View Full Version : How About the Great Northwest Boulevard?

Doug Loudenback
04-03-2009, 12:21 PM
Thanks to mmm's good lead in the Capitol Hill definition thread, I've found several other old Okc maps at the OHS website, all in PDF format. As to the Peerless Press map described here, I've extracted the full map and changed it to greyscale and lightened it up for better reading, and the full high resolution map is here, for map lovers: I'm too preoccupied with my vintage map right now to make a blog post, so consider this to be the same, for now, just for youz guys.

A much-shrunken version of this map appears below so that you can see if you want to download it or not:

Even though undated, it contains a list of Oklahoma City public schools and principal buildings, and the list which shows building names and addresses is valuable just by itself. Reviewing the list, several 1910 buildings are in it but the Post Office hadn't yet moved to NW 3rd, which it did in 1912. So, the map would have been made between 1910 and 1911 but the date is almost certainly 1911, as you will see below.

The fascinating part of the map, in the NW quarter, and that which needs to be taken with a grain of salt, is the impressive and extensive "Northwest Boulevard" running from NW 13th & Villa northwest to a "Grand Boulevard Junction Boulevard" around NW 46th & Ann Arbor in Putnam City Addition with a university campus located near the terminus ... I've cropped and reduced the size of that area for posting here ...

But, the thing is, in 1910, I.M. Putnam had hoped that the state capitol would be located in the area shown by the proposed university. But, that didn't happen. A September 3, 1910, Oklahoman article shows that at least some construction began on southeast end of the boulevard, but, as far as I know right now, that was pretty much all that came of it:

The showdown on the state capitol location occurred late 1910. The following December 10, 1910, article reflects that the location choice had pretty much narrowed down to two, the Putnam location and, of course, the site which won approval shortly after the article was written, the Harn property on 23rd Street.

Putnam's state capitol plan having not succeeded, being undaunted, he then pursued, in 1911, a plan to have a new university located where he had hoped the capitol would have been. By this time, Epworth University had closed its Oklahoma City doors ( and in September 1911 reopened under a different name in Guthrie (which didn't last very long). So, the city was without a significant college or university. Putnam had other thoughts.

The May 24, 1911, article below shows his plan:

But, that didn't happen, either, and neither the hoped for university nor the fine roadways leading to it in the Putnam City Addition ever happened. The October 15, 1911, article below tells why:

So, that's the short story of some fine Oklahoma City roads that never happened. It would surprise me not if I.M. Putnam didn't commission The Peerless Press to make this fine map.

04-03-2009, 01:21 PM
cool info... there is another map on the ohs website that includes the wishful thinking of putnam's northwest capitol plan. if you don't have it, i can probably dig it up again. -M

Doug Loudenback
04-03-2009, 04:26 PM
Not sure what you mean. I've seen at least one other vintage map with the theoretical NW quadrant boulevards but I don't think I got it at OHS. Which map do you have in mind?

04-03-2009, 10:03 PM
with "all words" selected again, do a search for "oklahoma city map capitol" and it will be the only result. it's similar to the peerless map but has the capitol in the northwest part of town instead of the university.


04-03-2009, 10:13 PM
here's the relevant section of the map i'm talking about... -M

04-04-2009, 08:33 PM
here's the relevant section of the map i'm talking about... -M

Putnam dreamed big. His state capitol reservation ran from NW 10th to north of NW 50th (just over 3 miles in length), by about a mile wide. The N-S streets aren't marked real well, but it looks like it would've run along N. Meridian.

Interesting to see what might have been.

04-04-2009, 09:13 PM
looks to me as if the capitol itself would've been between ann arbor & meridian... pretty much just as you say. would be interesting to find more materials as to how the land itself was going to be developed. -M

04-04-2009, 09:30 PM
This is extremely interesting to me because almost all of the important places in my life are on that last map. My church and grade school (St Charles) my current residence my childhood residence would not exist if that plan had been put in place. I drove down 36th street on my way home from work this afternoon and tried to imagine the area with a state capital and park. You learn something new every day. Thanks for all of the great information guys.

Doug Loudenback
04-04-2009, 10:12 PM
We do love our historic maps, mmm and I! Glad you enjoyed the read, ccokc!

Doug Loudenback
04-04-2009, 11:18 PM
Thanks to mmm, I've downloaded the Putnam state capitol map he mentioned above, and I've extracted it from its PDF file and then converted it to greyscale and lightened it up for easier reading than the dark yellow format contained in the PDF file. This map was probably made between 1909-1910 since it show the Belt Line rail tracks leading to Packingtown, completed during that time. But, it wholly lacks the detail of the Peerless map. Nonetheless, it is valuable since it shows I.M. Putnam's plans for the state capitol, already discussed. You can open/download the whole map here:

04-09-2009, 09:44 PM
looks to me as if the capitol itself would've been between ann arbor & meridian... pretty much just as you say. would be interesting to find more materials as to how the land itself was going to be developed. -M

This thread has cleared up a mystery! There's a 'Welcome to Warr Acres' sign at NW 39th and Ann Arbor that reads "Almost the State Capitol of Oklahoma." I've driven by it a number of times, and always thought it some kind of wierd joke. I drove by it again tonight, after having read this thread, and I finally figured out what it means. If I.M. Putnam's plan had come to fruition, Warr Acres would've been the state capitol, just a block north of that sign.

Of course, Warr Acres wasn't incorporated until many years later (late 40's/early 50s), so had the capitol been built at 40th and Ann Arbor, the area likely would've been annexed by OKC before Gene Warr could do it.

04-20-2009, 12:23 AM
Hey guys, I just ran across this map that was printed in the Oklahoman...thought it might contribute to the discussion. It seems to indicate the proposed Capitol site with a bit more detail of where the building would sit.

Cheer! Blair