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 Post subject: 1920's hotel in Burbank, OK.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 5th, 2011 pm30 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20th, 2011 pm31 10:33 pm
Posts: 251
Location: Ralston, Oklahoma
About twenty miles east of Ponca City in east-central Osage County lies the remnants of the town of Burbank, Oklahoma.

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Once state highway 60 passed through the town, but it was bypassed when the highway was rebuilt. Little remains of the town except for a few homes and the remnants of it's business district. Someone passing by would never guess at the importance of the area in the distant past.

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Near Burbank on May 8, 1920, the Marland Oil Company completed the Burbank discovery well on
the Bertha Hickman farm. The initial discovery produced 150 barrels of oil per day from the
Burbank field and later that year the Roxana Petroleum Company brought in another well
producing 3,450 barrels per day in the same general area. At first the wells were thought to be
from separate fields, but as drilling proceeded they were all found to be connected. The field
eventually grew to thirty-three square miles The field had its highest production from 1920
through 1924 with twenty million to thirty-one million barrels annually and a peak production day
of 121,700 barrels on July 21, 1923.

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The Burbank field gave start to many of the oil companies we know today, including Conoco
(originally Marland Oil, Phillips Pertorleum, Skelly Oil, as well as Roxana, Carter Oil Company
(later incorporated into Standard Oil), Gypsy (later Gulf Oil) Oil Company. Oil leases in this area
were obtained through the federally controlled Osage Indian Reservation auctions, which
auctioned off 160-acre tracts and divided the proceeds equally among tribe members. Between
1912 and 1928 twenty-eight of these auctions sold a total of 700,000 acres,making the Osage
the most wealthy group of people per capita on the planet.

Burbank, originally settled as an agricultural community in 1903, became an incorporated town
with an establishment of a post office in 1907. Some early photos of the town circa 1905.

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When oil was struck, the town boomed, though not with the runaway boom experienced in many
places. Several new communities where spawned, such as Whizbang and Carter Nine, which
housed many of the oil field workers and their vices. The town had it's share of excitement. From
some of the documentation I found, the bank was robbed 15 times, 3 times in one day. The old
bank is one of the few business buildings still remaining and is a private residence.

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At it's peak, Burbank had around 2,000 people in and around the area. Several business sprang
up to meet the demands of the oil field, schools and churches where built, and everything was
great until the oil boom ended in the 1930's. Like many towns in the area, the bust and Great
Depression caused a steady decline into obscurity.

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This old hotel is a remnant of that era, and is in remarkably good condition considering the fate of
the other building in the business district. Exact information on the hotel has been impossible to
come by, but it was built in the early 1920's, just after the oil boom. It remained as a hotel until
the bust and was used as a boarding house/apartments until the 1950's. At that point, it
appears to have been used as a private residence, at least up until 1993. The building is wooden
construction with an adobe facade on three sides and a period correct "shingle" in the rear. A
large celler or "storm cave" as it was called then, was in the rear of the building, presumably for
hotel residents to take shelter in the event of a tornado.

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The interior of the building was very period correct, with much of the original wiring and
woodwork still in place. The numbers where even still painted on the doors. Some pretty serious
structural defects are beginning to show, and the roof is in need of repair, neither of which have
any hope of being addressed. If it was anywhere else, it could have been a quaint bed and
breakfast.

This was the lobby, with the stairs to the second floor. There where community toilet and bath
facilities on both floors with kitchen facilities at the far end of the hotel. The upper balcony
could be accessed from the end of the upstairs hallway and provided a view of what had been
the downtown district. The balcony has suffered some serious rot and was unsafe, i.e. fall to
your death.

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The downstairs kitchen and dining area.

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It's ironic that this 1993 calendar is from a now abandoned place I have on my list, the Big Hill Trading Company, dating from about the same time frame as this hotel.

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The first floor facilities.

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Sears Catalouge from 1973 and a Gideon bible and something I haven't a clue about.

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Up to the second floor.

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It appears to have been wired for electricity when built, but heat was originally from fireplaces
with gas added later. The town was never piped for natural gas, so it was probably
butane/propane. The old heating stoves in the rooms are a mixed match of various old fire
traps. It's somewhat amazing the building never burned to the ground.

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The upstairs kitchen. I'd bet 20 bucks the old Kelvinator still works.

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The upstairs facilities and some type of shower?

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Back down the stairs.

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The closets where add ons and not original to the buildings. Here you can see what is probably
the original wall paper.hidden inside.

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I loved the transoms throughout the building. A little stiff, but everyone I tried still worked.

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In case you're wondering, there was no room 13.

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If the walls could talk, there would be some interesting stories. I noticed in the old concrete as I
was leaving a foot print from a man and a dog, both long dead. I really liked this old building, it
had the feeling that everyone had just stepped out, but would be back in a bit.

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_________________
"Ruins, the fate of all cities."


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