Century Chest Then and Now

by Lynne Rostochil

Last week, members of Retro Metro OKC got a sneak peek at some of the Century Chest goodies that were excavated recently from the First Lutheran Church downtown.  Among the items that were so carefully packed in the chest back in 1913 were 50 copies of the Oklahoman that, miraculously, remain in excellent condition after being buried underground for 100 years.  Chad Williams, Director of Research at the History Center, let us look through one of these old newspapers, and I thought that it would be fun to do a little “then and now” photography with some of buildings that appear in the profusely illustrated edition.  Today, we’re going to focus on a few of the homes….

This lovely Spanish-style home was under construction on Classen between NW 35th and NW 36th when the newspaper came out.  The caption underneath the photo reads, “This residence is being constructed of stucco with a tile roof and pergola.  It covers a ground floor space 30×40 feet and will cost $6,000 ($142,000 in 2013 dollars).  It will be one of the most unique designs in residential architecture in Oklahoma City.”  The home was designed by Stewart Wilderson.  Here’s the site today:

I looked at the 1969 aerial map on OKCtalk and found that the home was still around back then (http://www.okctalk.com/images/1969/196936western.jpg), so it must have been demolished not long before this office building was constructed in the 80’s.

Next up is this beauty a block away at NW 36th and McKinley:

Originally built for the C.R. Hoffer family, the grand home looks much the same today:

A few blocks south on McKinley, the Oklahoman captured a shot of recently completed bungalows:

Unfortunately, this block was knocked down and replaced with an apartment complex in the 70’s, which, from the looks of its dilapidated state, might become the victim of the wrecking ball itself soon:

Over in Heritage Hills, this marble and limestone gem at NW 14th and Hudson was being completed for C.B. Ames at a cost of a whopping $85,000 (that’s over $2 million in today’s money):

Although it’s undergoing a renovation, the home is in beautiful original condition and remains one of the Metro’s grandest residences:

Here’s one at 1521 NW 23rd:

A commercial building housing a Family Dollar is on the site now, as you can see in this Googlemaps image:

That’s it for this week.  We will have more Century Chest then and now coming up soon.

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