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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History Tid-Bits

The Jens-Marie Hotel

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by Kay County Media LLC as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

The Jens-Marie was a Mecca for the men in the oil industry during the boom era when Kay County was a hot bed of Oil Fields. Many an oil deal and trade was made there on the premises.

Four men, partners in the Jens-Marie Oil Company, constructed the building. They were James J. Young, Dennis E. Mooney, James M. VanWinkle and Henry Bucker. The hotel got its name from the oil company who, in turn, had gotten its name from the first names of a couple on whose farm, the firm had drilling operations and oil wells, Jens and Marie Christensen. 

When the men decided to build the hotel, they had no name for it. Building materials and pre-fabricated units for the hotel were shipped in the name of Jens-Marie Oil Company. Arriving in Ponca City, they were deposited on the hotel site, earlier a flourishing potato patch.

Workmen, asked what all the materials were for, answered "The Jens-Marie," meaning the oil company. From then on there was no problem in naming the hotel - it was the Jens-Marie and remained so until May, 1974, when it changed hands and was renamed the Grand Hotel. However, the name reverted to the Jens-Marie when the property went to receivership 10 months later.

Since Kay County was the center of oil drilling operations in Oklahoma during the late 1920's, it was only natural that the new six-story 125-room brick hotel became the oil dealing center of the state at that time.

Besides the proximity of the fortune-making "black gold" the hotel, opening in February 1924, boasted the frequent presence of such oil personalities as Lew Wentz, E.W. Marland, Bill McFadden, Frank Phillips, and others. Although these men did not inhabit living quarters in the hotel, they often could be found in the dining room, coffee shop, or lobby talking oil and making deals.

Ponca City was the center of northern Oklahoma as far as oil producing and refining were concerned. The Marland interests brought visitors in and they would stay at the Jens-Marie.

People selling things to the oil people would stay there. In those days there a number of oil well suppliers and they had warehouses here. It was a busy place, people coming and people going. That was the time when there was oil production on all four sides of Ponca City.

During the boom days from 1922 to 1930 the population of Ponca City doubled from around 10,000 to 20,000. Marland enlarged the refinery and the South side and Donahue Addition were built.

The Ponca City Downtown Inc., a corporation of local businessmen, purchased the Jens-Marie property at a sheriff's auction in October, 1975 for $79,000. The property had gone to receivership in March of 1975. There has been no announcement concerning its  fate.

At 12:00 p.m., on Sunday, August 15, 1976, the Jens-Marie Hotel doors were padlocked and the colorful history of the hotel was brought to a close.

Potatoes, To Hotel, To Parking Lot

From a thriving potato patch to the site of a $355,000 hotel in 1924, the land where the Jens-Marie is located, will soon be turned into a free parking lot for customers shopping in the downtown area. The hotel, which has stood for 53 years, was demolished by explosives on Sunday, January 8, 1978 at 8:00 a.m.

Preparations for leveling the old Jens-Marie Hotel building by explosives was done by Ark Wreaking Co., based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Explosives were be used only in the basement and on the ground floor level. The walls were pulled in by cables and the center columns were severed first. A split second later other strategically selected columns were cut and the building folded in on itself, and so was the end of the Jens-Marie Hotel.

The Hotel That Oil Built..........

..........Meets The Sands Of Time