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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1953

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1953 – The Po-Hi band marched in the inaugural parade for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Band members raised $9,500 from citizens to fund the trip. The band won second in the high school class. While in Washington D.C., the students met with Sen. Robert Kerr and Sen. Mike Monroney, toured the National Art Gallery, and visited the Smithsonian Institute, and the Washington Monument. There were 2,000 people at the local depot to greet them when they returned. In March, Gov. Johnston Murray visited Ponca City and personally presented the band with their gold trophy.

VFW announced plans to buy the old Rock Cliff Country Club building at Lake Ponca from the Lew Wentz estate. It opened in July.

In January, more than 5,000 people attended the public open house of the new home of WBBZ Radio. The station celebrated its 25th anniversary and its fourth year of ownership by the Ponca City Publishing Company.

R.S. Maxwell opened the Maxwell’s Home Appliances store at 219 W. Grand.

City commissioners approved the lighting of two tennis courts in North Park.

New classrooms were added to the school administration building on the north side of Grand. The new rooms were connected to the junior high on the south side of Grand by a tunnel.

A separate Community Library was opened at South Twelfth Street and Scott, south of Attucks School, to serve the colored community in Dixie Hill.

S.J. Waller announced the opening of his “Lotta-Burger” stand on North 14th Street.

Ponca City Mattress Co. opened a sales store at 312 E. Grand.

The high school newspaper, the Poncan, tied for first place with Cushing, and won highest honors in its class at the high school journalism state contest.

First Lutheran School opened in April with four classrooms attached to a smaller brick veneer section.

City Commissioners approved changes in the landscaping at the Civic Center. All the trees were to be cut down with the exception of two large elms.

Mrs. Howard Wright opened a new children’s bookstore at 109 N. First St.

Art Mires and L.C. (Cash) Larimer went into partnership in the Mires-Larimer Tire Co. at 619 S. First St.

W. W. Skaggs and B.J. Skaggs opened the Skaggs Rent-a-Tool at 106 S. Pine.

Representing hospital staff, Dr. E.C. Mohler proposed a polio ward be added to the basement of the new wing at Ponca City Hospital. The $13,000 renovation included modernizing the kitchen.

Cities Service Oil Company began a multi-million dollar modernization of their refinery.

Guy’s Service Station opened at 1300 N. Seventh, operated by Guy LeMonnier.

A group of 150 citizens convinced Herman J. (Smitty) Smith to run for mayor. He ran unopposed, and so was elected unanimously. He had been elected mayor in 1950, but his term was interrupted when he was called for military duty in Korea.

The telephone company announced that all residences would have new phone numbers by July in preparation for toll dialing.

Meadow Gold Dairy began full-scale operation at 203 S. Pine.

First Presbyterian Church announced plans to build on eight acres at the intersection of Grand and 14th Street.

There were 21 local clothing stores that participated in the spring opening style show.

The first regular meeting of the Ponca City Bar Association was held. Organized by more than 20 Ponca City lawyers, C.B. Duffy, J.A. McNeese and Lowell Doggett were on the program committee.

In April, the City Commission approved fluoridation of the city water supply.

Welcome-N Café opened near the Welcome-U Motel on Highway 60, east of town.

The Oklahoma State Senate introduced a bill that included provisions for a $45,000 museum in Pioneer Woman State Park.

The 125-room Jens-Marie Hotel at Second Street and Cleveland was to be offered for sale May 25. The property was appraised at $200,000. J. J. Young purchased the property.

Goodyear Service Store opened at Fifth and Grand, with George Nunley as manager.

Discovery of a potentially rich oil pool was reported about eight miles northwest of Ponca City. The well flowed at 100 barrels an hour through a one-half inch choke. A local independent operator claimed it to be the “biggest thing in Kay County in years.”

Dr. George H. Niemann retired after 49 years of medical service.

First Lutheran Church dedicated its Christian Education building, which was to house kindergarten and first grade students.

Wildcat wrestlers won the state wrestling championship with two state champs on the squad, Bernard Sullivan and Doug Blubaugh.

In May, the High School band won a superior rating in every division at the 21st annual Tri-State Band Festival in Enid, and took first in Class A in the parade of bands.

Continental Oil announced plans to build a $2.75 million carbon black plant south of town. T.A. Ruble, manager, announced that the plan would produce up to 140,000 pounds of finished products daily with no discharge of black particles into the air.

In June, a new way of angle parking went into effect on one block of Grand Avenue on a trial basis. It was thought that the 29-degree angle rather than the 45-degree provided more traffic space in the center of the street. City Commissioners also approved paving of Highland between 10th and 14th Streets, and of 11th, 12th, and 13th streets onto Highland.

Miller’s Food Store opened at Highland and Tenth Street. The new building was constructed as a suburban shopping center and included a cleaning business.

The Board of Education approved plans for a three-story addition to the High School.

City Manager Frank Winsted announced that, beginning August 15, city employees would begin twice-a-week collection of garbage and trash to be disposed of at a sanitary landfill. At the same time, the city invited 15 engineering firms to present design plans for the sanitary sewage treating plant. It was reported that most cities in North Central Oklahoma were ahead of Ponca City in treatment of sewage being dumped in state streams.

At the end of August, Wentz pool reported a record of 30,153 swimmers for the season.

The airport completed its $500,000 expansion project, which included a new 4,800 foot runway, a new control tower and administration building, waiting rooms, a restaurant, and new taxiways. There were 20,000 people at the September 7 dedication ceremony. L.F. McCollum, president of Continental Oil Co., was principal speaker.

Total enrollment in the Ponca City public schools in September was 5,021.

Work began on the Blanche Lucas Memorial addition to the parish house of the Grace Episcopal Church.

A section of Dan Moran Park was selected for the $90,000 Oklahoma National Guard Armory. It was constructed with federal and state funds.

The Public Monuments committee of the Chamber of Commerce instructed local architect, M.D. Timberlake, to draw preliminary design sketches for the proposed Pioneer Woman Museum. In November, plans were shown at a meeting of the Chamber committee. The drawings called for a central structure for exhibits, an authentic log cabin and a sod hut.

The city signed a contract to have a design made for the Hartford branch fire station building.

On December 1, Ponca Citians voted 5 to 1 for bond proposals for a $400,000 water plant expansion and a $350,000 sewage treatment plant.

The IOOF Cemetery announced a $20,000 project for expansion and beautification.

City firemen received a pay raise from $30 to $45 per month.

In the Christmas lighting contest, sponsored by the Garden Club and Chamber of Commerce, Dr. D.A. Shaffer’s home was judged the “most beautiful.” The Kenneth Barnwell home won second and the O.C. Hadden home was third in the category. Mike Landauer’s home won first in the “most appealing to children” class, with Bill Timberlake and J.M. Senseman homes, second and third. Best portrayal of the nativity scene was at the W.E. Piel home.

E.W. Marland’s widow, Lydie Marland, left Ponca City. She packed her belongings in a 1948 Studebaker and drove away. She only took cash and personal items with her, plus some paintings and tapestries that E.W. had bequeathed her.