The Edmond Sun


December 4, 2013

Frederick eyes its future renovation

OKLA. CITY — Terence Malik is an American filmmaker who spent part of his youth in Bartlesville. He is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed 1978 movie “Days of Heaven” that is set in the Texas Panhandle before the First World War during the harvest season. The late film critic Roger Ebert described “Days of Heaven” as “one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made” and praised Malik for evoking “the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas Prairie” Ebert wrote of how the characters in the film appeared to be on a land “to large for its inhabitants” and that they seemed to struggle with the “weight of the land.” And a visitor to Frederick, in Southwestern Oklahoma,  where the land has a topography comparable to the Texas prairie, encounters visual images that are similar to the ones contained in Malik’s movie.

From a distance, the structures in Frederick appear as small as the ones on  model train sets as they sit amidst sprawling fields and limitless skies that seem to be held in places by spackles of white clouds. But unlike the characters in Malik’s movie, the people of Frederick seem to be at peace with their land, and tell visitors of how the wheat fields turn different colors before the harvest season and the thin layer of frost that can be seen in the early morning on the land in the fall. Frederick, which is the county seat of Tillman County, produces wheat, cotton and other agricultural products. In the City of New Orleans there are many one room wide homes that are known as “shotgun houses” because a gun could be fired through the front door and go through every room in the structure.

Recent histories of that city have concluded that the design of those houses was brought to New Orleans from French refugees who fled the Slave Rebellion that took place in Haiti in the late 1700s. There are shotgun houses  found in several residential areas in Frederick, and it is reported that they were moved there from the town of Burkburnett, Texas, in the early decades of the last century by a local businessman. In 1904, a fire destroyed much of downtown Frederick, and the people of that community decided to rebuild it with bricks and mortar to ensure that it survived.   

And those structures, which include the Ramona Theater that is on the Department of the Interior’s list of historic buildings, reflect the architecture of that era. Like the downtowns of many Oklahoma communities, that area was deserted by retailers in the 1960s, and many of the structures there are not currently in use. Architect Ron Frantz, who formerly was part of the Main Street Program operated by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, that works to revitalize downtown areas in Oklahoma communities, has spoken about the architectural heritage embodied in Frederick’s downtown buildings, and the steps that could be taken to renovate and preserve them. And it is possible that the renovation of some of those structures will begin soon.

The Main Street organization plans to implement a new program that will assist communities seeking to reinvigorate their downtown areas but will not include all of the requirements for membership that are found in its current program.

The City of Frederick has indicated that it would like to participate in that  planned undertaking, and recently sent a representative to a regional Main Street gathering that was in Altus. And it is possible that downtown Frederick will be reborn in the 21st century just as it was in the 20th century.

WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN is an Oklahoma City attorney.

Text Only
  • Welfare state grows as self-sufficiency declines

    For the past 50 years, the government’s annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting.
    After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all official poverty in the U.S.
    How can the government spend so much while poverty remains unchanged? The answer is simple: The Census Bureau’s “poverty” figures are woefully incomplete.

    August 1, 2014

  • Let laughter reign in Turkey

    This week, Bulent Arinc, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, verbally chastised Turkish women for laughing in public. Before we take a closer look at these remarks — in the interest of full disclosure — I need to confess a personal bias. I love to hear my wife’s laughter. Sometimes, when I review the day’s highlights, the most pleasant thing that comes to mind is her laugh — it’s frequent, genuine, pleasantly-pitched, melodious, appropriately timed, infectious and charming.

    August 1, 2014

  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results