The Redbud City: It happened in February

Clyde Wooldridge
Contributing writer
The inaugural class of the Shawnee High School Basketball Hall of Fame was inducted in February of 1971. Members included: (l-r) R.B. Lynam, 1962; Ronnie Morris, 1952; Farrell Johnson, 1960; Max Timmons, 1927; and Roy Berger, 1941. Also inducted posthumously were Cliff Shearer, 1927; and former coach Deward Jameson, (1949-58).

1851 - The Indian Appropriations Act was the name of several acts passed by the Congress. A considerable number of acts were passed under the same name throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. From the outset, the most notable landmark of the acts was the one of 1851.

The official name was the “Appropriation Bill for Indian Affairs,” passed on Feb. 27, 1851. The act allocated funds to move western tribes onto reservations. Reservations were protected and enclosed by the federal government. According to the government at that time, reservations were created to protect the Native Americans from the growing encroachment of whites moving westward. This act set the precedent for modern-day Native American reservations.

125 Years Ago - For several weeks, the people of Shawnee were anxious regarding the location of the Choctaw machine shops. However, in early February of 1896, that was put to rest. The proposition was submitted by the Choctaw Railroad Company and accepted by city. It was then signed by John W. McLoud, attorney for the railroad, bringing the shops to Shawnee.

The shops meant much for the city, as the company would spend much money on the buildings and round houses. Also, the force that was necessary to build the shops became a valuable addition for the town. It allowed local people to find work on the shops for good wages. The workforce eventually grew to more than 1,000.

100 Years Ago - Shawnee and Pottawatomie County were much in the public eye as a potential oil field by February of 1921. Derricks were erected in every direction from the city, one even being within sight, while others were only a short ride by automobile. The wells were being drilled on the strength of reports from expert geologists, men who caused the large companies to stake millions of dollars on their judgment.

The wells were being drilled by the large oil companies with each one having blocked up large areas to insure them against loss if success rewarded their efforts. The companies were drilling and those holding thousands of acres in leases embraced all the larger companies operating in Texas and Oklahoma and some of the independents.

75 Years Ago - A new 1,100-seat moving picture theater, expected to be the finest in the Tri-County area, was to be constructed in the 100 block of north Bell Street “as soon as materials are available,” Adam Hornbeck, local theater executive announced Saturday night, Feb. 16, 1946. The new theater would become the leading movie house of the Griffith Consolidated Amusement Company interest that now operated the Bison, Criterion, and Avon theaters in the city in partnership with Adam Hornbeck.

Purchase of 50 feet of business frontage on north Bell Street by the Griffith Realty Company was consummated Saturday afternoon. Twenty-five feet was bought from W.H. Eckles of Springfield, Illinois, and 25 feet from New Hill of Shawnee. G.A. Malsbury, local realtor, handled the transactions.

50 Years Ago - Five living former stars, the late Coach Deward Jameson, and one deceased former standout, Cliff Shearer, were inducted as charter members in the Shawnee High School Basketball Sports Hall of Fame on the night of Feb. 12, 1971. The honored living players selected by a special committee of Shawnee sports followers were: Max Timmons, Roy Berger, Ronnie Morris, Farrell Johnson, and R.B. Lynam. The inductions took place in conjunction with the Shawnee-Stillwater game. Additional activities involving the honorees were held during the day before the ceremonies and basketball game.

25 Years Ago - A third major downtown fire in recent months sent flames shooting through the roof of the old Harp’s Green Valley Farms mill Saturday night, Feb. 24, 1996. “We’re throwing everything we’ve got at it,” Battalion Chief Joe Wittmann said over the rear of pumper trucks.” Despite water pressure problems, firefighters from Shawnee and area departments were training some 5,000 gallons of water per minute on the blaze. When firefighters first arrived on the scene an interior attack was attempted, but firefighters were ordered to get out of the building because conditions were too dangerous.

10 Years Ago - If it is not an emergency, stay home and off the roads. That was the message emergency management, police and fire officials were issuing in Pottawatomie County and most of Oklahoma Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, as a blizzard caused whiteout conditions, bringing extremely cold temperatures that could prove fatal with prolonged exposure.

Don Lynch, Shawnee/Pottawatomie County emergency management director, said all county roads were snow packed and hazardous about noon Tuesday, with drifts up to two feet making it impossible for cars and low-riding vehicles to get anywhere.

Five Years Ago - Oklahoma Baptist University on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting for its state-of-the-art nursing building, Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall. The building was located on the northeast area of the OBU campus, just south of MacArthur Street and west of Kickapoo Street. Attendees congregated in the Stavros Hall Foyer for the celebration.

The 32,000-square-foot facility was the new home to the OBU College of Nursing and was designed to provide cutting-edge nursing education for both undergraduate and graduate-level students. Members of the university community, local leaders, members of the health care industry, and university board of trustees members, as well as health care leaders, were on hand for the ceremony.

One Year Ago - After 42 years of working at and running SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital- Shawnee, CEO and lifelong Shawnee resident Chuck Skillings retired Friday, Feb. 7.

According to the 62-year old, he began his career working for EMS while he was in college, and over the years, opportunities were presented to him to work at the hospital and help make it better for the community. “I started here June of 1977...I became an employee of what was then Shawnee Medical Center Hospital...and I did that for a couple of years...and in February of 1979, I became the director of the EMS for the hospital,” Skillings said.

After 10 years in that position, Skillings said he worked on creating and developing the emergency medical services at the hospital. The CEO explained working in that position he had some of the best years of his career and he worked on numerous projects for the hospital.

(These stories and thousands of others appear in the six-volume history of the city of Shawnee, entitled, “REDBUD CITY.” The first four volumes, covering from 1830 to 1990, are now available at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society. You can pick up your copies by calling (405-275-8412), or by going on to their website. They plan to open the new facility very soon and you can visit the museum and see the books in person. They are $35 each, but a purchase of two or more will give you a five-dollar discount on each. The final two volumes are set to be released this spring and summer. They cover from 1990 to the present.)