and every one running up on the stage, which 60 years ago, (seemed like) 600 sq ft, turned out to be about 8X10. Everyone joined in and sang, "YOU'RE A GRAND 0LE FLAG,' 'YOU'RE A HIGH FLYING FLAG.' One of our very important songs, during the war. OH! I really regretted not buying that camcorder." --Pauline Rodriguez
Alva's Healthful Spring Water...
"I had read the material regarding Mr. Foucart (however you spell it) before, but I had never given much thought to the paragraph regarding
Alva's water supply at the time, which was as follows: 'The sanitary history of the school and city has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that no more healthful place can be found than Alva and its immediate surroundings. The purest of spring water is
furnished the school and city, which largely assists in maintaining a high degree of healthfulness.'
Alva's Grimes Bridge (Oklahoma)...
"The Grimes wooden bridge is not there any more. It was washed out by flood around 1950 or 1951, I think. It has since been replaced by a concrete bridge. If you drive around the curve at Hatfield Pond and keep driving like you are going north out of town, you will cross the tracks (railroad) and drive about two miles. When you come to the river, you're at the NEW Grimes Bridge (as I call it). The Grimes/Wilcox Farm is located about a mile north of that.
Looking For Grave of Lester Smith...
"I need to find the grave of Lester Smith. He was the brother of my grandfather, Charlie Eugene Smith. His father was named Thomas Byron Smith, married to Alma Ester Handy, and may have been involved in the 'Cherokee Strip Land Run.' Their children were Charlie, George, Floyd, Sidney, Lester, Clarence, Inez and Elsie. Lester died in Augusta, Oklahoma, January 24, 1902 and is buried in Eagle Chief cemetery. I'm thinking or hoping there may be land claims filed by Thomas Smith in Alva or Enid for land around Carmen/Augusta. They all lived mainly in Waugegan, Illinois all their lives, but around 1900 they can to western Oklahoma until Lester died. Then they all moved back to Illinois. Maybe these 'city folk' couldn't handle the rough land. Like to find land records of where they lived exactly around Carmen or Augusta, any newspaper obit, paper trails and what caused Lester's death. Any info from anyone about this Smith family will be greatly appreciated. Thanks." -- Dallas D. Smith - Email: email@example.com
"Yes there was two Mound Ridge schools in Woods County. Strange but true. The one I went to was in N.W. Woods county north of Lookout 2 miles North and one mile east. I am not sure where this other Mound Ridge was located but I am betting it is the one you are inquiring about." -- Marty
Woodsman of the World Photo...
"I have an old photograph (a group of WOODSMEN of the WORLD) that a Cherokee friend left me in an estate that he said was of the WOODSMEN OF THE WORLD. I will try to take a digital photo of this picture and send it to you after next week. I was on a web-site that came up when I entered 'OLD ORGANIZATION' called 'WOODSMEN OF THE WORLD' and then I entered search. There are 33 men in this picture. On the website there was 36 listed. Not all had photos and it told about each man. This photo is so old that I am afraid to touch it. Can someone help me with this? He claimed to be a Cherokee Indian and that his mother was IMOGENE REED. BUT... he said his real name was different than what I knew. The photo was taken in his hometown in Texas. Please email me any questions! I believe the mans pictures on this site are the men in the photo." -- Rosemary Benson - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Outside of Colorado Snow Scenes...
It does snow outside Colorado, although usually not as spectacularly. The first photo was taken at my daughter's home in Somerset County, New Jersey. Nearly two feet had fallen a couple days previously. My grandson Chad Miller, five, is walking down there driveway in front of there home. The other photos were taken earlier this year in the Ozark Country in northwest Arkansas. My grandson Zack Cook and his mother have moved from south Louisiana, to 120 acres of the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks. The horse must be puzzled, having never seen snow before." -- Charles
Charlie Beard's Story & Sheepherders Shack...
This Sheepherder's shack is located west of Alva, Oklahoma, go about 20 miles West, or One (1) mile West of old Whitehorse and Tegarden, then go One (1) mile North and it sets on the North side of the road at that intersection. From Freedom, Oklahoma go three miles North to Camp Houston turn to the right and go about five miles East, then turn North and go one (1) mile, look for the 'Rock Covered Shack' or 'Bachelor's Pad.' My father, A.C. Melkus said, 'That Charlie Beard was a very unique man. He had no children, yet he was very high on education. He served many years on the Farry School board. My father helped Arch Long bury the severed leg in the Whitehorse cemetery. This web site that I have here is from The Alva Review Courier -- tells his story." -- Francis R. Melkus
Science Hall, Northwestern Campus, ca. 1908...
Another view of the Science Hall taken from the 1916-1917 Yearbook. By 1905, the Normal School had outgrown its quarters and the legislature appropriated $50,000 for the erection of the new Science Hall. The Science Hall, the second building to be built on campus, was completed in 1907. The architect incorporated the "Castle on the Hill's" towers and crenellations into the design of this structure which was built of red brick with algonite trim. It housed the departments of Biology, Physical Science, Manual Training, and Pedagogy, as well as the Training School,Library, and the Natural History Museum. When Carter Hall was built in 1936, this building became the Fine Arts Building.
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