A History of Frederick, Tillman County
Mr. David W. Gish
Frederick was originally two towns - Hazel and Gosnell - established in 1902, located side by side. Later, with the coming of the Blackwell, Enid, and Southern Railroad, the tow towns were joined and named Frederick after the son of a conductor on the first passenger train into town. The railroad was later sold to the St. Louis and San Francisco (Frisco) Line.
The City was incorporated in March 1907 in response to a petition signed by over 200 citizens. A flagpole was promised by the railroad as a means of settling the issue between Hazel and Gosnell. In 1962, after a prolonged delay and prolonged correspondence, the flagpole arrived from the Frisco Railroad and was set on a granite base in Pioneer Park. In 1907 the Wichita Falls and Northwestern (Katy) Railroad came to Frederick. This railroad extended to Altus, Mangum, and later to the Oklahoma Panhandle area. The line presently ends in Altus. The Frisco Line is known as the Grain Belt Line and the Katy Line is known as the Wichita, Tillman, Jackson Line.
Originally part of Kiowa Comanche County, this area was split off in 1907 and named Tillman County after a Senator Tillman from South Carolina. Research has failed to establish any connection between this area and the Senator from South Carolina. The entire area, of course, is a part of the Louisiana Purchase from 1803 from France.
In laying out the City of Frederick, the numbered streets began on the west edge of the City and extended Eastward to 22nd street. Beginning on the south edge of the original townsite and going North, the streets were alphabetical and , in most cases, named after flowers, i.e. Aster, Balsam, Calla, Dahlia, Grand, Floral, Gladstone, Hermosa, Iris, Jasmine, Kiowa Lobelia, and Mimilus. Later, the first names of developers wives were used -- Mary, Minnie, Virginia, Lillian, and Queen. Highview, Grant and Meandering Road came still later.
As the city grew Southward, Amethyst, Brilliant, Carol, Diamond, Price, Providence, Wood, and County Line Road came into being. In the most recent additions names of developers, children, breeds of cattle were used. And some were used "just for fun" - - Easy Street and Wall Street.
The early pioneer families settled in the Northwest part of the city on "the high ground". The first paved streets were laid in 1918. In order to allow movement around the city, 15 miles of concrete sidewalk were laid from First to Fourteenth Street running North and South from Grand Avenue as far as seven (blocks) in either direction. An ordinance passed in 1907 required all men between the ages of 21 and 50 to work four to eight days each year maintaining the streets and alleys or to pay an assessment of $4.00 per year toward their upkeep.
The only source of water being wells 3 miles West of town, there were no trees in either townsite. In 1907, a bond issue was voted in to create a water and sewer system, the water being piped from wells 2 miles West of the city. The first school building was located in Hazel (South of County Line Road). The first school building in Frederick was located at the site of the present Middle School Building (100 South 12th). The completion of the water line in 1910 allowed for the planting of trees, flowers, and grass.
In 1904 a disastrous fire destroyed the business section, prompting the use of bricks in any new construction. By the time World War II came to an end, wooden commercial buildings were a thing of the past. As early as 1910, new, larger homes were being built East of the Frisco tracks and South of Grand Avenue, beginning at 10th Street (Main). With the sewage system completion in 1910, the all familiar "outhouses" began to disappear and gardens, flower gardens, and grape arbors began to appear, along with an occasional cow or chicken.
It's interesting to note that only one church was built South of Grand Avenue, that being a small Catholic Church at 16th and Grand. In 1920, a church was built at the present site of the Nazarene Church. One reason given fro the churches being built North of Grand Avenue, was that the more affluent families and the larger families did not want the noise from the traffic and the more spirited members. The Ku Klux Klan would occasionally pay visits to the churches on Sunday evening to help keep "errant members in line", and that membership was reported to come from the area South of Grand Avenue. The original KKK Charter is located in the Historical Society Building for all to see.
The Frederick Lions Club was organized March 25, 1920, one of the first in the State. The Rotary Club was organized in 1933. The period following World War I saw families beginning to build on North 10th, 11th, and 12th Streets, interspersing with the larger homes already there. It was during this same period that a number of bridge clubs and sororities were formed; Beta, Delphian, Twentieth Century, P.E.O and many others came to being.
Some of the early day hotels were the Kelly at 8th and Grand, Prince at 10th and Grand, American at 121 South 9th, Travellers in the 200 block on South 9th, and the Palace Hotel where the Ramona Theatre is now located. Then in 1929 and 1930 came the Hotel Frederick.
In the early 1920's Frederick boasted the following numbers:
But, there was no hospital, so rented rooms above downtown stores were used until the Delmar Long residence at 617 North 10th was bought. Many rooms above a business were occupied by the owner of the business, or rented out to single people. Most often one bathroom at the end of the hall was all that was available, all was not lost - - - all barber shops had baths for 25 cents. Haircuts were about the same price. Frederick also boasted a total of eight (8) trains daily, going either North or South, and two of those trains had Pullman cars with complete luxury.
A standard feature on many homes were lightening rods connected to metal roof tops, affording a good deal of protection from storms. Many homes had pyramidal roofs to allow a greater amount of run-off water to be directed into the ever present cistern.
The livery stable called the Mule Barn was a center of activity in days before the automobile. Located at 220 South 8th Street, horses and mules would be available for rent as well as a place to keep animals used in business and for general transportation. Some larger homes had stables of their own as well as servants quarters behind their homes. There were no "chain stores", all businesses being home owned and operated. It was most common to charge everything and pay at the first of the month, or when the crops came in. Bartering was also very common - - trading eggs, chickens, milk, butter, and cream for groceries, furniture, clothing, and gas and oil.
In 1915, the Carnegie Library was built on it's present site on land purchased from a lumber company. The entire project, land and construction, had to come in under $1o,000 to qualify for the Carnegie grant.
In 1904, the Frederick Cemetery was moved to it's present site from a site in the Benefield Addition (a part of Sunny Brook Farm). The Frederick Memorial Cemetery is a place of beauty, with the grounds and the records being well maintained.
In the early 1920's, John H. Mounts purchased more than 60 oil field homes from Burkburnett, Devol, and Grandfield and moved them into Frederick. Many were placed West of 10th Street, but some were placed on 14th Street. These houses were called "shotgun houses" because you could stand in the front door and shoot a shotgun through the back door and never hit a thing. One distinguishing feature was the very high windows for privacy.
Reprinted with permission by Mrs. Helen Gish. March 2005
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