|Epworth University. Although not quite within the boundaries of the vintage clickable map, Epworth College/University is close enough to be included, especially since the southeastern part of the campus property is slightly, even if barely, within the map's boundary. Built in 1903, the development serves as an excellent example of "enlightened self interest." The Methodist Episcopal Church (today, the "United Methodist Church") had been divided by Civil War like so many other protestant denominations and, in this time, existed in two forms: the Methodist Episcopal Church headquartered in Shawnee, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, headquarterd in Chickasha.|
Anton Classen parlayed an arrangement which benefitted the churches coming together to form a common university, the city because it "got" the university, and Mr. Classen since it would be constructed along the trolley line which would go north on Classen Boulevard. Oklahoma City's competition included Enid, Fort Worth, and Winfield, Kansas. Born Grown by Roy P. Stewart (Fidelity Bank 1974) says that, "Adoption of the proposal by both [Methodist] conference groups was the first successful effort toward unity since seventeen years before the Civil War." The donation of land and gift of $100,000 capital won the day. So, when you hear about "University Addition," that's where the name comes from, as does "University Station" at NW 17th & (regular) Classen. The images below show the actual building and University Station, the trolley stop on what would become Classen Boulevard with the college in the background.
Credit Vanished Splendor II (Abalache Book Shop Publishing 1963)
But, what starts well does not always end well. Epworth was not particularly successful and in 1911 the Methodists decided to abandon the property and move to Guthrie. The following Daily Oklahoman articles describe the exodous. On most, click on any article for a more readable view.
|Daily Oklahoman, February 22, 1911 (larger not available)
|February 23, 1911
||March 23, 1911
||May 20, 1911
||June 11, 1911
|September 3, 1911 (no larger image)
||And, so, in the span of months from Spring to Fall 1911, Epworth was gone from the city.
But, as it developed, the Methodists weren't all that pleased with being in Guthrie, either, as shown below. While "Epworth" would not return to Oklahoma City, the Guthrie venue was in fact abandoned, also.
A good bit of litigation was involved with the old property and it was eventually restored to the residential and commercial pool of Oklahoma City property.
Some pieces of the developments between 1911 and 1919 are shown below.
|January 5, 1916
||September 14, 1916
|March 8, 1918
||December 27, 1918
|Anton Classen, the primary civic leader in getting the Methodists to locate Epworth here, gave his own lengthy and interesting synopsis, in an August 28, 1919, Daily Oklahoman article:
|Earlier in the same year, 1919, developments took a turn and, the Guthrie venue having gone sour for the Methodists, the Methodists decided to and did return to Oklahoma City, even if it would in be a different location and organization than Epworth was.|
|March 3, 1919
||March 20, 1919
|When the Methodists did return in 1919, Oklahoma City College, on NW 23rd, was born. The articles below were a few years later.
December 3, 1922
August 3, 1924
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