The Logan County Historical Society is hosting an event at the Dominion House on Thursday September 19 from 7-10 p.m. to honor those who have shaped the historical identity of Guthrie. Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, is the master of ceremonies for the evening with Susan Guthrie Dunham, Ralph McCalmont, Don Coffin, and Jay Hannah among the honorees. The Logan County Historical Society will also present two Foucart Awards which will go to the Carnegie Library and the Villas of Benedictine Point for their preservation and restoration of Logan County buildings. There will be music, drinks and some other surprises!
While the Logan County Historical Society was founded in 1900 after the Land Run, the four honorees literally paved the way for both Guthrie and LCHS during the 1980s.
McCalmont, Coffin, and Hannah, along with many other community leaders of the day, were the visionaries and doers who brought action to the idea of honoring the town of Guthrie’s historic pedigree.
A grant writer, Guthrie Dunham was hired to help building owners and developers identify key historic properties and secure funding for the extensive renovations that were needed to restore the town to its original glory.
For instance, “One of the things Susan did was help implement getting the brick sidewalks all over Guthrie,” Nell Thalasinos, director of the Logan County Historical Society said. “They got a lot of pushback from the city. A lot of people didn’t want to do this; they didn’t want a town dedicated to tourism. But, we had a history that was rather extraordinary. So, in order to pursue that, you want the look of the town to go with your history. Susan was very influential in doing that with the aid of the three gentlemen who helped building owners obtain tax credits to restore their buildings.”
One of the first buildings was the Victor. Restoration began in 1981 as part of the Historic District Preservation Movement and is considered one of Joseph Foucart’s best designs. The building was so heavily coated in paint, they had to sandblast it to get to the brick.
“What we want to do, as the Logan County Historical Society, is to honor them because of what they did in the 80s and what’s happened since.
Their efforts led to Guthrie becoming a National Historic Landmark in 1999, which is no simple task,” Thalasinos said.
Thalasinos also spoke about the importance of understanding the rich history that all of Logan County has to offer. During her time as director, Thalasinos has created newsletters for Marshall and Mulhull with Crescent’s coming out next.
“Logan County Historical Society has more than one focus,” Thalasinos said. “Guthrie is the primary focus because we’re the biggest town but we’ve got plenty to work with because every little town in [Logan County] has a story. Marshall is a rather famous ghost town, and the home of Angie Debo. Crescent was at one time the fruit capital of the Midwest and there’s a fantastic museum over there. Zach Mulhall had a wonderful story in his namesake town,” Thalasinos said. “And, Langston, which was founded in 1897 has wonderful stories to tell. Each of these towns are filled with interesting Logan County history!
For those interested in attending the event, tickets are $75.00 and guests should RSVP by Sept. 12 as Dominion House has prepared a delectable menu complete with a cash bar.
There are three options for purchasing tickets: mail checks/cash to Logan County Historical Society at P.O. Box 1512, Guthrie, OK 73044; if you wish to use a credit card, please call 405-282-6000 Ext. 6; or with a confirmed reservation—you may pay at the door.
To RSVP, call 405-260-0170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.