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Shepherd Historic District


The Shepherd Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.

Summary

The Shepherd Historic District, also known as Cashion Place Addition, includes a park and 325 buildings, almost all of which are 1930's-era single family residences of brick or stone. There are a few older frame houses on the first developed block, and the northeast corner of the area has newer commercial buildings. The houses in the neighborhood are uniformly spaced houses, with the majority in the typical styles of the 1930's. The style of over half the houses is Tudor Revival, with its typical steeply pitched roofs, arches, half-timbered gables, and prominent chimneys. Also typical of the neighborhood is the Minimal Traditional style, usually with no eaves, simplified detailing, and siding on the upper floor of two-story units. Another popular style is a simplified form of Colonial Revival, where such details as round columns, balconies, and porch details are usually less elaborate on the Shepherd neighborhood houses than for those constructed several years earlier. Outstanding examples of other styles include the Moderne house at Northwest 26th Street and North Youngs Boulevard, and the French Eclectic dwelling one block north. With 92% of its resources contributing to the district, the Shepherd Historic District has maintained its historical integrity to a high degree.

Description

The Shepherd Historic District covers eighteen blocks southwest of the intersection of North Pennsylvania Avenue and Northwest 30th Street, about four miles northwest of downtown Oklahoma City. The topography is mostly gently sloping, with the higher points along the west side. Some of the lots adjacent to Pennsylvania Avenue have steep berms with the street several feet below the level of the houses; in a few cases the garage is one level lower than the house.

The Shepherd Historic District includes 325 buildings and one site — 4 commercial buildings, 321 residential (309 main houses and 12 secondary units), and a park. Most of the properties (96%) were built between 1931 and 1941. The predominant style is Tudor Revival, typically asymmetrical, with side gables, small or no eaves, brick veneer, and small porch. Over 155 houses are of the Tudor Revival style; other dominant styles are Colonial Revival and Minimal Traditional. The first block in the neighborhood to be developed (the 2100 block of Northwest 29th Street Street) has several houses of the Bungalow/Craftsman style.

Almost all the homes of the Shepherd Historic District have survived sixty years essentially intact. Of the 325 buildings, 299 (92%) are considered contributing to the Shepherd Historic District. Of the 26 noncontributing buildings, ten are newer than the period of significance.

All the main houses face the east-west streets; some secondary units face the side streets. Most parcels are 50 to 60 feet wide. North of 26th Street, the lots are 150 feet deep; south, 128.9 feet deep. Except for the easternmost parts of 25th and 26th, all streets are straight, following Oklahoma City's typical grid pattern. Street rights-of-way vary from 60 feet (Northwest 25th Street and Northwest 26th Street, North Barnes Avenue and North Youngs Boulevard) to 75 feet (Northwest 28th Street and Northwest 29th Street) to 90 feet (Northwest 27th Street); Northwest 30th Street is 44.2 feet (with 34.2 feet dedicated from Cashion Place). Actual street pavement width is similar on all the streets; the resulting visual effect is that those streets with wider rights-of-way appear to have deeper front setbacks. The overall effect is of a uniform rhythm on each street.

The Shepherd neighborhood has visual uniformity of house spacing, a narrow range of styles and materials, and historic integrity of its buildings. The Shepherd Historic District retains integrity in terms of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.

Significance

The Shepherd Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance as an excellent representation of masonry middle-class houses constructed in Oklahoma City during the Depression. Over 95% were built during the period from 1931 to 1941, and all but a handful retain their historic integrity. The Shepherd Historic District retains integrity of feeling and association, as well as design, materials, workmanship, and location.

Historical Background

Oklahoma City was established as a result of the 1889 Land Run with an initial population of 4,138, which by 1910, three years after statehood, had risen to 64,205. Extending in all four directions from the downtown, residential neighborhoods quickly developed. Toward the northeast, on the east side of the Santa Fe Railroad tracks, the Maywood Addition developed with stately Victorian residences. South of the downtown area, across the North Canadian River, the Capitol Hill neighborhood was established. And, northwest of downtown Oklahoma City, following the progress of the streetcar lines, were the majority of Oklahoma City's middle and upper class neighborhoods.

By the mid-1910's, frame and brick homes lined the streets of the city and, while many were located south of Northwest 10th Street, there were some as far north as Northwest 23rd Street. The Oklahoma City economy boomed during the 1920's and neighborhoods continued to develop rapidly with almost every street from the centrally located downtown north to North 36th Street and south to South 29th Street filled with homes of varying sizes, though there were some significant large vacant parcels. Neighborhoods built during that period represent the residential architectural styles of the mid-1910's and 1920's. These styles include Bungalow, Colonial Revival, Prairie School, Tudor Revival, and many others typical of the two decades.

The discovery of the Oklahoma City Oil Field in 1928 resulted in one final economic boom before the effects of the Great Depression reached the city. This economy encouraged developers such as G.A. Nichols to continue to develop parcels and build and sell houses; even into the Depression such large developments as Crown Heights Historic District were constructed.

By 1930 most of the areas around what is now called the Shepherd neighborhood had been substantially developed. Gatewood Addition, to the southeast, was platted in 1922 and largely completed. West Point Addition to the north (now called the Sequoyah neighborhood), and Finley's Highland Home to the west (now called Cleveland neighborhood) were platted as five-acre parcels, then re-subdivided into house lots. Military Park, to the northeast, was originally platted in 1902, but the section closest to Shepherd was not developed until the 1930's. Westlawn Park to the east was built in the 1920's.[1] The location of the Shepherd neighborhood was ideal for development as one of the few remaining large vacant parcels.

Historical Significance

On July 21, 1896, Homestead Certificate #2287 was issued to George L. Shepherd for the Southeast Quarter of Section 19, Township 12 North, Range 3 West of the Indian Meridian in Oklahoma Territory. This is the 160 acres located between what is now Northwest 23rd Street on the south, Northwest 30th Street on the north, North Villa Avenue on the west, and North Pennsylvania Avenue on the east.

Eighty acres in the northeast part of the farmstead was sold to E.S. Hilliard (of Chicot County, Arkansas) for $14,000 in 1915. In 1920, M. [Med] Cashion (also a Chicot County resident), acting with power of attorney for Hilliard, along with other Arkansas businessmen, created a scheme to divide Hilliard's land into one-acre tracts called "Lake View Farms." No improvements were done and no sales took place. In 1923, Hilliard died, leaving the 80 acres to Cashion. In May of 1924 the east half of this parcel was platted by M. and Mary Lamar Cashion as Blocks A through M of Cashion Place Addition. This is the area between 25th Street and 30th Street, and from Pennsylvania Avenue to 1/3 block west of Barnes Avenue. Included was a park facing Pennsylvania Avenue between 27th Street and 28th Street.[2]

An auction sale was set for Thursday, May 22, 1924, with inducements of "free barbecue dinner and other entertainment." The property, "in the path of present real estate development in the northwestern part of the city, it was restricted to residences of at least $2,000, and "the streets have been graded."[3] Fewer than forty parcels were sold, including ten to John W. Shields[4] (for whom Shields Boulevard is named). "Gradually decreasing prices from bidders caused it [the sale] to be discontinued before the entire forty acres was sold"[5] Most of the area was not developed, and it remained a wheat field until the early 1930's. Pennsylvania Avenue was paved (though after rains it flooded just north of 23rd Street)[6], as were the streets running east from Pennsylvania Avenue, but west of Pennsylvania Avenue the streets were only dirt. Only a handful of houses were built. 29th Street extended west of Pennsylvania Avenue to its present limits at the west edge of Swatek Park, where there was a popular swimming lake with a frame bathhouse. It was known as "Shepherd's Lake."[7]

There were two other lakes to the south of this lake, and a nine-hole "sand green" golf course was constructed around them. The small frame clubhouse was facing on 23rd Street about midway between Pennsylvania and Villa Avenues. It was just west of the two-story frame farmhouse that was the Shepherds' home.

The Cashions sold their unplatted west 40 acres to M.A. Swatek in 1928 for $50,000. In February of 1931, M.A. and Lottie Swatek platted their acreage as Blocks 1 through 12; Block 2 was dedicated for park use (now Swatek Park). At the same time, the Cashions replatted most of the east half (Blocks B through L) into larger house lots, including the area formerly designated as a park. Deed restrictions included requirement of masonry foundations and exterior, limiting "garage house" occupants to servants of the main house owner, setting 25-foot front building lines and 5-foot rear utility easements (no alleys), and prohibiting ownership or occupancy (except servants) by "any person of any race other than the Caucasian race" (violation of this provision would cause the property to revert to Cashion or Swatek). House cost minimums were set at $3,500 for the replatted part of the east half; for Swatek's west half they were set at $4,000 for 29th and 30th streets, $5,500 for 27th Street, and $5,000 for the remainder.[8]

While Cashion Place was begun in 1924, almost all development occurred during the Depression and before World War II. About 96% of the 325 houses were finished between 1931 and 1941. Only two main houses, four garage apartments, and the four commercial buildings have been built since World War II.

The L-shaped remainder of the original Shepherd tract was outside of the Oklahoma City city limits until shortly after the end of World War II. In January 1951, an 11-acre tract on the northwest corner of 23rd and Pennsylvania was sold to Sears & Roebuck, with an additional three acres sold in 1954.[9] The first phase of the Penn Crossing development was recently constructed following the removal of the original Sears building.

In June of 1961, the remaining 64.54 acres of Shepherd tract was sold to Charles L. Jenkins and Ray C. Broce, the original owners and builders of Shepherd Mall. In October of 1962, the plat of Shepherd Plaza was recorded.[10] At this time the vacant tract at the southeast comer of 30th Street and Villa Avenue was zoned for multiple family; the Copperfield Apartments were built there in 1980.

Of the 64.54 acres purchased for Shepherd Mall, a Life Estate was granted to Lottie and Edith Shepherd (unmarried daughters of George Shepherd) on the 1.79 acres on which their two-story frame farmhouse stood; thus they had the right to occupy that property until they both died. The farmhouse stood in what would have been the right-of-way of Youngs Boulevard if extended north from 23rd Street. After both of the Shepherds died, the house was removed and the area made into additional parking for Shepherd Mall.

The name "Shepherd Historic District" is used because the neighborhood association of the district has used the name "Shepherd Neighborhood" for many years, even using the silhouette of a sheep as a logo. The Shepherd name is associated with the Shepherd family which owned the property after the Land Run, and the adjacent Shepherd Mall, which was the first major shopping center in the city. Legal filings to this day use the name "Cashion Place" as the plat name. An east-west street named Cashion Place is located in the neighborhood to the north.

The period of significance (1931 to 1941) was determined as follows: About 96% of the properties in the Shepherd Historic District were built during that period. Although Med and Mary Lamar Cashion platted the first part of Cashion Place in 1924, only four extant properties were built before 1931. The last property developed over fifty years ago (the National Register's 50-year cutoff for most nominations) was completed in 1941; there was no building from 1942 to 1949. The date of 1931 is significant because that year, the Cashions replatted most of the east area, M.A. and Lottie Swatek platted the west part of the neighborhood, and the substantial development of the entire addition began.

The Shepherd Historic District is listed the National Register of Historic Places because of its architecture. The buildings in the Shepherd Historic District are excellent examples of middle-class brick homes constructed during the Depression, with a uniform rhythm and a similarity of styles. Over 92% of the resources are contributing to the district.

Architectural Significance

The architecture in Shepherd Historic District is an excellent example of popular residential styles during the 1930's, using masonry. The decade of the 1930's links the exuberant 1920's styles (Craftsman, high-styled Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival) to the industrialized post-World War II suburban developments. The Shepherd Historic District includes representatives of simplified Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival styles, and of the Minimal Traditional style of the late 1930's and early 1940's.

The national economic shift from the 1920's prosperity to the Depression provided the impetus for changes in homes designed for middle-class buyers. At the end of the 1920's, traditional styles such as Colonial Revival, French Eclectic, Tudor Revival, and Spanish-influenced styles continued to be popular with an "emphasis on texture and picturesqueness."[11] However, by the mid-1930's homes were smaller and more simply designed. "The picturesque, romantic, medieval, hand-wrought character (was) replaced by the more precise and machinelike, with emphasis upon proportion and mass rather than detail."[12] Eliminated from most plans were servant's quarters, separate dining areas, and breakfast nooks. These rooms were replaced with dining alcoves incorporated with the living room, attached garages, and the possibility of a recreation room in the half-story attic rather than the basement.

Tudor Revival Style — Tudor Revival residences, which were very popular in Oklahoma City, came in a variety of sizes. High-style examples are generally large, two-story homes which feature almost every architectural characteristic which distinguishes this style. Smaller Tudor Revival residences were often referred to when advertised as "bungalows," meaning a small two or three bedroom home generally less than 1,500 or 1,600 square feet. Many examples of the smaller houses are found in Shepherd. The Tudor Revival style of architecture was immensely popular in Oklahoma City during the 1920's and 1930's. Local craftsmen were capable of producing imaginative designs using brick as well as stucco, stone and wood. Interiors were customized with oak floors, dramatic staircases, and intricate fireplace mantels. General characteristics of the style include a steeply pitched roof, an elaborately designed front-facing chimney sometimes with chimney pots, narrow windows, and arched, plank front entry doors. Some gables have half-timbering. Herringbone patterns were used in exterior brickwork.

The more modest examples typical in the Shepherd Historic District have less steeply pitched roofs, siding or brick in the gables, and no eaves. Brick patterns may remain on chimneys, and often bricks at the floor lines and the row below the cornice are vertically laid (soldier course). Instead of large porches, entrances may have an open stoop or a small hood. Most windows are hung with 6/1 or 1/1 lights; some front windows have arches above them, either in brick or glazed. Some chimneys have two flues, but chimney pots are rare.

Minimal Traditional Style — The Minimal Traditional style is second in predominance in the Shepherd Historic District. This style became popular during the late 1930's when the Federal Housing Administration established housing standards and residences in general became smaller and more simply designed. The emphasis was more on function rather than appearance and the cost of the home began to influence the design.

This style can be characterized by its boxy shape, side-gabled roof, lack of eaves, minimal ornamentation, and stoop or small entry porch. Some examples have simplified features from the Tudor Revival style, such as a front-facade chimney. Others imitate the Colonial Revival and use wooden pilasters and flat pediments to accentuate the entry. Two-story versions of the style sometimes have masonry on the first floor and weatherboard on the second (sometimes covered with vinyl or aluminum siding).

Colonial Revival Style. — Colonial Revival residences in the Shepherd Historic District are generally two-story homes with accentuated center or side entrances. The typical roof is side-gabled and the fenestration is symmetrical. A one-story side porch is also typical. The style is easily recognizable with its side-gabled roof and center entrance. The entries are generally located in the center of the residence with a central stair inside with a dining room to one side and a living room on the other. A few have attached garages, however, most have detached double-car garages in the rear.

Materials commonly used for Colonial Revival houses include weatherboard, brick, and in some cases wood shingles. Later versions of the style, built during the late 1930's, have brick sheathing on the first floor and weatherboard on the second floor.

The Cape Cod style is a subtype of the Colonial Revival style and was popular during the 1930's and 1940's. This style is characterized by its height, one-and-one-half stories. A gabled roof is also typical of the style and generally there are gabled dormers on the front or the rear of the residence. The entrance is often centered. The details are those of the Colonial Revival style, while borrowing more exactly from the early wooden folk houses of eastern Massachusetts.

Bungalow/Craftsman — This style was popular nationally and in Oklahoma City from the 1910's and 1920's. It is usually executed with weatherboard siding, though brick and stucco examples are in the city. Typical details are wide porches with tapered wood columns and square brick piers, low pitched gabled roofs with exposed rafter tails and triangular braces on gables, and side chimneys flanked by small windows. The first block in the Shepherd Historic District to be developed, the 2100 block of 29th Street, had no deed restrictions requiring masonry; on that block there are several Bungalow/Craftsman duplexes and single residences which originally had weatherboard siding.

Other styles — Other styles of the 1930's are rare in the Shepherd Historic District. There is one Moderne house in Shepherd, located at 2240 Northwest 27th Street; it has the horizontal orientation, curved edges, and corner casement windows typical of the style. The house at 2240 Northwest 26th Street is French Eclectic style; it has a stuccoed round tower and stone wall and foundation. The two-story home at 2301 Northwest 27th Street is Prairie School style; it is squarish with a hipped roof and wide eaves. The only Ranch house in the neighborhood was built in 1968 at 2136 Northwest 27th Street; it has a typical horizontal orientation with wide eaves.

Endnotes

  1. Oklahoma County deed records; Oklahoma City City Directories.
  2. Oklahoma County Deed Records.
  3. Daily Oklahoman, May 18, 1924.
  4. Oklahoma County deed records.
  5. Daily Oklahoman, May 25, 1924.
  6. Iva Gilliland, interview, May 6, 1996. Ms. Gilliland has lived in the neighborhood since 1937.
  7. Shepherd Neighborhood History.
  8. Oklahoma County deed records.
  9. Shepherd Neighborhood History.
  10. Oklahoma County Deed Records.
  11. House Beautiful. February 1935, p. 52, 53, 70.
  12. House Beautiful. February 1935, p. 52, 53, 70.

References

The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Gilliland, Iva. Interview, May 6, 1996.

House Beautiful. February, 1935, pp. 52, 53, 70.

McAlester, Virginia, and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.

Oklahoma City City Directory. 1926-1993.

Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Deed Records.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Oklahoma City, 1919, 1947, 1955.

Shepherd Neighborhood History. c.1990.

† John R. Calhoun, R. Brett Hames, Richard Wilson and Greg Pugh, City of Oklahoma City Planning Department, Shepherd Historic District, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, nomination document, 1997, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

See Map

Street Names: 25th Street NW, 26th Street NW, 27th Street NW, 28th Street NW, 29th Street NW, 30th Street NW, Barnes Avenue North, Pennsylvania Avenue North, Youngs Boulevard North

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