Welcome to a driving tour of Ada’s historic homes. Through the design of the houses and bits and pieces of information about their early owners we will give you a
glimpse of Ada’s past. All of the homes on this tour are private residences and we ask you to respect that privacy by viewing the homes from the street. Each home on the tour was marked with a sign that lists the date the house was built and its owner at that time. Ada’s roots began with the settlement of Chickasaws to this area following their removal from their homeland in Mississippi in the mid-1800’s. However, it is with the settlement of the Daggs and Reed families in the 1890’s that Ada began to take shape as a town.
Driving On Main Street 1911
The Driving Tour
- We begin our tour with the home of one of Ada’s pioneer doctors,
H.A. Hodges, 801
N. Hickory. This home, named “The Oaks,” was built in 1903 and is one of the few homes where members of the family continues to reside.
- North of the Hodge’s home is Ada’s first cemetery.
Old Hickory, donated by Dr. Hodges.
- At the northeast corner of Fourth and Oak Streets, a monument is a reminder of Ada’s founding father, Jeff Reed. He built a small store and log cabin home at this location and by 1893, had secured a post office for the little town named for his daughter, Ada.
- Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the house at 601 E. 9th was owned by Dr. M.W. Ligon. Built in 1903, this house is a prime example of the simple, yet classic style of homes popular in the early 1900’s.
- The W.E. Harvey house, 1100 E. 9th, is an excellent example of an “airplane bungalow,” a style of architecture popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s. When this house was built, air conditioning was only what Mother Nature provided. In the summer months, the family would open the upstairs windows and the cross ventilation created a comfortable sleeping environment.
- P.A. Norris was a leading developer of Ada. He owned much of the land surrounding his home at 1312 E. 9th, which was dotted with cotton farms and dairies, managed by tenant farmers. At the time the Norris home was built in 1913, this was a working farm. Mr. Norris’ friends affectionately called him a “goose” for building his elegant home so far from town. As a result he named the estate “Goose Hill.” As the driving force behind First National Bank and as its president, Mr. Norris entertained quite lavishly. A ballroom, located on the third floor, made the Norris’ home a popular spot for parties. Mr. Norris was also instrumental in establishing Valley View Hospital in Ada, Wintersmith Park, and Oak Hills Golf and Country Club. As you drive north on Northcrest, you will see several homes built in the late 1930’s and 1940’s by doctors who practiced medicine at Valley View Hospital, then located on Arlington approximately one block east of Highland. These homes were referred to as “pill hill” because of the number of doctors living in the area.
- Turn south on Crownpoint from Arlington and circle Oak Hills Golf and Country Club. Dr. J.A. Rutledge began building his home at 405 N. Crownpoint in 1939. The limestone exterior of the house was mined at a quarry near Fittstown, 12 miles south of Ada. Dr. Rutledge died before the completion of his home and the new owners finished the construction with a few changes in the original design including many secret closets and hiding places. Oklahoma was a “dry state” when this home was being built and the only way to obtain alcoholic beverages was through a bootlegger. Rumor has it that when authorities would raid this home after a truck was suspected to have unloaded its bounty, no liquor was ever found. It has mysteriously disappeared into the secret closets and hiding places.
- Continue south on Country Club to 18th Street, where you will turn right and see the Little Red School House (1905) on the left as you pass Wintersmith Park. The school is an example of the one- room school houses in Pontotoc County. This building was Jones Chapel School located near Latta, and was used as a feed storage building when it was rescued by Pontotoc County Retired Teachers and moved to the park in 1990. Now restored, it is open for tours by appointment.
- Mattie Logsdon was an avid genealogist and found member of the Pontotoc County Historical and Genealogical Society. After her death, her family donated much of her collection to the genealogy library, 221 W. 16th. In 1934, she and her husband, Guy built their home at 1302 E. Central Boulevard.
- Wintersmith Park was named for Frances Wintersmith, an early civic leader and friend of Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Norris. Jim and Frances built their home at 500 S. Highland in 1929.
- Dr. Alfred R. Sugg built the Sugg Clinic (1947) which was referred to as “Little Mayo.” This unique, complete health facility was revolutionary in medical care for the country. Dr. Sugg and his wife, Laura L., built their home at 530 S. Highland in 1934.
- Dan Hays, a Chickasaw, donated much of the land for East Central Normal School (now East Central University) and Hayes Grade Center. The first building on the college campus was the “Old Science Hall,” located at the east end of Main Street. Mr. Hays and his wife, Etta, began building their home at 1017 E. 16th in 1902 and finished the project in 1907.
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- The Fleet brothers, Frank and Jim, built their houses on adjoining property. Jim and Alice Fleet were the first to build their home at 931
E. 17th in 1927. Alice was the daughter of Alice Davis Brown, the only female chief of the Seminoles. Frank and Hazel Fleet followed with construction of their 11-room home at 901 E. 17th in 1929 at a cost of
$44,000. The Fleets were merchants from Sasakwa who became wealthy when oil was discovered on their property in Seminole County.
- Albert Ross was a well-known architect. Many of the buildings he designed can be found throughout the town, including the old Linschied Library, Fentem Hall, Knight Hall and Student Union on the East Central University campus; Ada Public Library, now the Ada Arts and Heritage Center; First Methodist Church; First Christian Church; and East Main Church of Christ. Each of these buildings bear his mark of grand design, but his own home at 930 E. 17th shows the influences of Frank Lloyd Wright.
- The Fleet Cabin, located on 18th Street under the hill south of the Fleet Homes, was the summer home of the Fleet brothers. This cabin was located outside the city limits, and was used by the brothers for entertaining during the Fittstown oil boom. The cabin was also used for hunting events and large barbecues for the Fleet’s friends.
- During the construction of the house at 815 E. 18th, built by Richard A. and Estelle C. Herndon, rock was hauled by wagon from Lucas Hill, a few blocks west of the construction site, at a cost of 10 cents per load. The house was unique in that it featured the first double wide refrigerator-freezer in Ada.
- William C. and Elizabeth Minerva Rollow built their home at 130 E. 16th in 1904. Mr. Rollow owned a hardware and general merchandise store at the end of World War I, the family sold tractors,radios, electric washing machines and gas ranges. The house remained unoccupied from the late 1950’s until 1990, during which time it was allowed to deteriorate and was the scene of many “ghost” stories. It has since been restored and the “ghost” stories have been forgotten. A block and half south of the Rollow house at 730 S. Rennie is the home of the original interior is still intact. The house was a Craftsman Bungalow Style house with open verandas. The interior features art deco and mission style art fixtures and geometric design wood floors. Evidence of the original gas lights used in the house is also visible.
- Frank W. Meaders home is at 521 S. Broadway. It was built in 1929. The basement was dug with two teams of horse drawn slips. It was designed to be tornado proof. It has a laundry chute from the upper floors. F.W. said the house must have four parlors so each of his daughters could have a place to entertain their beaus.
- Robert s. Tobin lived at 118 W. 17th Street. The Tobin family had a retail merchant grocery store in Ada. Mrs. Tobin was a member of the Kill Kare Club and entertained many times in her home in 1909.
- George & Minnie Frierson & later John McKeel’s home at 131 W. 17th Street was built
in 1911. The ceilings were 10 feet high with oak woodwork. The house featured three coal burning fireplaces and a full basement. A small room of cement was built in one side of the basement for a tornado shelter.
- Guy P. Carney, and his wife, Wessie L., built their home at 701 S. Townsend in 1908. The Granger family purchased the home a few years after it was built, remodeled the home and descendants continue to live here.
- Simpson’s Surprise Store was one of Ada’s most popular department stores. Its owners, Richard W. and Ethel C. Simpson built their home at 823 S. Townsend in 1923. The Simpson home is one of three homes in Ada that features a ballroom on the third floor.
- Dr. William D. and Ora L. Faust built their home at 130 W. 19th in 1903. A pioneer doctor in Ada, Dr. Faust owned one of the first hospitals on Main Street.
- Louis and Minnie Gluckman were one of 20 to 30 Jewish families who had businesses in early Ada. They owned and operated Gluckman’s Department Store at 122-24 W. Main. Their home was at 101 W. 22nd and was built prior to 1938 by themselves. The store opened in 1929 and stayed in business for over 40 years.
- Harry Morris had oil in the Fittsfield and other areas. When his home was built, the city told him to use the address 101 Hunter Drive. He preferred using 1000 S. Broadway. The pillar on the corner property is on the other side of Hunter Drive. Harry entertained numerous politicians and gave many parties in his home. He even entertained the governor, which was perhaps our own Robert S. Kerr.
- Thomas B. Blake Jr. and his wife, Agnes C.,
were from an old Southern family in Mississippi. T.B. Blake Jr. found the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Ada in 1912, the oldest business in Ada that has remained in continuous operation by the same family. The Blakes built their home at 905 S. Broadway in 1920 and promptly began hosting Christmas open house, where eggnog (made the night before by Mr. Blake) was served with beaten biscuits and Virginia ham. Mrs.
Blake used lavender in her closets and throughout the house. Visitors can still on occasion catch the scent of lavender as they walk through the home.
- C.C. Morris – Pastor of the First Baptist Church, lived at 912 S. Broadway. In 1925, he was given an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree. He and his wife Stella adopted twin girls, then a son. Dr. Morris was active in spiritual affairs. He helped bring the Ada Public Library and the Valley View Hospital into existence. He established the radio stations KADA and KTEN with his son-in-law.
- Abe H. and Esther Pollock, 111 Hunter Drive, were early clothing merchants in downtown Ada. Only two families have owned the house since it was built in 1936 by the Pollocks. A hotplate was located in the basement, where all the strong-odor foods were prepared to keep the odors from penetrating to the main dining area.
- Edgar C. and Katie B. Hunter, built their home in 1904 at 220 Hunter Drive. Mr. Hunter was a rancher and at the time he built his home, the area was pasture land. It would be several years before others would begin building homes in what was then referred to as Hunter’s pasture.
- In 1929, Murrell O. and Olive K. Matthews built the first air-conditioned house in Ada at 110 E. Kings Road. Mr. Matthews was the top executive with Oklahoma Portland Cement, which later became Ideal Cement, and is now Holcim Cement.
- Robert S. and Grayce B. Kerr, built this home at 114 E. Kings Road, in 1930, but soon afterwards Robert S. Kerr was elected Governor of Oklahoma and later U.S. Senator. His brother, Aubrey Kerr lived in the house and worked for Mr. Kerr.
- The Ben H. Todd home is at 1818 S. Broadway. Ben was known as Ada’s leading home builder. He constructed 22 of Ada’s finest homes on what was known at that time as “Kings Road”, now 25th Street. He helped with building many schools, ECU, banks, and churches.
- The home of F.W. & Ave Hoipkemeier was built at 100 W. Kings Road in the 1930’s. The house has chandeliers imported from Czechoslovakia. It has 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths.
- The Fittstown oil boom made many area residents wealthy. William A. “Gus” Delaney, one of the principal developers of the Fittsfield, was no exception. Gus Delaney and his wife, Marie C., built their mansion at 201 Kings Road in 1934. The home features five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The interior remains much the same as when the Delaneys lived here. All of the bathrooms still have the original tiles and the woodwork throughout the house is a tribute to the craftsmen of another era. The exterior of the home is limestone and the thick slate roof is original to the house. Mrs. Delaney was probably the only woman in Ada to have chauffeur who wore a uniform. Her gray automobile featured a glass enclosed riding compartment.
- Neighbors of the Delaneys were B.C. and Edna King at 211 Kings Road. B.C. King was also an oil developer and made a fortune in Fittsfield. This home, built in 1934, is said to be the largest home in Ada.
- Foster McSwain owned and operated the McSwain Theater, a well-known theater on Main Street where live performances were conducted and later motion pictures were shown. Foster and Thelma McSwain’s home at 331 Kings Road was built in 1926.
- J.L. and Dalla Barringer, ranchers, built their home at 1319 S. Johnston in 1907 so their children could walk to East Central Normal School approximately three miles away. Children today would consider this excessive. This was the Barringer’s ranch headquarters with corrals and barn built behind the house. The Barringer House 1907
- Earl and Nell Turley lived at 912 W. Kings Road. Their home was built in 1929. It was the third house to be built in the then Busby Addition. The house is of Spanish design with an American Southwest modern touch, with Spanish red clay tile Mansard roof. East of Ada in the Homer community. William H. Brumley lived east of Ada off the Homer/Francis Road. The home was built in 1912. Bill Brumley was a County Commissioner in early days. He was on the Board of Directors of the Merchants & Planters State Bank. The house is Cape Cod style. Dr. Charles Spencer, former President of ECU, owned the house during the 1960’s. Although this is the final house in the driving tour schedule, there are many other homes and churches in the Ada area that are also interesting in design. Take a few minutes to explore the area and discover for yourself some of the more interesting facets of our town.
Research for this project was done by members of the History Club: Brenda Tollett, Billie Floyd, Alberta Blackburn, Suzanne McFarlane, and Nedra Sears.
Thanks is extended to the owners of the homes on the tour for permission to feature their homes, to members of the community who supplied information and reference photos and to the Ada Evening News for use of newspaper files as a source of information. Publishing, signage, and other features of this project have been supported by the Centennial Commission.
Sketches by Nedra Sears. Original Photographs taken by Mapes. The map for this tour was designed by Nelson Dobbs under the supervision of Dr. Mark Micozzi of the Department of Cartography/Geography at East Central University in May 2006. This brochure was designed by Ann Miller of the Ada Jobs Foundation in June 2006.