Edmond Beginnings

By nightfall on April 22, 1889, Edmond was born. Tents were erected
for homes and businesses, and soon were replaced with wooden structures.
As expected, the business district flourished around the railroad.
The main business district was from the railroad tracks to Broadway,
and between First and Second Street. Early settlers called Second
Street, “2” Street and Broadway, “Broad Street”.

 

Early Edmond homes displayed a variety of architectural
styles. Two homes with interesting histories include the Ruhl Home
and the Howard Home. In 1908, Dr. A.M. Ruhl built a one-story home
at 328 E. First. In 1928 he decided to make it into a two-story home
by lifting the first story and building a second story and basement
beneath the first story. Today the home is the Arcadian Inn. The Howard
Home was built in 1908 on Hurd Street. In 1927, the Flesher family
who owned the house at the time decided to move the entire home to
607 N. Boul
evard. They left all the items in the home, cut
it in half, and moved it to Boulevard. Today the home is restored
to its historical colors.

The Works Progress Administration, started by Franklin D. Roosevelt
in the early 1930’s, helped stimulate work following the depression.
A characteristic of WPA projects was the use of local building materials
for construction. Many of the native sandstone buildings around Edmond
were products of this program and include: Gracelawn Cemetery Rock
Wall, Stephenson Park, Edmond Community Center, Edmond Armory (now
the EHSM), American Legion and Central State Dormitories.

The Edmond Historical Society Museum building was constructed in 1936
by the WPA for military purposes at a cost of $39,501. It was the
regimental headquarters of the 179th Infantry, 45th Division. Troops
were deployed from the building on September 16, 1940 for WWII and
on September 1, 1950 for the Korean War. (Building Fun Facts: In the
1950’s, Preservation Hall was used as a public skating rink.
Also around that time, during the circus’ winter break black
dancing bears were kept and trained in this building.) The 179th used
the armory until the 1970’s when they built a new building. The
armory then reverted to the City of Edmond. The City currently owns
the building and the Edmond Historical Society rents it for $1 a year.