There were two major issues that emerged in Shawnee in the Spring of 1910. The citizens were getting excited again about the prospects of a university in the city and they were still in the fight for the location of the capital of Oklahoma in the city. These two subjects dominated the minds and emotions of the citizens of the community.

There were two major issues that emerged in Shawnee in the Spring of 1910. The citizens were getting excited again about the prospects of a university in the city and they were still in the fight for the location of the capital of Oklahoma in the city. These two subjects dominated the minds and emotions of the citizens of the community.

DEVELOPMENT COMPANY OFFERS TWO SITES

The final step so far as the Shawnee Development Company was concerned toward locating the Baptist University was taken on April 16, 1910. James M. Aydelotte and C.W. Cook signed an offer of two tracts of ground to the Baptist for their school.

Each of the tracts contained 80 acres. One was at the corner of North (now McArthur) and Kickapoo streets. The other was the site of the old Pennsylvania oil well northeast of the city.

The Baptist committee announced that it would accept one or the other of the sites by April 27. The Development Company agreed to furnish the deed at that time. Plans for the campus and buildings were already being prepared. It was said that funds were at hand for the construction of the buildings in the near future.

The offer of the sites for the location was in accordance with the contract entered into between the Baptist’ committee and the Development Company on February 6.

HUGE CROWD ASSEMBLES IN SHAWNEE ON STATE CAPITAL LOCATION

“Resolved by the voting taxpayers of Oklahoma, who neither live in Guthrie, Shawnee, or Oklahoma City, assembled in a state mass meeting in Shawnee, Okla., April 23, 1910. That after having listened to a discussion of the proposed capitol location bill to be voted on June 11, by representatives of the three towns named in the bill as candidates; that we are convinced that the said bill does not safeguard the interests of Oklahoma taxpayers and; that it would not be to the interests of either economy or good government to adopt the same; therefore, we ask all Oklahoma tax payers to study this bill to the end that those who agree with us may join in defeating this bill June 11.”

The above resolution was introduced on April 23, at the state capital meeting, led by Judge Sweet of Lincoln County. The issue was adopted by an overwhelming vote. The introduction of the resolution followed a discussion which while free from acrimony, was earnest in the extreme.

When the meeting was called to order, the chairman announced the committee on program. It included C.C. Chapell of Asher, W.P. Blake of Okmulgee, and W.B. Langston of Holdenville.

The committee announced that Oklahoma City would be given 30 minutes, Senator Campbell 30 minutes, Guthrie 20 minutes, and Shawnee just 10 minutes. There was much more discussion before the meeting ended. The press suggested that the gathering gave promise of being a great success.

DEED TO NORTH STREET SITE TENDERED

On the morning of April 27, 1910, the Shawnee Development Company delivered to George E. McKinnis, secretary of the OBU board of directors, a deed to 60 acres of land known as the “North Street site.” This would be for the location of the new university.

The land laid south of North Street, and a block west of Kickapoo. It would be a short time later before known whether this was acceptable to the Baptists.

Two days later, the site was formally accepted, and everything was set in motion for construction. The action agreeing on the site took place on the April 28, at a meeting of the Baptist Committee at Oklahoma City. When word came to Shawnee, there was a feeling of relief. Some were dissatisfied with the location, simply because they preferred another. However, most agreed that it was a beautiful site and one easily within reach of the car line, city water and sewer, and other services.

On the north, it was bounded by the Armourdale Addition, and on the east by Rose Garden. The site for the Catholic University was a mile west and slightly north.

SHAWNEE’S STATE CAPITAL PLATFORM

A few resolutions, following a meeting on May 4, 1910, were adopted. The representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Shawnee Development Company, the Real Estate Exchange, and others came to an agreement. Their resolutions were unanimously adopted:

“WHEREAS” Certain parties representing Oklahoma City have initiated a bill which purports to provide for the permanent location of the state capitol of Oklahoma and makes an appropriation of $600,000 from the general revenues of the state to purchase and plat a site therefore; and

“WHEREAS,” Shawnee is a candidate for the state capital, but without her consent has been listed as one of the candidates under this bill, there terms of which are wholly contrary to and prejudicial to the interests and sentiment of our people;

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,” By the officers and directors of the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce, of the Real Estate Exchange, the Shawnee Development Company, the city officials and other representative citizens and property owners in Shawnee, that we are unalterably opposed to the spirit, purposes and plant of the bill proposed and hereby pledge our unanimous support to the taxpayers of the state in the effort to defeat this bill. (Ledbetter Bill)

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,” That we are in favor of the principle involved in the ‘New Jerusalem’ method of location, providing for the purchase of a definite amount of land at a definite and fixed price, with the erection of a state capitol building out of the funds derived from the sale of lots, thereby protecting the taxpayers and the state treasury from the unrestricted raids made possible and probable by the pending bill.

“RESOLVED” That we favor any plan of permanent location that protects the taxpayers and affords an equitable and fair opportunity to all the cities of Oklahoma that may desire to enter the contest for honor.”

(These stories and hundreds more will appear in the two-volume history of Shawnee. Look for volume one in late 2018 or early 2019. It will cover the period from the creation of Indian Territory and will culminate at 1960. Volume two will cover from 1960 up to the present time.)