Waverley Historic District
The Waverley Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2015, The Gombach Group.
In the original town plat housing lots did not last long after the land run in 1893. New housing sites were in demand and one of the first additions to Enid was Kenwood Addition, platted in 1894. As population grew, the city began to move north, east and south, but not west. A promising residential area directly west of the town square was involved in a land dispute which prevented land development west of the central core. Disputes were common in the unsettled rush for land, so conflicting claims resulted. Frequently claimants to the same property would work out settlement deals or leave it to a court to resolve. This 160 acre parcel west of town was in a prime location and was contested by Edmund Weatherly and one Captain Todd. Their dispute lasted for nearly ten years before it was resolved in Mr. Weatherly's favor. The dispute was important, however, because it essentially stopped the spread of Enid west beyond the Weatherly tract for almost a decade. The area which would become the Waverley Historic District was west of Weatherly land dispute and would not be platted until the dispute was resolved.
The Waverley Historic District once was the farm of Luther and William Braden. In 1902, Charles West purchased the Braden land and quickly transferred it to the Waverley Investment Company, of which he was president. A real estate developer, P. J. Goulding, was secretary of the investment company and the company immediately hired E. C. Cook to survey the residential lots. The first plat for Waverley was filed in May 1902. The addition was a success in the sale of lots. The company was enthusiastic about continuing development. West and Goulding believed that once the territory achieved statehood (which occurred in 1907), Enid's prospects would only escalate. The company hired C. H. Sexton to survey the next parcel of land and the company platted Waverley's Second Addition in April 1905. By 1906, B. F. Lewis had surveyed another parcel of land for the company and the company filed a plat for Waverley's Third Addition in January 1906. The fourth addition was registered in May 1907. Within five years approximately 100 acres of what is now the Waverley Historic District was ready for houses.
The timing of the Waverley Investment Company could not have been more fortuitous as Enid began its "Golden Era" of development. Once the Waverley plats were opened for purchase, houses began to appear. Early houses date from ca. 1906 in the first addition. The new residents were businessmen, attorneys, travel agents and entrepreneurs who were benefiting from Enid's economic success. Representative of these individuals was Joseph McCristy, president of the Enid Mill and Grain Company. His new mansion was constructed ca. 1909 in the Waverley first addition. It was designed by architect R. W. Shaw and was a drawing card used by town promoters to show visitors Enid's economic promise. John W. Graham built another mansion next to McCristy at 1305 W. Broadway in ca. 1916. T. T. Eason purchased the house after Graham died and the house is associated with Eason's ownership. These are two of the town's most elegant mansions.
The neighborhood held a highly regarded status and many of the town's well-to-do citizens built houses in the Waverley district. Some of the neighborhood's grandest houses are in the first addition and along Broadway where Neoclassical homes such as the McCristy and Robberts houses (ca. 1906) elegantly grace the wide boulevard. By 1910, houses were constructed in half of the Waverley's first addition. During this early period of development in the neighborhood, a mix of styles was well-established and the most popular tastes were for Colonial Revival and bungalows. A notable bungalow with Craftsman details is at 1214 West Broadway (ca. 1911) and belonged to Harry Alton, owner of a mercantile company.
It is well to bear in mind that Enid was still experiencing remarkable growth. Waverley additions offered lots for much needed housing, and within all the Waverley additions, eighty houses were constructed between platting in 1902 and 1910. The next decade, however, was remarkable for vigorous building activity in the neighborhood. With oil discovered within about 15 miles of Enid, the oil industry with refineries and oil related businesses came to the community. Growth which was once predicated on agriculture and railroad transportation was transformed again by oil. When the discovery of oil began strongly to affect the town, the number of houses under construction in the Waverley neighborhood climbed dramatically. In the 1920s, one hundred and eighteen houses were built.
The 1920s are a notable period of community growth with a nearly 60% population increase from the previous decade. People moving into Waverley were the upwardly-mobile middle class who had prospered during the flowering of Enid's Golden Era. Many of the new homes in the neighborhood were more modest than the larger homes along Broadway, but the neighborhood remained attractive and rated highly as a place to live. In a 1944 publication, the entire Waverley neighborhood was classified as an "A" residential area on a declining scale from A to C.
The neighborhood remained an attractive place to live for a variety of Enid's citizens which included doctors, church leaders, and businessmen. A number of builders lived in the neighborhood, with six listed as having residences there in 1936 as did one architect. The convenience of public transportation helped those who had not quite made the transition to owning an automobile. The trolley car route bounded the district on the north along West Broadway Avenue from downtown, and then from Broadway the cars turned south onto South Tyler Street, and turned again west on West Oklahoma Avenue. It provided public transportation in a community that was in transition between horse and the automobile.
While Enid's golden economic era began to wane in the 1930s due to the Great Depression, the last three houses were built in the neighborhood's period of significance. With the effect of the depression finally felt in Enid, it was also felt in the neighborhood. Thirteen more houses would be built between 1940 and 1950, just after the arrival of the Air Corps Basic Flying School (Vance Air Force Base) in 1941, but the neighborhood's character and architecture was determined during the period prior to 1940.
Architecturally, the neighborhood is a reflection of local and national tastes in home construction. As one historian of architecture in Enid has noted, the area of the Waverley Historic District makes it an open book of 20th Century architecture. Visually diverse, the neighborhood coalesces in one area a rich assortment of house styles popular in the first three decades of the 20th Century. The most popular is the Bungalow. They can be found multitude forms with few that are exactly alike. They range from the quite elaborate, with two-story airplane and camelback versions, to the quite simple small house with four rooms and a bath. This uniquely evolved American house form became the most pervasive style of house in Waverley and they fit lifestyle needs in the 20th Century which were less formal than those of previous decades. Servants in homes were a passing amenity as homemakers did more of their own work. Fussy and divided spaces in Victorian houses gave way to more open plans in the bungalow. People wanted electricity, indoor plumbing, and modern kitchens which the bungalow offered. The image of the bungalow home was one of comfort, and homeowners liked their simple plans and large porches where they could sit in the summer and visit with their neighbors. The house form was also perfect for small city lots. They could create the illusion of a spacious lot as the partial or full front facade porch, and wrap around porches helped create the impression of airy roominess. With 46% of the district's housing a variety of bungalows, they reflected not only that Enid residents could afford to buy a house, but also they reveal the transition American houses were making to accommodate interest in a more comfortable lifestyle.
The next most popular style was Colonial Revival and these houses represent 24% of the district's housing stock. Colonial Revival has for generations represented security, stability and rootedness. Just as the Cherokee Strip was opened, the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago stimulated a burst of national patriotism and pride in ancestry. Many Colonial Revival houses were also built in Enid during and after World War I, when national patriotism was certainly widespread. These houses come in a variety of forms: one-story, two-story, but many of them are Foursquare house types.
The district has multiple foursquare houses (55) which could be dressed in a variety of styles to express individual taste. This popular house form was not only economical to build, but it provided space for large families. It also was indicative of more "modern" builder's concepts of housing as the form rejected the overly ornate Victorian house with complex massing. An essentially new house form that evolved in post Victorian suburbs, it appealed to home owners with its appearance of stability and solidity. Builders were able to purchase published plans for these houses from companies like Sears and Aladdin. Designed such they could be fit on almost any lot width helped encourage their use in a variety of city locations. The number of Foursquares is 20% of Waverley's housing.
Folk Victorian and Queen Anne houses (10%) were constructed in the district as vestiges of the Victorian era, and all of these were constructed by 1910 and at the end of their popularity. Prairie School houses (5%) also contribute to the variety of housing in the neighborhood and most of Prairie attributes are found on vernacular forms such as the Foursquare.
There are nineteen houses that have mixed or no distinct style and while the majority are non-contributing due to alterations, three are contributing in the form of garage apartments. Other house styles in small numbers are Tudor Revivals (9), Neoclassical (3), National Folk (1), Mediterranean (1), Italian Renaissance (1), and Spanish Eclectic (1). Minimal Traditional houses were constructed after 1940, and the district has a 1950 Ranch and a recently constructed house. The Tudor Revival houses are generally modest forms of these eclectic styles, and seven of the nine were constructed at the end of the district's period of significance. The neighborhood has one church constructed in 1947 and therefore it does not contribute to the significance of Waverley Historic District because of its age.
The Waverley Historic District is significant in architecture for the diverse collection of early 20th Century housing which exemplifies Enid's and America's changing ideas about house forms, about living styles, about building techniques, and as residents experienced moving from the horse as transportation to the automobile. Framed within Enid's economic and cultural Golden Era, the neighborhood has one of the best concentrations of historic buildings associated with Enid's period of greatest growth and prosperity.
The only other National Register listed historic residential area in Enid is the Kenwood Historic District. Kenwood district is older, and was the earliest addition to the City of Enid. Neighbors in the Waverley neighborhood perceive their neighborhood to be quite different. One aspect of the difference is in Waverley's size. Waverley as a residential area is larger with two hundred seventy-seven buildings while Kenwood has ninety-five. Waverley has had mostly single family dwellings and no businesses while Kenwood has several multi-family apartment buildings and a funeral home. While Kenwood does not contain any other commercial businesses, they closely skirt the Kenwood district's boundary and residents are concerned about further intrusions into the historic area. Waverley is perceived as far away from such a concern, and a neighborhood that is comfortable and family oriented.
While the Waverley Historic District is closely entwined with Enid's historical development and period of community wealth during its Golden Era, the neighborhood maintains a sense of historic and architectural distinction that reflects the time and place it developed. The district has significance for both the part it reveals about Enid's community development, and the district's houses are an open book of 20th Century architectural tastes between 1902 and 1935.
Cathy Ambler, Ph.D., Preservation Consultant, Waverly Historic District, Garfield County, OK, nomination document, 2006, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.