This building has a fascinating history. It was designed by renowned architect Joseph Foucart and built in 1893 only 4 years after the Oklahoma Land Run. There was quite a squabble about the claim, Winfield Smith finally won after being evicted off the lot, the sheriff having thrown a rope around the wooden building erected there, and dragging it a couple blocks down the street. Instead of naming the building after himself, Smith called it the Victor Building, proclaiming his victory over the claim. The lot was highly coveted as it sits right next to Federal land which is now the Post Office.
I painted a series of eucalyptus on black canvas with different vases back in 2018, and this large painting was my last one. It hangs in the upstairs bathroom and I just love it. I realized today that for some reason I never posted it.
Here is the latest addition to my Back Alley Guthrie Series…
Down by the Depot
8″ x 10″ oil on panel
This painting was started en plein air and finished in the studio. We set up our easels down on the other side of the railroad tracks so that we could capture the roof of the Santa Fe Depot.
The second time we set up out here a very long train stopped right between us and our view. When it finally moved on, it started raining, just little drops, but being that we had been having such a drought we were thankful for any rain we could get. My daughter Tera was with me and used the raindrops in her watercolor painting of clouds.
When we were getting up to pack up our easels we began to smell skunk. Looking up in the sky we saw quite a few vultures flying around and darting down to the tracks beyond. After loading up we drove over to where the vultures were congregating and sure enough the train had run over a skunk. We left just in time… smiling and thankful for our little adventure.
Can’t leave here without a little bit of the history of these buildings. The Stephen C. Starr Building, located at 328 W. Oklahoma Avenue in downtown Guthrie, was built in 1894. Notice the two inlaid stone stars, and the Ames building which was built in 1902.
Two more minis headed to the gallery…so now there are four, two from my last post, in case you missed it. On the left is of my beloved Olive Tree in it’s terracotta pot and the other on the right, Copper Glass with Fall Foliage. Taking these to the gallery along with my Back Alley paintings, hopefully before the week is over. 🙂
I noticed in the photo of the gallery that I posted last time that I only had one little mini painting left, so I felt I needed to get busy and paint some more…
The second one I finished today was of eucalyptus in a turquoise pottery vase that I inherited from my mother-in-law. She was an artist too, and did a painting of this vase that I have loved for many years. The eucalyptus is from Trader Joe’s. I just love all the flowers in their store, right at the entrance when you walk in… heavenly…
I’m beginning to varnish all my back alley paintings and then framing them and hoping to get them in the gallery in a week or two.
A couple of days ago I had a inquiry for one of my sunflower paintings.
This collector lives far away from here, and couldn’t remember exactly the painting she was interested in purchasing. My daughter just happened to be working at the gallery that day and sent me this picture to refresh her memory. Thought I would share it here and give you a peek into the gallery. 🙂
What is the first thing you notice when you look at this painting?
When I first saw this back alley site I noticed the stair step formation of the rooftops…it reminded me of building blocks, as in the wooden blocks you play with as a child… That is actually what inspired me to attempt this piece, plus the beautiful arches.
The front of this building isn’t nearly as exciting as the back. Here is a photo of the front…
As you can see, it is the new home of Byron Berline’s Fiddle Shop, the old one up the street on the next block burned down a few years ago. An article with very interesting photos and a video about the fire and the history of the original building can be found here. Sadly, Guthrie also lost it’s most famous world-renowned fiddle player this last year in 2021. I’m including a link to an article about Byron Berline here.
This building was built in 1907. The stone on the top says “19.W.H.Coyle.07”. W. H. Coyle is an interesting character from what I was able to find out about him. He came to Oklahoma during the land run in 1889 and invested in quite a lot of property in and around Guthrie thinking that this would be the state capitol. There is an excellent 5 part article called The Capitol War about what really happened when “they” stole the state seal from Guthrie and made Oklahoma City the capitol. It mentions W.H. Coyle and his stand against the governor and secretary of state.
“In Guthrie, the residents weren’t taking any chances. At the same time they sought help from state courts, they also turned to the Federal Court for help. On June 13, the Associated Press reported that a Guthrie property owner, W.H. Coyle, filed an application for a temporary injunction in federal court “restraining the state officers from moving state records to Oklahoma City or transacting official business at Oklahoma City.” Those complaints, documents show, rested on the argument that the election, itself, was illegally called and that Haskell’s action had no foundation or authorization in state law. “The action of the governor and secretary of state were revolutionary,” Coyle’s petition said.”
Charles Haskell was the governor at the time. One Guthrie newspaper had this headline about him, “Czar Charles Issues His Imperial Ukase At New State Capital.” Honestly, that is how it seems like this governor was acting, not as an elected official serving the people, but a dictator. I don’t know how people get away with things like this. Sounds like it was as bad back then as it is now.
Here is a depiction of Guthrie from 1889, only 9 months after the land run. Notice the block layout of the town… Again, we have Building Blocks. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this little tidbit of history from Oklahoma. Any of you that are history buffs will really enjoy reading the 5 part article I mentioned above. The quotes are from there.
Not sure where I’m going from here, but I need to do one more painting for the series… That way I’ll have twelve and perhaps a calendar for 2023?
For those who are interested… a peek into my painting process. 🙂
This small one story building is nestled between two larger ones, hence the title… 🙂
This structure is to the left of my previous painting, and as I mentioned before there is a better view of the Guthrie Post office in the background. The front of this building has a large sign saying Hurley Plumbing. According to waymarking.com , it was built in 1928. I’m going to borrow a photo from them to show the front…
I’m guessing they remodeled the front probably in the 60’s to modernize. The old buildings are so gorgeous I don’t know why they did this, but at least the back alleys still show some of the antiquity.
Here’s a photo of the back that I used when painting in the studio…
Yesterday, I revisited the site to see how the sun might be shining out here in the morning hours. For the first time ever the corrugated metal gate was closed. And according to the signs they definitely don’t want anyone getting too close.
I have one more back alley building to work on and a smaller project of an old handle that I will be sharing soon.