Muskogee Central High Class of 1967

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Two city historical buildings on list of at-risk places

The home of Alice Robertson is one of two houses in Muskogee on the list of Oklahoma’s Most Endangered Historic Places released by Preservation Oklahoma. The home is at 1109 Elgin St. (1 of 2)

The Blakemore Home, at 512 N. 15th St., is on the list of Oklahoma’s Most Endangered Historic Places recently released by Preservation Oklahoma. (2 of 2)

Two city historical buildings on list of at-risk places

Two neighborhood organizations are interested in restoring two Muskogee homes that are on the list of Oklahoma’s Most Endangered Historic Places.

Preservation Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization, recently released its annual list which includes the home of Alice Robertson and the Blakemore Home in Muskogee.

There are several options for use of the home of Alice Robertson at 1109 Elgin St., said Jonita Mullins, historian.

The home on Elgin  is owned by the Reheard Family Trust and can be purchased for $4,500, she said. Founders’ Place Historical District and Kendall Place Historical District have joined forces and are raising funds to purchase it. Mullins serves on the board of Founders’ Place Historical District.

The home could be used as a museum, as office space for a non-profit organization or it could be repaired and then sold “to a family that would appreciate its history and would want to maintain it,” she said.

Alice Robertson was the first woman elected to represent Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was elected in 1925 and was the first woman elected after women gained voting rights, Mullins said. It is believed the small home was a Sears kit home. Robertson first lived there in 1925, but historians do not know if she had the house built.

The Blakemore home was originally owned by Dr. Jesse L. Blakemore, a physician and surgeon, who was a medical partner with Dr. F.B. Fite. The two men started the first hospital in Muskogee, which also was the first hospital in Indian Territory in the late 1880s. The home “might have potential as a bed and breakfast,” Mullins said. The home is in need of much repair. If the neighborhood groups were able to purchase the home, it would need to be stabilized before it could be used. One option for the home is to sell it to someone interested in operating a bed and breakfast, Mullins said.

The home is owned by an individual who has moved out of state, Mullins said.

“I think it’s sad for our community, in fact a little shameful, that we allow these homes to just sit and deteriorate,” Mullins said. “We don’t seem to have in our community a mechanism for holding property owners accountable.”

Preservation Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization and is dedicated to promoting, supporting and coordinating historic preservation activities throughout the state, a media release states. Since 1993, the organization has recognized historic sites across the state at risk of demolition or deterioration, raising awareness of the need to protect Oklahoma’s historic resources.

The Oklahoma state Capitol made the most endangered places in the state list for the second year in a row.

Also on this year’s list of endangered places are the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Westhope and the J. Paul Getty House, both in Tulsa.

Other places on the list are the Chilocco Indian School in north-central Oklahoma, the Union Bus Station and surrounding block in Oklahoma City and the Wolverine Oil Company Drayage Barn in Avant. Rock art — or pictographs and petroglyphs from early settlers — also made the list, as did the Eastern Oklahoma Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Talihina and the Highway 77 bridge over the Canadian River.

Route 66 was added to a watch list, meaning that it’s worth keeping a close eye one, said David Pettyjohn, Preservation Oklahoma executive director.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Anita Reding at (918) 684-2903 or areding@muskogeephoenix.com.

You can help

Donations to purchase the home of Alice Robertson may be sent to: Founders’ Place Historical District, P.O. Box 3827, Muskogee, OK 74402.

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