Ponca City Information
Ponca City History
1934 - 1935
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1934 – E.W. Marland campaigned for governor, promising to bring President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to Oklahoma. In the primary, there were 14 other Democrats on the ballot; he received more than 50,000 votes over his closest competitor. In November, he was elected the tenth governor of the state of Oklahoma, outpolling his opponent by more than 120,000 votes.
Charles Duffy, a Ponca City attorney, won election to the Oklahoma Senate, where he served until 1946. Sen. Duffy had aspirations of becoming governor of Oklahoma, but power king Robert S. Kerr said, “No, he is too honest a man.”
During the Depression, Smitty’s Boys and Mens Wear sponsored an annual style show at the Poncan Theatre. Admission was a lead pencil from each patron that Smitty donated to the public schools. The program included film strips of “Our Gang,” “The Three Stooges,” and cartoons. The highlight of the show was the “Pie Eating Contest.”
Voters passed a special bond issue by a 2 to 1 margin, approving a PWA project to build Lake Ponca, and a new library building.
A “Little Rascals” movie episode was filmed in Ponca City at the George Neimann house on South Eighth Street. Several local children were in the film as extras.
The Dionne quintuplets were born in Ontario, Canada on May 28. The event was publicized worldwide, and the babies became the “talk of the town” everywhere. Oscar Keck, one of Ponca City’s earliest citizens, added some new Christmas decorations to his home on North Sixth Street. Atop the front porch roof, he spelled out CECILE, ANNETTE, EMILIE, MARIE, YVONNE…the quintuplets names.
1935 – E.W. Marland was inaugurated as governor on January 15. His good friend, William McFadden, served as grand marshal of the inaugural parade, riding a horse from the 101 Ranch. Lydie Marland wore a borrowed dress to the Inaugural Ball.
As governor, he promoted the development of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and also created the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
Oil was discovered beneath the State Capitol. Many protested the oil production on state property, so Marland called in the National Guard to protect drilling operations.
Henry Hatashita, Marland’s gardener, landscaped the grounds around the governor’s mansion and the state capital building.
In August, Will Rogers died in a plane crash with his pilot friend, Wiley Post.
Dr. C.E. Northcutt was elected mayor. He appointed a full time doctor and nurse to serve indigent persons in need of help. He also furnished a fully equipped office.
It was through the influence of Mayor Northcutt that Lester A. Cann accepted the position of City Manager. Cann had been a Kay County Commissioner from 1911 to 1935.
Homer S. Anderson was named principal of Ponca City High School, a position he held for 30 years. His nickname was “Bird Dog,” because when he caught a student breaking a rule, he followed him to his next classroom or to his locker, and then had a discussion. He was also known to attend every athletic event at the school.
Conoco reported its greatest volume of business ever, even though it was the Depression.
Lake Ponca was completed. The lake not only provided a water supply for Ponca City, it also became the recreational center for northern Oklahoma. The lake held approximately four billion gallons of water. The labor costs for the project were $130,000, and as many as 375 men were employed to do the work. The city celebrated by holding a boating regatta. They also christened the Police Department’s new patrol boat, “Miss Ponca City.”
Frank Lucas died. He had been Marland’s private secretary since 1918, and also served as Ponca City’s Postmaster.
The new Federal Building and Post Office opened at Fourth Street and Grand Ave.
On April 17, Ponca City experienced a terrible storm, with hailstones the size of golf balls. The storm seriously damaged the clay tile roof at the Marland Mansion, and a number of the estate’s water fowl were killed.
On December 18, Ponca City formally dedicated its new library as a “silver jubilee” occasion. It had been 25 years since the opening of the first public library. The exterior was buff brick with cream colored terra cotta trim, and it was the first library in Oklahoma to be air conditioned. The structure received national attention, and several cities requested copies of the architectural plans.
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