The contract for the erection of the Administration Building of Oklahoma Baptist University was let to Higgins & Furnas of Shawnee on June 26, 1910. The contract price was about $100,000. Work upon the building was set to begin on August 1.


The contract for the erection of the Administration Building of Oklahoma Baptist University was let to Higgins & Furnas of Shawnee on June 26, 1910. The contract price was about $100,000. Work upon the building was set to begin on August 1.

At about that same time, work upon the boys’ and girls’ dormitories was scheduled to begin. The contracts for those buildings had not yet be composed. W.P. Blake of Okmulgee, superintendent of the construction work, was set to arrive in Shawnee soon to take up the preliminary work.

Besides the two dormitories and the Administration Building, there were plans for a Science Hall and a Library. They were to be erected as soon as the others were completed.


A large force of men was at work on the construction of the Big Four Packing Company’s plant on July 3, 1910. A total of 15 car loads of lumber and other material was unloaded as rapidly as possible, to make room for more material that was coming all the time.

Shacks were erected for the storage of tools, cement, and the finishing material at convenient places near the packing house building. The concrete machine was reported going full blast. The newspaper reported that as the foundation began to take form, the immensity of the building became more apparent.

Much work was being done in the Armourdale Addition. The street car track was graded clear into the Exchange Addition, with more streets also being cleared. While the grading was going on, the road to the packing house was rather rough, but not impassable.

All day long new laborers were reporting to the packing house for work. In the afternoon, about a dozen new applicants showed up at one time. The knoll north of the city upon which the packing house site was located was a veritable hive of industry. The piles of sand and crushed rock were disappearing, while great mountains of fragrant lumber were taking its place.


The failure of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to give its decision on the application of Governor Charles N. Haskell for a writ of prohibition against a judge’s restraining order in early July, prevented the state officers from removing to Oklahoma City from Guthrie. This left the capital location fight hanging in the air.

The decision of the court was expected on July 11. From Guthrie, there came the announcement that the decision would not be given for several days. It was explained that the regular term of the Supreme Court began the next day and that the decision would probably not be handed down until July 14.

It was generally believed that Governor Haskell was only awaiting the decision of the court to make the announcement of the personnel of the Capital Location Commission. Their job would be to select the capitol site. They would then proceed to sell lots and begin the erection of capitol buildings.

The options on land given by Oklahoma City during the state capital campaign and which were intended to be used for capitol sites, expired on July 11. The state now had no ability to force the makers of any of these options to either extend them, or to comply with their provisions. However, it was believed that the state would have little difficulty making this work.

I.M. Putnam was asked if he would extend the options which he had given the state on a tract of 4,000 acres northwest of the city. He asserted that he did not wish to make any definite statement until after he could find out if the state desired the land.

Guthrie was spreading the rumor that Governor Haskell would call a special session of the Legislature to back him up if the Supreme Court refused to quash the restraining order.


Work on the Big Four Packing Company’s plant reportedly would begin with renewed vigor before the end of the week in mid-August. The work was delayed because of the shortage of material. However, several cars were unloaded at the packing house site on August 15. News to the public was that about 50 bricklayers would go to work by the end of the week.

There were a plethora of rumors circulating in the city about the proposition of the packing house. One report said that Armour & Company were about to take the whole scheme over and construct the plant as a strictly Armour plant. Another report came to The Shawnee News that the S & S people, who were supposed to have a contract with Oklahoma City, abandoned their original plans, and were bidding for the Big Four plant in Shawnee.

The feeling was that whatever were the final arrangements, it was assured that the local plant would be built as fast as material could be secured. They also believed that it would be operated by the biggest packing concerns in the country. However, there were also rumors circulating in the community that something seemed amiss about the whole affair.


Actual work on the Baptist University site was commenced on the morning of August 24, 1910. The well to supply water during the building operations, until the water mains were laid, was started. The site for the temporary carpenter shop was surveyed also.

The contractors, Higgins & Furnas, had all the material ordered and when the preliminary work of excavating was finished, the work on the walls would begin. W.P. Blake, now a resident of Shawnee, formerly of Okmulgee, was the chairman of the building committee.


The City Council finally agreed at a meeting on August 30, 1910, to follow the terms of the contract under which the Convention Hall was built by Putnam & Cowan. They decided to submit the matter of charges for extras to an arbitration committee. It would be composed of one man selected by the Council, one selected by the contractors, and a third selected by these two men. The Council chose Sam Currie and the contractors decided on L.C. Watson. During the day chose a third person.

There were many “extras,” incident to the building of the Convention Hall. Several important changes were being made and some things were added. The extra charge amounted to $2,200. The contractors and the building committee worked in conjunction with the Mayor, trying to make a settlement for several weeks. Both parties seemed to run out of patience, leading to the appointment of an arbitration between the two.

Another troublesome point that was settled at the meeting was the question of releasing the contractors’ building and materials bond. The Council, upon advice of the City Attorney, had previously refused to release the bond until the contractors showed receipts for all material and labor, or make affidavit that all had been paid. Putnam explained that he kept running account for large sums with the companies he did business with when he paid for the material. He just did not have an itemized list of all the materials.

It also showed that the bond had expired on August 5 and was now of no consequence. When the matter came up, it was late in the day, and Judge Woods had already gone home. The Mayor then said that the building committee was empowered to release the bond. They only wanted an opinion from Judge Woods. The whole discussion over the bond became rather heated before the night was over.

(These stories and hundreds more will appear in the history of Shawnee. The two-volume work will first be made public in late 2018. Volume One covers from the background that led to the creation of Indian Territory and will lead up to 1960. The modern history of Shawnee will be in Volume Two that will be available in a couple of years. It will cover from 1960 up to the present time.)