Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – A New Salvation Army Building Opened in 1918
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
The weekend of March 9th and 10th, 1918 held a celebration for the new building for the Salvation Army. “Elaborate preparations have been made by the Sapulpa Salvation Army for the opening and dedication of their magnificent new citadel at 21 South Water Street. Dignitaries and officials [from Dallas, Tulsa, Muskogee, and Drumright] of the Salvation Army will be here for the occasion.
The building had been used by the Salvation Army the previous year, however. It held the 1917 Christmas event in that building, however, it was not opened to the public yet. But now with the Salvation Army Day [March 10th] arriving, the organization wanted to open the building to the public on its day of celebration.
“Captain [Ray] Mallott of the Sapulpa Army is making extensive arrangements for the exercises. The new edifice will be opened Saturday night [March 9th] with a program at which time Brigadier George Wood, of Dallas, will speak.” Local speakers, such as L.B. Jackson, George L. Mann, H.A. McCauley, and Rev. W.E. Loucks were announced to dedicate the building on Sunday [March 10th].
The organization also had plans for parades on both that Saturday and Sunday. “The Tulsa Salvation Army band will be here both Saturday and Sunday.” As a last minute add-on, Lottie Bockstett, commandant, and other officials from Tulsa’s Salvation Army were expected to arrive that weekend. Visitors from Oklahoma City also surprised the dedication, such as Adjutant Kate Wilson.
Crowds had watched the bands play and march during the celebration. “After two large parades on Dewey Avenue and Main Street, participated in by Salvation Army leaders and members, host of supporters attended the dedication.”
“Nearly 300 people were present at the Salvation Army new citadel when the new brick structure was dedicated to its future work of uplift and benefit for the needy and poverty stricken of the city.” The building was practically packed to capacity, forcing some audience members to stand during the speeches.
Judge D.A. McDougal attended to witness over the signing of the pledges. A Captain Morford of the Salvation Army announced that a full amount had been pledge, nearly $1,000*. Also, churches took up a collection for Salvation Army Day. In total, $290* was raised from five community churches. “The Baptist Church led all others in this fund, giving $125* of the total amount.”
*Note: the amount of $1,000 is roughly $16,500 in today’s dollars; also, $290 in 1918 is approximately $5,000 with today’s inflation; additionally, 1918’s $125 amount is about $2,000 today.
After the time well spent for the dedication and celebrations, the following month, Sapulpa’s Captain and Mrs. Ray Mallott took a small vacation to Kansas. It was a “needed rest.”
Today, the Sapulpa’s Salvation Army is not located downtown on Water Street anymore. This location is now a parking lot. The organization moved in 1959. The City and the Chamber of Commerce reached an agreement whereby the Chamber would purchase the old Salvation Army site for $6,000* and then sold it to the City for the same price. The City would then pave the lot and install 30 parking meters. Half of the revenue from the parking meters would go toward the purchase of the lot; the other half would go to pay for the meters.
*Note: $6,000 in 1959 is nearly $52,000 today.
At that time, the Salvation Army purchased two lots on the southeast corner of Park and Cleveland for the future site of their new building, at 603 South Park Street. In 1997, the Salvation Army expanded their facility; the Salvation Army Community Center and Boys and Girls Club to Sapulpa was dedicated in November 1997. In 2001, the Salvation Army Community Center and Boys and Girls Club expanded their facility again, adding Sapulpa Sports Complex at 1721 South Hickory Street.
(Sapulpa Herald, March 4, 6, 8, 11, and 16, 1918; April 2, 1918; February 20, 1959; June 12, 1959; November 10, 1997; Tulsa World, July 18, 2001)
The information found on this page has been researched through Sapulpa (and area) newspapers, Sapulpa Historical Society archives, books, and photographs, Sapulpa yearbooks, city directories, and other local authors. Any other sources will be labeled and named as the research continues. Any mistakes will be noted and adjusted as needed.