The Edmond Sun

Opinion

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.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results