Isaac Wesley Rodkey was born in Maryland, the son of a farmer, in 1864. In 1881, Issac moved to McPherson, Kansas, to learn the flouring mill business. Here Isaac met Alice Kate (known as Catherine) Rank, in 1888.
In 1894 the Rodkey family, which included two young children, moved to Oklahoma City where he became a partner in Acme Mill. Three years later the Rodkeys moved to Edmond and Isaac and his new partner, George Farrar, purchased the Gallihue-Martin Mill, renaming it Eagle Flouring Mill.
The Rodkey family now had three children, Bess and her younger brothers Earl and Don. The family had been living in a rental house but soon moved into a fine new home. Built in 1900, it was on a corner lot facing Normal Avenue, later named Campbell Street. Rodkey’s partner, George Farrar, built a home directly behind the Rodkeys across the alley.
Catherine quickly became active in Edmond social and cultural life as well as Methodist Church activities. Early newspaper articles attest to her skill and talent as a hostess for these various groups. She was the founder of the Edmond Gardening Club which became active in landscaping Edmond’s first city park, North Park. The later named Mitch Park was located directly across the street from the Rodkey home and for many years was filled with flowers and trees and shaded paths as well as a grand fountain. Today it is the site of the downtown US Post Office.
In 1911, Rodkey bought out Farrar, and sold one-half interest in the mill to his eldest son, Earl. The Rodkey Mill was one of the most successful businesses in Edmond, Oklahoma for many years. The flouring mill was closed in 1972. In 1922, Issac purchased a large brick home on Jackson Street and sold the Campbell home to his youngest son, Don, who lived there with his wife until 1960. The home went through a series of ownerships until an Edmond businessman donated it to the City of Edmond.
The historic Rodkey home is now located in Stephenson Park, and following a renovation in 2016, the house now is the site of EHS&M programs and events.
These photographs from the EHS&M photograph collection have been digitized and made available though an Improving Access to Collections Grant sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Records Advisory Board, administered through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, and funded by the National Archives – National Historical Publications and Records Commission. For more information please contact [email protected]