Oklahoma's National Register of Historic Places

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ID Number 75001568
Historic Name BOLEY HISTORIC DISTRICT
Description of Significance BOLEY IS AN ALL BLACK TOWN FOUNDED IN 1903 BY AFRICAN AMERICAN RAILROAD WORKERS. IT WAS ADVERTISED AS A HAVEN FROM BLACK OPPRESSION. BLACK PEOPLE FROM GEORGIA, TEXAS, LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND FLORIDA BEGAN MOVING INTO THE AREA AND ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1904, A FORMAL OPENING OF THE TOWN WAS HELD. BY 1911, THE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT OF BOLEY INCLUDED A BANK, MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES, FIVE HOTELS, SEVEN RESTAURANT, FOUR COTTON GINS, THREE DRUG STORE,S A JEWELRY STORE, FOUR DEPARTMENT STORES, AND A VARIETY OF OTHER BUSINESS. THE POPULATION WAS ESTIMATED TO BE AROUND 4,000. THE TOWN HAD ITS OWN ELECTRICAL PLANT AND ITS CITIZENS PROSPERED. THIS DID NOT LAST. CROP FAILURES IN THE 1920S AND THE DEPRESSION IN THE 1930S HALTED THE GROWTH OF THE COMMUNITY AND MANY OF ITS RESIDENTS LEFT FOR NEARBY CITIES, NEVER TO RETURN. THE FOURTEEN BUILDINGS INCLUDED IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT WERE CONSTRUCTED BETWEEN 1903 AND 1921 AND ARE ALL THAT REMAIN OF THE ORIGINAL BOLEY BUSINESS DISTRICT. NOTABLE BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT INCLUDE THE FARMERS AND MERCHANTS BANK BUILDING, A SINGLE-STORY BRICK BUILDING WITH LIMESTONE TRIM, AND THE OLIVER BUILDING, A 1910 BUILDING CONSTRUCTED OF NATIVE STONE. LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER, 5/15/1975. NHL DESIGNATED 5/15/1975.
Current Name SAME
Address ROUGHTLY BOUNDED BY SEWARD AVENUE, WALNUT, CEDAR, AND THE SOUTHERN CITY LIMITS
City BOLEY
County OKFUSKEE
Lot
Block
Current Section
Township
Range
Type DISTRICT
Historic Function
Current Function COMMERCE/TRADE; GOVERNMENT; DOMESTIC: SINGLE DWELLING; RELIGIOUS: RELIGIOUS FACILITY: CHURCH
Area Signficance 1 ARCHITECTURE
Area Significance 2 ETHNIC HERITAGE - BLACK
Date Prepared 9/24/1974
Year Built 1929
Original Site YES
Architect/Builder W.L. JONES
Architectural Style UNCOLLECTED
Roof Material UNCOLLECTED
Wall Material BRICK; STONE; STUCCO; CONCRETE
Window Material WOOD
Door Material WOOD
Decorative Details
Condition POOR
Comments DOCUMENTATION SOURCES: (CONT) KAYE M. TEALL, BLACK HISTORY IN OKLAHOMA, 1971; LOREN WILLIAM KATZ, THE BLACK WEST, GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK: DOUBLEDAY AND COMPANY INC. 1971.
Restricted N