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THE BEAUX ARTS BALL: THE FIRST 75 YEARS
The Beaux Arts Society was born from the need to sustain the Oklahoma Art Center, known today as the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Although prominent families and art enthusiasts made possible the purchase of art and provided funds to attract traveling artists, there was no means to maintain the facility itself.
That all changed in 1945 when Eleanor Kirkpatrick suggested an annual costume ball to raise much-needed funds and create broad publicity for the Oklahoma Art Center. Aware of the brilliantly staged Beaux Arts Balls that began in France in the 17th Century and were presided over by Kings and Queens, Kirkpatrick said, “Beaux Arts Balls are about tradition and families and supporting the quality of life in our community.”
Held at Oklahoma City’s Municipal Auditorium, Kirkpatrick served as chairman of the first Beaux Arts Ball in 1946. Tickets were $3.75 each and for .50 cents a spectator could watch the ball from the balcony. An international theme was adopted and Mrs. John A Brown donated the decorations. Oklahoma colleges and universities were invited to send one female art student to serve as an attendant and compete for the title of Queen. The court was made up of senior girls from Oklahoma City high schools and boyfriends or classmates served as escorts. The young women wore a variety of evening gowns and their escorts wore suits or military uniforms. Mayor Robert A. Hefner was named King and Rosalee Deardorff of Tulsa, an art student at Oklahoma A & M College, was named Queen. The first ball cleared $2,480 to fund the construction of a new gallery at the Oklahoma Art Center.
In 1947 the ball was moved to the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club where the majority of balls have been hosted since. Themes have ranged from “Louisiana Purchase” and “Arabian Nights” to “One Enchanted Evening” and “Command Performance”. Committee members, Kings, Queens, and courts throughout the years have included Oklahoma’s community leaders and those with a commitment to philanthropy. And, every ball has supported the arts.
Seventy-five years later, the Beaux Arts Society and the Beaux Arts Ball continue to honor “tradition,” “family,” and “supporting the quality of life in our community.” With world-renowned artists and a vast array of mediums, including Dale Chihuly’s 55-foot Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower glass sculpture, the Beaux Arts Collection at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is one of the most admired in the country.
THE CAMERON FAMILY AND AMERICAN FIDELITY ASSURANCE COMPANY: THE FIRST 60 YEARS
The compelling story of the Cameron Family and the Cameron Group of companies began in a small Oklahoma town. After decades of selling insurance for other companies, the father-son duo of C. W. and C. B. Cameron took a risk and formed their own company. American Fidelity Assurance Company (AFA), the flagship of the Cameron companies, began operating in Oklahoma in 1960. Rated A+ (Superior) by A. M. Best since 1982, AFA achieved success as one of the nation’s largest private, family-owned life and health insurance companies. American Fidelity Assurance Company is a supplemental benefits provider serving more than 1 million policyholders across 49 states with a focus on offering a different opinion for customers in the education, public sector, automotive and healthcare industries.
THEY CALLED HIM COACH
Author Susan Conway captures the spirit, generosity, and faithfulness of her father, Faye O'Dell in this biography. As a U. S. Marine, O’Dell bravely served his country and comrades during World War II and Korea before returning home and starting his coaching and teaching careers. Lessons, relationships, and experiences had prepared him to make a lifelong impact on the young lives he would mentor through these roles.
The experiences with these young men and women, combined with those of his earlier life, provided inspiration to the many audiences O’Dell spoke to spanning more than 40 years, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The life of Ollie Faye O’Dell continues to influence and serve as an example of the vast impact one person can have.
THE OKLAHOMA STATE FAIR - A HISTORY
For more than 100 years the Oklahoma State Fair has been providing something for every visitor that passes through its gates. While some head to the Midway for the ride of a lifetime or to Food Row for an Indian Taco, others explore the newest models the automobile industry has to offer or the latest in farm equipment and machinery. Exhibition buildings offer everything from hot tubs and storage sheds to clothing and Made In Oklahoma products. The arena hosts bull and bronc riding, along with Disney On Ice. And its equine facilities have earned it the title of “Horse Show Capital of the World.”
The OKC Fairgrounds is much more than a mecca for entertainment, it is an economic powerhouse, attracting over two million visitors annually and providing an influx of more than $325 million. In addition to putting Oklahomans to work, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and other local attractions benefit greatly by this 21st Century Tourism Destination. The Oklahoma State Fair and the OKC Fairgrounds continue to invest in those that call Oklahoma home. During the COVID-19 global pandemic tens of thousands of Oklahomans were tested and received vaccinations at the Bennett Event Center. Annually, high school students
earn scholarships to continue their education and teachers are provided with resources to supplement their efforts in the classroom.
With a commitment to growth and expansion, the physical landscape of the OKC Fairgrounds will continue to evolve and with that comes countless new opportunities for Oklahomans of all ages. We look forward to seeing you “at the Fair!”
MORE THAN A STORE: A HISTORY OF GOODWILL INDUSTRIES IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts, by Methodist minister and social innovator Edgar J. Helms. In 1935, Oklahoma City publisher E. K. Gaylord heard about the success of Goodwill branches to enhance people’s dignity and quality of life by strengthening their communities, eliminating their barriers to opportunity, and helping them reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. Gaylord sent a reporter, Edith Johnson, to visit Goodwill programs in other states. Following her return, the Central Oklahoma branch of Goodwill Industries was founded.
Eighty-five years later, Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma employed 700 people, provided 12,030 services, and managed 25 retail stores and 17 donation centers. The thousands of men and women who have been provided training and job placement are testament to the fact that Goodwill Industries is “more than a store.”
EXPLOSION OF PROSPERITY
Old Hochatown. Once a sleepy Choctaw Indian village, it became an isolate haven for white settlers in the 20th century. Nearby on the Mountain Fork River, Beavers Bend State Park was built by a government make-work program during the Great Depression and came online as the crown jewel of Oklahoma's state parks in 1936.
Old Hochatown was moved from its location in the Mountain Fork River Valley in the 1960s to make way for Broken Bow Lake. Tourism grew from a small business to an enormous enterprise as people from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas discovered its splendor.
This book captures the bold and exciting history of Beavers Bend State Park and the surrounding area, chronicles the lives of characters who pioneered life in Old Hochatown, and explains and celebrates the phenomenal growth of tourism and accommodations around new Hochatown and Broken Bow Lake.