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Reconnaissance level survey of modern houses in Payne County, 1946-1976

Bays, Brad A.
This survey was conducted between October 2016 and June 2017. It provides a historical context and list of references to assist historic preservation planning and future research. The study area was Payne County, Oklahoma. The period of study was 1946-1976, an era defined by the funding agency of the “Mid-century Modern” styles. The objective of this survey was an architectural and historical sampling and analysis of houses constructed in Payne County, Oklahoma between 1946 and 1976.
The survey began by mapping locations of single dwellings built during the period. Residential subdivisions containing significant clusters of properties were then surveyed by automobile or bicycle. Field survey involved visual inspection of houses from public streets to identify houses exhibiting a both a high degree of stylistic elements and a high degree of historical-architectural integrity. Initial field survey yielded a sample of approximately 200 houses, and this was later reduced to about 130 representative resources recorded at a minimal level of documentation for inclusion in the Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory. The sample of 130 resources, in conjunction with the PI’s field observations and archival research, make up the empirical basis of this report. Findings clearly indicate that, with regard to Payne County’s Mid-century Modern houses, future preservation planning efforts should focus on only a few select residential areas of Stillwater and Cushing. The survey identified very few resources that were individually eligible for National Register listing. The survey identified only two districts in Stillwater and one in Cushing that warranted intensive-level study to determine their eligibility for National Register listing. Nevertheless, many areas assessed to be ineligible as districts contained fine resources with high degrees of integrity; they merely contained too many built after 1976. Nevertheless, this survey should remain useful for preservation planners over the next two decades as such districts surpass the 50-year qualification for National Register listing.