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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History


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.

1982 — Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for a new 12,000 square foot ADPC building, north of Pioneer Area Vo-Tech School in the Industrial Park. The firm, which processes fiscal data for school systems, writes 50,000 paychecks a month.

Rich Maril was named the golf pro at the Ponca City Country Club.

The new fire station at the airport opened, and the old station on West Grand was closed because the building was in poor shape. Alvin Spore was named fire chief following the retirement of Paul Andrews.

Ponca Playhouse presented “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” starring Tom Cowley as Barney, the restaurant owner who attempts three extra-marital affairs, but always remains a step behind. Carolyn Berry, Joyce Polkinghorne, and Ginger DuVal played the three women. Director of the Neil Simon play was Bill Butterfield.

A $500,000 renovation began at the Holiday Inn in January, with completion expected in early spring.

C.D. Northcutt, local attorney, received the “Outstanding Citizen” award at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet.

In February, Gary Boyer was named Telephone Office Manager for Ponca City.

Liberty School celebrated their 25th anniversary. The school had opened in 1956. “They plowed 13 acres of ground and put the school in the middle and the wind blew like the devil,” recalled Gene Pingleton, the school’s first principal. The school opened on time, even though it wasn’t finished.

The Planning Board and City Commission met jointly to make suggestions on improving communications. Marilyn Andrews, vice chair of the Planning Commission recommended that a representative of each board attend each other’s meetings.

The Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee suggested more parking spaces for downtown employees and stricter enforcement of the parking ordinance. Phil Bandy, chairman of the parking meter sub-committee, said that most of the merchants wanted the meters removed.

Lady Wildcats basketball team beat Tulsa Edison, ending their season with an overall record 14-5.

Larry and Virginia Stephenson donated their collection of 101 Ranch memorabilia to the Marland Estate to be on display.

The Ambucs started a $600,000 fund raising campaign to rebuild Bogan Pool. Initially, they raised $140,000 from 120 citizens, American Legion and Security Bank each gave $15,000, and Elks Club gave $10,000. Construction was scheduled to begin in late 1982.

In the upcoming election, two commissioner’s terms were expiring. An amendment to the charter was also on the ballot, to increase the commission from five to seven members. The city would be divided into six sections, one for each commissioner. The mayor would still be elected at large.

Charles Casey filed for city commissioner in March. Richard Welborn, owner-president of Welborn Electric announced his filing. Clifton Rowe, a retired Postal Service worker, also filed for the position.

George Nigh filed for a second term as governor.

The Lady Wildcats won the State Basketball Tournament against Tulsa McClain, 47-31, ending the season with a 20-5 record.

Louise Fluke was honored at the Marland Mansion Renaissance Ball with the Pioneer Woman Award. A Ponca Citian from 1925 to 1958, she had designed the Oklahoma State Flag.

In March, the City borrowed $1.5 million at 9% interest to pay for a new water treatment plant. They also received a $400,000 grant from the EPA. By reinvesting the dollars, they were able to repay the debt in two years, and earned at least $200,000 in interest.

Smith-Gruner broke ground for a plant expansion, adding two new manufacturing buildings with a total of 48,570 square feet and additional office space of 12,800 square feet.

In May, Rich Cantillon was one of 80 people who participated in a weeklong conference to update his skills as a professional photographer. The conference was at Winona Lake, Indiana and featured some of the nations’ best photographers as instructors.

Gov. George Nigh proclaimed May 23rd as “Barbara Ware Day” in conjunction with a reception honoring her at the Cultural Center. A 21-year veteran of the school system, she was retiring as High School Assistant Principal.

The Bi-State Mental Health Foundation opened a transitional living residence at 206 N. Third St.

The Traffic Commission removed 117 of the 714 downtown parking meter heads for a trial period of one year.

Policemen unwrapped and cut up over 1600 pounds of fish and 800 pounds of chicken in preparation for the 24th annual fish fry sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Ponca City was the first city in Oklahoma to place a group home for the developmentally disabled in a residential area. They had approved the home for clients at the Opportunity Center.

County workers tore down a 1919-vintage bridge over the Bois d-Arc Creek on the west extension of South Avenue in preparation for the construction of a new bridge.

Due to a 28% decrease in overall bicycle sales, Huffy Corporation announced plans to close their facility in California and consolidate production in its two major production plants, in Ponca City and in Celina, Ohio.

The Huffy Road project finally got started. The contractors also improved Waverly from the Huffy plant south to Highway 60. This was a joint effort of the city and state.

Tom Eads, Kay County Democratic chairman, filed for the State House of Representatives, District 37, the seat currently held by Republican Jim Holt. Holt announced his plans to seek re-election.

Gary Stephens, a Democrat, filed for the Senate District 20 seat. The incumbent was Bill O’Connor.

Mayor Raley appointed a 10-member Ponca City Master Plan Commission to serve three years. Berkley Watts and Hubert Watts were co-chairmen. Other members were Marilyn Andrews, Robert Ford, Milt Heartsill, Paula Johnson, Randy Lauritsen, Jack Monsour, Carl Renfro and Don Williams. The group had a $50,000 budget to work with.

Foster Johnson was named managing editor of the Ponca City News. He had been managing editor of the Weatherford Daily News since 1975.

Commissioners approved a one-year contract for continued management of the Community Pool by the YMCA. The City paid the “Y” $45,000 and was to pay for repairs that cost more than $150.

Renovation activity was underway at Fire Station No. 2 at Osage and Grand. Senior citizens would use the building, particularly as a satellite noon meal site provided by the Kay-Noble Nutrition Center.

A full week of resident camping began the middle of June at Camp McFadden II, the first full session since the camp was moved from the old site in 1974.

German instructor, J.D. Hanks, and 14 of his students raised money to take a two-week summer tour to Germany.

State Senator Bill O’Connor announced he planned to seek re-election to his District 20 Senate seat. The district included parts of Kay, Noble, Garfield, Woods, Alfalfa and Grant Counties.

Joseph A. Wideman, District Attorney for Kay and Noble counties, was named outstanding District Attorney of the Year by the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Association.

In July and August, Ponca Playhouse and the Marland Estate Commission presented four dinner theatre performances of “Side by Side by Sondheim.” Dinner was in E.W.’s Restaurant in the conference Center and the show was in Chapel Hall.

Security Bank restored the exterior of the original building and built an addition on the west with the same “old look.”

The Ambuc–sponsored National Moto-Cross races included a country Music Roundup featuring George Strait and the Ace in the Hole Band. KPNC Radio presented the concert at the Rodeo Arena. Ambucs gave the proceeds from the races to the New Bogan Pool Fund.

The Library celebrated “Western Day” with staff members and many young patrons dressed in Western attire. The children watched a film about the 101 Ranch and listened to Mike Sokoll tell about his experiences on the ranch and in the rodeo. Mike even demonstrated some of his rope tricks.

Holiday Inn added 49 new units adjacent to the pool area.

An August issue of the Kawasaki Team Green Gazette had a lengthy article about the Ponca City motocross track. The author had high praise for Jack Blevins, describing him as a dynamic man who truly loves motocross and youngsters. “Most of what you see in this park is a result of his efforts,” the story read. The Gazette article described the local motocross park as “not only beautiful, but it’s one of the best racing facilities in the United States.”

The Ponca City Art Center on East Central was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, designating it as property of historic value and worthy of preservation. The Art Association had purchased the Soldani Mansion in 1966. The listing follows two years of work by Mrs. Gen Anderson, chairman of the Special Projects Committee.

John Heinze, former Kay county treasurer, won the primary race for Kay County assessor, defeating J.C. Estes of Blackwell.

Mike Grubb was named circulation director of the Ponca City News, replacing Berkley Watts, who resigned. Kevin Kreger was named assistant circulation director.

The Cultural Affairs Commission received permission from the city to plant 47 juniper trees along the south edge of the Cann Memorial Garden Center, instead of installing a fence.

Ponca City’s Wildcats started the football season, hosting Putnam City North. In addition to a new first-game opponent, the Wildcats were in a new district and a new conference. Coach Keni Ray considered the 1982 schedule one of the toughest in some time. Center Richard Winterrowd was named the first “Wildcat Player of the Week” for his efforts in the Cats 9-3 victory. Ray commented, “Winterrowd is a good practice player, an extremely intelligent player and takes the game very seriously.”

Westminster Village, a proposed new retirement center, held a coffee for persons interested in the project. There will be a $2,500 retainer required for those who want to purchase a unit in the center.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Marland Estate Commission sponsored the first annual Octoberfest on the grounds of the estate. Emphasis was on German food and beverages.

The 850 workers in Conoco’s Ponca City refinery in Mid-August completed a record of two million hours without a lost-time accident.

In the first six months of 1982, over one million cans were turned in to the recycling center at the 101 Beverage Co. The company paid 20 cents per pound for the aluminum cans.

Pepperettes , the East Junior High School girls organization, elected officers and prepared for the annual Mother-Daughter Tea. Officers were Tina Brewer, president; Suzanne Younger, vice president; Shelby Robinson, secretary; Becky Adams, treasurer; Kim Carey, historian, Christie Pape, sgt. at arms; and Heidi Lambring, pledge court mistress.

At the Cherokee Strip Golf Classic, two men were inducted into the Hall of Fame. The late T.J. Cuzalina was the first inductee. He was responsible for the idea of the charity tourney that benefits the Opportunity Center. The other inductee was Rick Clinton and his wife, Eleanor, former Ponca Citians who had moved to Wichita. In the early years, they gave $30,000 toward the building and continued to support the tournament and the center.

One of the original E.W. Marland tablecloths was featured at the Linen Jubilee showing of the “Governor’s Table” at Fidelity Bank in Oklahoma City. Mrs. Donna Nigh, Oklahoma’s first lady, was pictured with the Marland cloth, on loan from the mansion, in the September 19, 1982 issue of the Daily Oklahoman.

Truman Smith was mentioned three times in David Johnson’s new book “VI-VII”, which documents the “victory” weapons used by the Nazis against England. The book had been published in England and in the U.S. Smith is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who was a B-17 pilot flying out of England during World War II.

United Way ’83 campaign kicked off with a 38-entry parade down Grand. The OSU pompon girls rode bicycles furnished by Huffy. Over 1,000 spectators turned out for the Parade.

Jana Beaty was elected the 1982 homecoming queen. Escorted by Stan Young, she was crowned at the football halftime festivities of a game with Stillwater. Donna Lawrence was senior attendant.

Oklahoma voters approved pari-mutuel betting, giving the referendum a surprising landslide victory by a margin of 125,000 votes.

In September, Smith-Gruner permanently laid off 58 employees, due to a continuing worldwide recession in the mining and petroleum markets.

The city accepted a federal grant to pay for doubling the width of a taxiway from the main runway at the airport to the new Airport Fire Station. The taxiway would open up the east side of the airport property for future development, including hangars and an added fixed-base operator.

As a part of Homecoming Week, the Po-Hi football team and cheerleaders, along with the High Steppers and marching band, had a parade on 5th Street. They then gathered around a roaring bonfire on the baseball diamond to celebrate the next day’s football game with the Stillwater Pioneers at Sullins Stadium. The Wildcats won the game, 15-0.

Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two” was the opening show for Ponca Playhouse, featuring Gary Gibson, Phil Bandy, Bayard Casey and Carolyn Berry in the starring roles.

Southwestern Stationery on West Grand expanded their building by 7,000 additional square feet, and installed a new front façade.

In October, Ponca City hosted the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Marching Band competition at Sullins Stadium. Po-Hi’s Big Blue Marching Band competed with16 other Oklahoma bands. Under the direction of Ed Rodgers, Big Blue earned straight 1 ratings.

A new teahouse, The Apple Cart, opened at 300 W. Cleveland, operated by Norma Burch and Danys Self. Two other businesses are in the building – The Country Store, operated by Mary Foldberg and Carol Bouldin, and Gingerbread Alley, operated by Rhonda Sheehan and Marilyn Jouret.

A multi-million dollar project to conserve energy and improve capacity to produce high-octane unleaded gasoline was under way at Conoco’s Ponca City refinery.

Capt. John Raley, alias Ponca City Mayor Raley, was named the Commander of the United States Naval Reserve at Stillwater. He had been a Naval reservist for 32 years.

In October, Huffy Bicycles laid off 175 employees, due to the “softness” of the bicycle market and the closing of major retail chains like Woolco.

Trash collection rates were increased by 8.5%, so a single family’s cost went from $5.30 to $5.75 a month.

Kay County Commissioners set December 7 as the date for a special $3 million bond election to provide funds for a new county jail.

The Oklahoma Historical Society held their quarterly meeting at the Marland Mansion. It was the first time the organization’s board of directors had met outside of Oklahoma City.

Over 30 members attended from across the state. Charles Hepler, executive director of the mansion, served on the Historical Preservation committee of the Historical Society.

In November, former Ponca Citian Shelby Wilson was one of three wrestlers to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater. Wilson had won an Olympic medal while a student.

The roof at Hutchins Memorial was repaired for $12,330.

In the November elections, a record number of voters turned out to vote on local and state races. John Heinze was elected Kay County Assessor, Republican incumbent Jim Holt won a fifth term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Mickey Edwards was elected as 5th District Congressman, and Gov. George Nigh, Democrat incumbent was re-elected, becoming only the third Democrat governor to win re-election. In the County Commission races, Anthony Vap was reelected in Dist. 2, and John McFadden of Ponca City won the Dist. 1 position, formerly held by Esta Kirk, who had chosen not to seek reelection. Democrat Vern Willbanks was the winner in Dist. 3, beating Republican Jerry Legg.

The old Montgomery Ward Auto Service building on North 5th St. was revamped for Boettcher, Leonard and Brune law offices.

The Ponca City Civic Orchestra opened its second season with a concert at East Junior High.

The school board voted to install ceiling fans in each of the eight elementary schools.

The Golden Corral chain purchased the Sirloin Stockade on 14th Street.

By November, the Bogan Pool campaign had raised $420,000, with $180,000 left to go. Students at the Opportunity Center issued a city-wide challenge to all public and private schools, encouraging them to collect aluminum cans, as well as turning over the profits from school soda machines, to help reach the goal for the new Bogan Pool. There were 129 volunteers, representing 17 clubs, who hit the streets on Sunday afternoon, December 6, raising a total of $25,032.

McGrew’s TV & Appliance moved to 2615 N. 14th St. This was their 21st year in business.

Steve Rein and Dean Shinault were elected Captains of the Wildcat football team by their fellow players.

On December 7, Kay County voters approved a $3 million bond issue to build a new jail in Newkirk.

A week before Christmas, Ponca Citians received an early gift. Gasoline prices dipped to 97.9 cents a gallon for regular.

Local Soroptimists donated paint and materials for a renovation of the playground equipment at the Opportunity Center. Boy Scout Skip Young organized the project to fulfill requirements for his Eagle Scout rank.

Commissioners approved construction of a Stratford House motel on N. 14th St.