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Oklahoma Main Street awards reflect small towns, large towns and big hearts

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A recent history of South Africa told of how that nation grew out of settlement made at the southern end of the African continent in the Seventeenth Century by the Dutch East India Company that featured a series of structures that could be seen from the sea.

They were described by a visitor in 1702 in the following manner: “All are built of stone. They look very well from far off because of the snow white lime with which they are plastered outside, and many shine with Dutch neatness.”

A similar statement could be made about the pictures contained in the submissions made by the Main Street entity of Newkirk, Oklahoma, for consideration for awards to the Main Street Division of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

It seemed that every renovated building from downtown Newkirk that was submitted featured a limestone façade that gleamed in the sun. And despite its small population, in recent years Newkirk has outdone many larger main street communities with its number of nominations. This year it sent in nominees in eleven different categories.

Another community that seems to punch far above its weight regarding nominations is the town of Hobart in southern Oklahoma, which submitted four projects for awards consideration.

And the narrative submitted by the Hobart Main Street tell of how the project in question was the result of cooperation between the Main Street program, other local civic organizations and the business owner.

The larger community of Enid also delivers a large packet of entries to the Department of Commerce, and this year Main Street Enid asked for recognition for nine different improvements that were made there last year. They included the lighting that glows throughout the night on the upper floors of one of the tallest structures in downtown Enid that highlights the art deco design of it.

In the recently written The Platinum Age of Television (reviewed here)NPR television critic David Bianculli praised the show Mad Men, and complimented its creators for the items from the era of the early 1960’s that are featured in it that include large telephones and typewriters and small televisions that are encased in wooden consoles.

One of the Main Street Enid’s submissions was a downtown furniture store that had used similar instruments to create an image of that era that had could have been taken off the set of the Mad Men production site.

The McAlester Main Street nominees included a downtown bike rack and a string of lights that have been strung across a downtown street to bring much needed lighting to the area at night.

Both Okmulgee and Duncan submitted buildings whose upper floors are now providing living space for families in accordance with the national trend of people once again living in downtown neighborhoods.

The Kendall Whittier neighborhood in Tulsa, which became affiliated with the Main Street program several years ago, submitted a recently refurbished bar that seemed destined to be hosting bearded hipsters and other young people who will be drawn to the recreated authentic atmosphere of a popular joint from the 1950’s that it formerly was.

And it could be said that all of the places and projects nominated are worthy of recognition.

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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