Neighborhood History

A Look Back

Oklahoma became the 46th state of the Union in 1907. Three years later, in 1910, the capital was moved to Oklahoma City from Guthrie and plans were soon under way to provide a suitable Capitol. That massive classic structure was completed in 1917, with Oklahoma City itself lying a mile to the south, connected by a dirt road leading across an unbroken pastureland.

John J. Culbertson donated part of the land on which the Capitol was built. Within a year he had opened up to home builders a section southeast of the Capitol that was to become Lincoln Terrace. Before 1918 had ended the first two homes had been constructed. Some 75 homes were built in the 1920s. Most of the other homes in the Lincoln Terrace Historic District were erected in the 1930s. Many of the homes in the area were built by G.A. Nichols.

In 1928, Oklahoma City changed from capital city of an oil producing state to an oil capital in its own right. The Oklahoma City Field — with single wells capable of producing up to 60,000 barrels a day — was one of the nation’s significant discoveries. Before long the procession of drilling rigs marched north and west to engulf the city’s east side and the Capitol complex itself. This frenzied activity left an indelible stamp on Lincoln Terrace. Not only was the Lincoln Boulevard esplanade along the west edge of the district an actual working oil field (it contains several producing wells to this day), but Lincoln Terrace itself soon acquired a disproportionate number of homeowners who were petroleum industry leaders.

The significance of Lincoln Terrace today lies not only in the importance of those state figures who developed it. Lincoln Terrace also represents an era. “This was the heyday of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and the oil boom in Oklahoma and many of the residences reflect the taste of the period,” according to historian Kenny A. Franks. Newly rich oilmen and political leaders flocked to the area, he says, “and their lifestyles were indicative of the entrepreneur era in American history. It was a short-lived period of financial wheeling and dealing during the oil boom in which millionaires were made overnight. However, it came to a sudden halt for many during the depression of the 1930s. Nonetheless, Lincoln Terrace remains as a prime example of the great influx of wealth brought about by the growth of the oil industry in the new state. Lincoln Terrace represents architecturally a unified, original, and well-preserved visual reminder of the free-wheeling lifestyles and tastes of the enterprising young pioneers who settled and built Oklahoma City.

The History of Our Homes

Thanks to the work of Michael and Mary Beth Guard who documented the history of many homes in Lincoln Terrace. The information contained represents a “snapshot in time.” In virtually all instances, it encompasses pictures and histories that pre-date 1974. Some of the photos were taken at a much earlier date, but no information is available to tell us exactly when.