Rodkey Flour Mill

Isaac Wesley Rodkey was born in Maryland, the son of a farmer, in 1864. His family was originally from Germany, immigrating to America in the early 1700’s. 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 brother 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 relocated to Stephenson Park. To learn more about its preservation and move, please visit the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust website.

 

Our thanks to the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust for this material.

In Memoriam

Eloise Rodkey Rees

1918 – 2012

Eloise Rodkey Rees was born at home in Edmond Jan. 28, 1918, and saw many changes in her hometown during her 94 years. Her
father and mother, Earl and Catherine Rodkey, were early Edmond pioneers.
She studied drama at the University of Oklahoma, receiving a Master of
Arts degree.
That is where she met her life’s love, Kenneth W. Rees.
They married in 1940 as World War II dawned, and she lived the next
four years in many locations, following her husband from post to post
until he shipped out for Europe in late-1944.
Her first son, Kenneth
Rodkey, was born before deployment; her daughter, Carol, while he was
overseas; and her second son, Robert, after he returned to Edmond and
began a career as a petroleum engineer. Her entire life was inspired by
her love of Christian Science and her unswerving trust in God. While her
children were young, her life was devoted to raising them and
supporting her husband in his career. She was blessed with lifelong
friendships with Edmond women drawn together in the absence of husbands
in harm’s way.
She enjoyed music and theater, using her talents in
song and piano to entertain and instruct her family. As her children
began leaving home, she embarked on a career as a writer that would
endure the rest of her life. A number of her novels were published, and
in her later years, she actively pursued production opportunities for
her screenplays and lyrical songs.
She was intensely interested in
the family business and managed her own investments. She was a generous
contributor to the arts in her community. Elosie was a steadfast supporter of the
Edmond Historical Society & Museum and restoration of the historic Rodkey Mill & Rodkey home.

 

Edmond Life & Leisure, Edmond Sun Photograph