Atkinson, W.P. | 1963
- Birth and Death Year | 1906-1999
- Induction Year | 1963
- Profession | Publisher/Civic Leader
- Oklahoma Connection | Atkinson came to Oklahoma in 1929, to found the Oklahoma City Star newspaper.
- Hometown | Midwest City
When W. P. “Bill” Atkinson started the development of Midwest City, Oklahoma, in 1942, the builder/developer decided that it should be a planned city. With his drawing boards reserving space for businesses, homes, schools and churches, Midwest City was designed as a place to live and rear families safely. The builder’s foresight that went into the planning of Midwest City culminated in the city receiving a national award in 1952 as the Model City of America, in competition with 100 other cities.
“The reverberations of this man, this leader, have reached far beyond this city, and this state, as his influence is nationwide.” - Governor David Hall, 1972
The first of a Texas carpenter’s four children, W. P. “Bill” Atkinson’s life underwent a great change at the age of 9 when his mother died and he went to live with relatives on a farm. In his teen years he moved to town and lived with another uncle, where he worked in the local newspaper shop for fifty cents a day while attending high school. Upon graduation in 1924 he attended Lon Morris Junior College and graduated from Texas Christian University in 1928. At the age of 21, he moved to Oklahoma City with his new wife to start Oklahoma City Star. He founded the Tulsa Herald religious publication and spent time building several chain papers throughout Texas, Tennessee, and Kansas. He returned to Oklahoma City in 1935 and began teaching journalism at Oklahoma City University. He sold homes on weekends and in 1941, created Midwest City, Oklahoma. He twice sought the governorship but was defeated in both attempts. He then founded the Oklahoma Journal, a morning paper serving Oklahoma City. In 1972 Oscar Rose Junior College (now Rose State College) spent $1 million to build a new student activity center in his honor and Mr. Atkinson was named an Oklahoma City Pathmaker in 1990.