The summer of 1910 brought a few new things to the city and kept some of the scams and other battles alive. The packing plant and stockyards fiasco continued, while the debate and struggle over the location of the permanent state capital continued to rage. The public schools set a record with 18 students graduating from high school, and the new Convention Hall opened on the corner of Union and 9th Street to help fill the needs for a meeting place in the city, that was quickly becoming known as the “Convention City of Oklahoma.”

The summer of 1910 brought a few new things to the city and kept some of the scams and other battles alive. The packing plant and stockyards fiasco continued, while the debate and struggle over the location of the permanent state capital continued to rage. The public schools set a record with 18 students graduating from high school, and the new Convention Hall opened on the corner of Union and 9th Street to help fill the needs for a meeting place in the city, that was quickly becoming known as the “Convention City of Oklahoma.”

TRACK LAID ON BELT LINE

A gang of 100 Mexicans were put to work on May 8, 1910, laying track on the section of the belt line from the Santa Fe Division to the packing house. The men were working for the Santa Fe Division Engineer F.L. Guy, who arrived from Arkansas City, Kansas.

He was driven to the packing house site by C.O. Greenlee of Superintendent Matthew’s office. The track was expected to be completed within a few days. It was considered construction of prime importance. There could be no delivery of the building materials for the sites until the action was done. The cost of transportation of this material by wagon was considered as too great to follow that path.

Information passed on to the public was that with the finishing of the track and the excavation for the main packing house would lead quickly to the building work upon the foundation itself. The belt line would be continued in a westerly direction from the packing house and then take a southwesterly course to the Rock Island tracks. The right-of-way was already approved and there appeared nothing in the way of the building of the remainder of the line as fast as desired.

OKC GRUDGINGLY CONSENTS TO DEBATE

Oklahoma City grudgingly, and with ill grace, accepted the challenge of Shawnee for a discussion of the merits of the state capital removal bill in mid-May. OKC said they would enter the discussion on its own terms, or not at all. Her terms were rather plain to everyone else.

They said there would be three meetings held; one at Checotah on May 27; another at Bartlesville on May 30; and finally, one at Sapulpa on June 3. Attendance of Shawnee or Oklahoma City people were to be unrestricted, and each city could be represented by one speaker. Each side could open their debate with 75 minutes and close with an additional 15 minutes.

HIGH SCHOOL HAS 11TH COMMENCEMENT

The Becker Theatre was crowded on the night of June 2, 1910, with parents and friends of high school graduates. They were there to witness the closing exercises and the presentation of diplomas to the 18 pupils who had completed the prescribed course in the public school of the city. It was the 11th annual commencement of the Shawnee High School, and one of the most brilliant ever held.

A delightful program of musical numbers was rendered by the eight- grade chorus, with solos from Hadley Baker and Leo Moran. This was followed by the presentation of diplomas to the members of the graduating class by Fred W. Christner, president of the board of education.

The address to the graduating class was then delivered by Superintendent Charles Evans of Ardmore. He was a well-known educator, and famous for his rousing speeches about education. The word was that this one was no exception.

The eighth-grade chorus then sang another song and the audience was dismissed with the benediction pronounced by Rev. J.M. Clark of the Central Presbyterian Church.

GOVERNOR HASKELL ATTEMPTS TO REMOVE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT TO OKC

On June 17, 1910, Governor Charles N. Haskell issued the following address to Judge Burford of the Guthrie legal committee:

“This advises you as attorney representing the citizens of Guthrie, that upon consideration of the law and the facts and the public health, peace and welfare, that I find and consider the capital of the State of Oklahoma to be at Oklahoma City, by virtue of a law adopted and enacted by an overwhelming majority of the people of the sovereign State of Oklahoma on June 11, 1910. The official business of the state cannot lawfully be conducted except at said state capital. It came to my notice that many of the people of Oklahoma City as well as your clients have construed said law as permitting said state capital to remain at Guthrie until some future date.

“This is to advise you that in case you desire a hearing before me on this question. I shall grant you such a hearing at 2 o’clock p.m., June 14, 1910, at the office in the Lee-Harkins Hotel in Oklahoma City, where any rights you may have will be fully considered. I accord you this, not desiring to do your clients any injuries, nor to have the interests of the state in any way hindered or embarrassed by your reporting to injunction and other technical legal warfare, expensive and annoying to the public welfare.”

CONVENTION HALL OPENS

Seldom has a larger gathering of representative citizens of Shawnee been seen than that in the new city auditorium on June 21, 1910. It was the formal opening of the new Convention Hall to the public.

An estimated crowd of 1,500 heard the excellent concert that was given, though the immense seating capacity of the auditorium made the number seem much less than it really was. There were some vacant seats.

The first number on a program, that was good from start to finish, was the “Convention Hall March,” composed by Edward Kloepfer of the Regimental Band. It was dedicated by him to the Shawnee Boosters. It was played by the full band. This number was followed by “America,” that got the crowd in the spirit.

Mayor Frank Stearns then delivered a most wonderful address, short and crisp, and full of Shawnee enthusiasm. He congratulated himself and the people of the city on the magnificent auditorium, which he declared to be second to none in the entire southwest. He also touched upon the wonderful material advancement of the city in recent months and prophesized even greater things in the future.

Following the conclusion of the program, the floor was cleared and tilted, and the ball began. It was a most delightful social event, participated in by about 200 couples. The program consisted of a dozen numbers, with several extras, the music being furnished by the band.

Much credit for the success of the concert was given to Emma Carron, the accomplished pianist, who acted as accompanist and musical director. She also successfully drilled the children in the choruses.

(These stories and hundreds more will appear in the comprehensive history of Shawnee. The 1,500-page book will appear in two volumes. The first, coming late in 2018, will cover the period from the establishment of Indian Territory up to the end of the 1950s. The second volume, coming in a couple of years, will cover from 1960 up to the present time. They will be available in the traditional book form and also in digital.)