National Guard Armory – Tonkawa

Address: Third and North Streets in Tonkawa, Oklahoma Country: Kay
Started: 1936Completed: 1937
NRHP:YesNRHP Date:September 8, 1988

Current Usage

Public School Bus Garage


The Tonkawa National Guard Armory is a two-story, rectangular (136′ x 124′) structure constructed of native limestone which has been cut, rusticated, and laid in a random coursed ashler pattern. The flat roof with parapets is built of concrete with coverings of asphalt and building paper, except over the drill hall, where an arched gable roof is constructed of steel. On the south side are located four garage doors under brick round arches. Centrally located is a single doorway recessed within an extended segment of the wall. Fixed metal windows are single spaced with stone slip sills. The armory retains its architectural integrity despite the attachment of a concrete block addition to the east side and a metal addition on the west side.
SIGNIFICANCE: 1936-1937; builder/architect: Bryan Nolen, State WPA architect, and K. Ahler, District Architect
Construction of the Tonkawa National Guard Armory was significant as being representative of the WPA concern for national defense. Until recently, the armory served as a training center for local National Guard units. Moreover, the project provided jobs for unemployed workers during the Depression. The building contractor, Robert Schwab, reported that the “outstanding feature” in the construction of the building was the conversion of the labor force into efficient and skilled workers. It also poured wages from some 68,000 man­hours of labor into the local economy. Schwab noted too that as a WPA project, the armory was impressive due to its “massive size, architectural beauty, and its sense of security and stability.” The armory remains notable architecturally for its scale, style, type, workmanship, materials, and state of preservation.[1]

VERBAL BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION: Nominated property is described as follows: in the University Preparatory School Second Addition, Tonkawa original from the intersection of North and Third Streets, go 89 feet east and 44 feet north to point of beginning; then 124 feet east, 136 feet north, 124 feet west, 136 feet south to point of beginning.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]


  1. Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory Nomination
  2. National Register of Historic Places
  3. The Living New Deal
  4. House Document N0. 56 Recommendations of Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission Vol 1 & 2, 2006

Supported Documents:

  1. WPA Properties Kay County – Tonkawa Armory
  2. National Register of Historic Places Support Document
  3. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
  4. Department of Environmental Quality Remediation Final Report


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