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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1924 - 1925 - 1926

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.

1924 — The Jens-Marie Hotel opened at Second Street and Cleveland. Four pioneer oilmen funded the $350,000 building. The new six-story brick structure became the Mecca for men in the oil boom era. There were 125 guest rooms including twelve luxurious suites. Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Wiker were the first lessees and managers.

The six-story Masonic Building at Third Street and Grand Avenue was built, funded in part by Lew Wentz. This was the first real office building in downtown Ponca City. Security Bank and Trust occupied the first two floors. Lew Wentz organized the Wentz Oil Corporation on the third floor.

The new Garfield School building was completed at a cost of $104,297.

Southwestern Bell Telephone erected a new building at Second Street and Chestnut. The Ponca City News moved into their new building at Third Street and Cleveland. Roy Mertz opened Mertz Machine shop at Pine Street and Grand Avenue. Donahoe Milling Company added to their elevator storage in anticipation of building a new flourmill.

At the Colony Restaurant in New York City, sculptor Jo Davidson was introduced to E.W. Marland. He shared his dream of a sculpture to honor America's pioneer woman, whom he referred to as "America's Sunbonnet Woman." A few months later, Marland met with the artist in Paris and contracted with him to create three statues, one of himself as an oilman and the other two of his adopted children, Lydie and George.

The Ruby Hospital and Maternity Home was opened. Mrs. Ruby transformed her home into a "Protestant" hospital as a living monument to the memory of her husband, Charles, who had founded the Ponca City Oil, Gas and Mineral Company. It was Ida Ruby's goal to furnish the best hospital service at the lowest possible cost.

The Terrapin Derby became a new event at the annual Labor Day 101 Ranch rodeos. Joe Miller thought of the idea while watching land terrapins (turtles) crawl to get out of the sun. All turtles were identified by numbers painted on their backs. The entry fee was $2 for each turtle entered in the race. Of this, $1 from each entry went to the first place winner and the remainder went to 2nd and 3rd place winners. The winner was "Shingles," owned by former mayor Harry Cragin, who won $114.


1925 – Ponca City had 15,000 citizens and 18 miles of brick or concrete streets, three fire trucks, five grade schools, and more than twenty hotels, with nine in two blocks of South First and Second Streets.

The Soldani family tore down the house at Central and Ninth Street where they had raised their 10 children. The new house was built over the original basement and the cut sandstone blocks at the original porches were kept intact with the new house designed around them. The architect was George F. Cannon and the contractor was O.F. Keck. They paid $92,000 for the new 8,000 square foot residence.

Architect John Duncan Forsyth learned that oilman E.W. Marland was planning to build his "Palace on the Prairie." After following Marland clear to Estes Park, Colo., Forsyth was finally able to talk to Marland, and he received the commission to design the mansion.

The Marland gatehouse, located at 747 North Fourteenth Street, was the first building on the Marland Estate. Forsyth and his staff of architects used the building “as their office. It was also Mr. Marland's very private office.

The C.R. Anthony store - opened in Ponca City.

The new Gill Funeral Home I building was completed. Located on the southwest corner of North Second Street and East Cleveland, the two story structure cost $35,000.

The Ponca City Lions Club 'built a model home in the recently developed Acre Homes Addition. Located at 144 Fairview, it was built on land whose original covenants - included "the ownership of only one mule." Sid and Birdie May Dellaplain were the first owners.

The National American Legion organization allocated $75,000 for Oklahoma to provide help for the needy children of World War I veterans. Marland convinced them to start a Home School in Ponca City for these children. He donated 120 acres of land, and he and Bill McFadden each donated $35,000 to build the first two billets.

In March, the D.A.R. raised $5500 to build the War Memorial Water Fountain at the Civic Center. The names of all the people who donated were placed in the cornerstone of the fountain. Nov. 11, 1925, Armistice Day, the fountain was dedicated and Mayor Callahan accepted the fountain for the city. Jack and Jim Trout uncovered the bronze marker with the names of 293 area men who had served in World War I.

The hospital fund drive raised $250,000 and construction began on a new hospital at Fourteenth Street and Hartford, on land donated by E.W. Marland.

In the 1920s, the military leaders at Fort Sill, Okla., deemed the original state flag unacceptable. They, with other concerned citizens and organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, sponsored a state-wide contest for a new state flag design. Louise Fluke, a Ponca Citian, was urged to enter the state flag contest.

She actually submitted two designs, and one of them was unanimously selected. The new flag was adopted by the state legislature.

The new "101 Ranch Great Far East and Real Wild West Show" took to the road once again in 30 new steel railroad cars including a magnificent private car for the Miller brothers. An Arabian troupe, Scottish and Russian bands and several new circus acts were added to the show.


1926 – The new fifty-bed "Hospital on the Hill" opened.

In May, a construction camp was located near the south water tower. The settlement included many children of school age. They were attending Garfield school, which was causing crowded conditions. The board of education built four frame bungalows on loaned lots to serve as a temporary "school" in the area. Originally known as the South Side School, the name was later changed to McKinley School.

Curtis Hall was elected mayor. He had been a city council member for 14 years, and in 1919, had helped draft the City Charter. He also designed the new fire station on West Grand. His commissioners were F.D. Sparks and Ben Dawson.

Mrs. Mary Virginia Marland died on June 7. She had been ill with cancer for several years.

On Aug. 18, a bond issue was approved to build a new high school. The land on North Fifth Street was purchased from E.W. Marland. Smith & Senter were the architects who specified Spanish architecture for the new building, complimenting other public buildings in the city.

Attucks School was built for the African American children living in south Ponca City, which was known as Dixie Hill.

In October, E.W. Marland invited twelve of the leading sculptors of the world to submit competitive designs in the form of small models, depicting a pioneer woman.

Marland invited artist Jo Davidson to come to Ponca City to sculpt statues of his two adopted children, Lydie and George and of Marland himself.

On Oct. 10, The Ponca City News published an unusual special section devoted to polo.

A nine-team Polo Tourney was scheduled to open that day.

Marland encouraged his associates and the whole community to ride to the hounds and learn jumping. Farmers installed "jumps" in their fences and many children learned horsemanship.

On Dec. 16, the city council approved a bond issue election for a new water and light plant ($300,000), and for purchasing additional land for parks ($50,000).

Lew Wentz helped organize the Oklahoma Society for Crippled Children, and contributed more than $50,000 to the society that first year.

On Dec. 23, the residents of Cross petitioned to be annexed into the city. Throughout the year, several other areas were annexed, and the city limits were extended.