Highland Hall – Guthrie

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Address: 1102 E. Warner, Guthrie, OK 73044 County Logan
Started  1938 Completed  1940

Current Usage:

Community Center

Description:


The National Youth Administration was formed to help provide job training and employment for teenagers and young adults.  Construction on the Convention Hall, known as Highland Hall, was started in 1938.  It was expected to take 6 months to complete.  There was one skilled supervisor and 60-150 youths; each youth was supposed to spend 56 hours a month on the project.  Stone for the project was to be quarried from the park, but there was not enough quality stone remaining in the area.   Once started, the project kept getting delayed due to funding and stone issues.   A quality quarry source was finally found 13 miles north of Guthrie.  In 1940, the pressure was on to complete the project, because the building was already committed for upcoming summer events.  The building still needed a ceiling, electrical wiring and fixtures.  The NYA committed to ensuring the labor to finish the project, but did not have more funds to commit for supplies.  The City of Guthrie did not have funds until the next fiscal year, so the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce set-up fundraising efforts to try to quickly raise the needed $250-500 to complete the building. 

Highland Park was planned as a natural city park. The park was originally used for picnics, camping, and nature walks. In 1902, plans were prepared to turn Highland Park into a destination park. In order to draw people to the park, an 18 x 18’ orchestra stand, a 36 square foot level dancing platform, and a 16’ high refreshment stand were built inside the park. During the summer of 1902, Troop A Band performed twice a week in the park. One concert was open to the public for a 10 cent admission and the second performance was reserved for private parties.
In 1935, a five year plan was created for the park, with a budget of $1,500 a year. Projects for the park included tree and shrub planting, improving the park road, enlarging the playground equipment, installing a water system, and adding tennis courts, croquet courts, and a pool to the park.
Highland Hall was built in the park as a National Youth Administration project to help provide job training and employment for teenagers and young adults during the Great Depression. Construction started in 1938. It was expected to take 6 months to complete. Stone for the project was to be quarried from the park, but there was not enough quality stone remaining in the area. Once started, the project kept getting delayed. In 1940, the pressure was on to complete the project, because the building was already committed for upcoming summer events. The NYA committed to ensuring the labor to finish the project and the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce set up fundraising efforts to try to quickly raise the needed $250-500 to complete the building.
A Works Progress Administration pool and bathhouse were planned for Highland Park in the 1930s, but this pool was never built. The planned pool was to have been 150 by 75 feet, ranging in depth from 2.5 to 9 feet, with diving and spring boards. The bathhouse was planned to be stone removed from the pool site, complete with a lounge, restrooms, showers, and dressing area. The complex would have also included a 36 by 24 foot wading pool and a 43 by 36 foot sand beach.

​After this plan did not come to fruition, the former Bathhouse pool was opened to children for a few summers. After this, the only public accessible pool was at the country club across the highway[1].

Sources:

  1. Logan County Historical Society
  2. Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory Nomination
  3. The Living New Deal
  4. Waymarking.com

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