NOVEMBER 17, 2004

HOME

Rose State College receives historical Midwest City home, property

During an official closing ceremony recently, the home of W.P. and Rubye Atkinson and the remaining proceeds of both the Living Historical Center Foundation and the W.P. "Bill" Atkinson Trust were transferred to the Rose State College Foundation.

By an agreement approved by the RSC Board of Regents and the RSC Foundation, the College will lease the property and have access to the interest generated from the trust funds for 99 years.

The home of the founder of Midwest City, and the acreage it is on, is located on the northwest corner of 10th and Midwest City Boulevard. The home, "pony barn" and land are valued at $1.1 million. Approximately $350,000 will create an endowment to be matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Earnings from the $700,000 endowment will then be used annually to make repairs and improvements to the property and to operate it as a living history center.

"This gift doubles the size of our Foundation and gives us a wonderful and historic conference center, which we can share with other Oklahomans," said Rose State College President Jim Cook.

RSC will use the home as a physical location for its Eastern Oklahoma County Regional History Center (EOCRHC), which was established several years ago. It will utilize the property for meetings and training sessions for employees, students and the community.

"History faculty and many others around campus have facilitated the collection of oral interviews and the establishment of an EOCRHC Web site. They have taken the concept of 'community' college to another level, one involving hours of work by them to collect and preserve the history of our community," Dr. Cook said. "I am now pleased to announce they have a home for any community-related historical artifacts the College receives in the future and a new storehouse of historical material that comes with the donated property."

Rose State Professor Necia Miller remembers the property fondly and said she is proud that Rose State is taking care of this important heritage of Midwest City.

"My first glimpse of the Atkinson farm was when I was a teenager and my dad was buying Shetland ponies," Miller said. "We were from Holdenville, but when we made the trip to Oklahoma City, instead of coming up highway 240 and N.E. 23rd Street, we used N.E. 10th Street in order to see the Atkinson ponies. I later bought a house not 200 yards from the property" Miller said. "I always thought the heritage of this land should be kept intact and be a part of Midwest City's heritage."

As early as January 2005, the College will open the facility for tours. The interior of the home will be kept as it was when Atkinson lived there.

"W.P. Atkinson had a vision to preserve the history of Eastern Oklahoma County through the Living Historical Center," said Susan Loveless, executive director of the RSC Foundation. "The work of faculty, staff and the community will build upon his efforts and make that history available to all."

For more information, contact Loveless at 736-0315.