Bradley Wynn’s “Oklahoma City’s Midtown”

Touring the Roads of History

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Oklahoma City seems to be doing pretty well for itself at the moment. Its Midtown district is one of multiple areas that has been undergoing something of a renaissance in the past couple of decades – just look at the newly opened Ambassador Hotel on NW 12th and Walker. But as anyone of an entomological bent can tell you, you can’t have a renaissance without an original nascence.
And though it’s more than a century old, the story of this birth of a neighborhood is freshly told in the
new “Oklahoma City’s Midtown” (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99). Painstakingly researched by local historian Bradley Wynn, much of the book’s bulk is devoted to informatively captioned archive photos from the Oklahoma Historical Society, OU’s Western History Collections and more, detailing the district’s earliest Land Run days through its initial growth, especially its hospitals and churches, and concluding for the sake of comparison with a dash through the original and refurbished buildings of Midtown today. A book of national interest? Perhaps not. But it’s an engrossing read for modern residents interested in their city’s history, especially any who are unfamiliar with the namesakes of thoroughfares like Classen and Shartel, or who love success stories like St. Anthony’s development from a leaky 12-bed house into a top-tier health center. Look back, and remember: onward and upward.

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If you’re looking for some high-quality additions to your reading list, a handy set of recommendations for the state’s finest literature is close at hand: the Oklahoma Book Awards
are April 12 at the Jim Thorpe Museum in OKC.

 

Categories: Good Reads