When Joe and Billie Stanbro purchased the Stroud building at 108/110 W. Oklahoma from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in November 1998, they knew they would have a long road ahead of them remodeling the second floor into the antique mall they had always wanted to own. Originally known as the Billingsly building, after Charles Edward Billingsly who had it constructed around 1900 after the removal of two wooden structures on the site, the building remained in the family following his death, passing to son George and daughter Marion in 1941.
Marion married George Stroud in 1930, and George adopted ZoeAnn, Marion's daughter from a previous marriage to George Davenport.
The downstairs area of the building had contained the C.R. Anthony's store from 1946 until 1998 when purchased by Stage, the current occupant.
But the upstairs was something else again. It contains 7000 square feet and is divided into 23 rooms and 4 bathrooms. Unused for many years, the front part of the building that once housed the offices of doctors, CPAs, realtors, insurance companies and the Logan County Health Department was in total disrepair. Parts of the ceiling had fallen in and there was trash everywhere. Now, two years later, after much new lumber, drywall, paint and nearly three miles of new electrical wire, the area now houses the Above The Rest Antique Mall, operated by the Stanbros.
The back part of the second floor is yet another story. It contains the once proud residence of George and Marion Stroud, after which the building was named in 1946, and daughter ZoeAnn. Although the walls are still blackened with soot from a 1945 fire that nearly destroyed the building, evidence of the family still remains today: wooden millinery drawers near the bathroom of ZoeAnn which slide as well today as they did when new, built in vegetable bins in the kitchen and a multiple handle bath tub and shower in the art deco paneled master bath. The "sunken" living room with fireplace flanked by book cases. And unbelievable treasures left behind by the Stroud family, none of whom are still living.
Found in a footlocker were the complete military records of George, including his World War I service from Arkansas through his time with the 45th Division in World War II as a civil affairs officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Also in the footlocker were his dog tags, and the red cross telegram sent to him in Germany telling him of the building fire in 1945.
There are two oil paintings of Marion and ZoeAnn, painted in Germany, probably from photographs carried by George. There is ZoeAnn's collection of opera records. There are boxes of records from George's insurance business and the complete record of the reconstruction of the building following the 1945 fire, and the funeral record books of George and Marion.
But probably the most cherished item bears the name of Mrs. Charles Edward Billingsly. Dated October 10, 1901, and issued by the A&A Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Southern Jurisdiction, Orient of Oklahoma (Territory), Valley of Guthrie, it is a non-expiring pass to the Masonic Music Parlor at the Tyler Masonic Temple for "Their Little Prairie Rose", which was good "at all times." This was a very unique honor for a woman of her dayWhat are the plans for this Stroud memorabilia? Pointing to a memorial to George Stroud that he has started in the second floor hall, "It belongs to the building, and here is where I intend it to stay," Joe Stanbro said.And the residence area? "Our current plans are to complete the remodeling back to the way the Strouds had it in the 1940s, and move in," Stanbro said.
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Updated: Wednesday, 06-Aug-2008 22:04:48 CDT
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