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October 5, 1996

Three Noble county farms with direct ties to the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893 will receive Centennial Farm Awards or Centennial Ranch Awards tomorrow from the Oklahoma Historical Society. One of them also will receive the Historic Structures Award.

Selected for the honors this year are the Broken Bar L Ranch, operated by Terry and Judi Leonard; the Family Circle Farm, operated by Starling and Joan Miller; and the Fred W. Gang Homestead, owned by Pern L. and Faye Gang. All three are in the Perry vicinity. To qualify for one of these awards, the property must be a working farm or ranch with a minimum of 40 acres and gross annual sales of at least $1,000, occupied by a family member for at least 100 years, and operated or lived on by a family member or leased out by a family member over 65 years of age.

Historic Structure Awards are presented for properties with four or more structures that are at least 50 years old and have not been altered significantly. That award will go to the Millers' Family Circle Farm.

Another Noble county structure also has received official designation as an historic site. The old Sumner school building east of Perry is one of nine Oklahoma properties chosen for the National Register of Historic Places. The school is now owned by County Assessor David Dolezal, who is using it as a residence.

The school is comprised of four sections built in 1920-21, 1940-41, 1945 and 1954. "The school ... is an outstanding example of both the Commercial style as adapted to a school building and WPA (Works Progress Administration) architecture in Oklahoma," according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. "The school reflects changing architectural styles as well as the needs of the rural community during its seven decades of operation as an educational facility," the society said.

In all, more than 880 Oklahoma resources are now listed on the National Register. The newly listed properties consist of one residence, one hotel, one town hall and six schools. Six were listed under the Multiple Property nomination of WPA resources in Lincoln county. All six were constructed by the WPA between 1935 and 1943. Five of them were schools, including the Sumner property. One of the others is the Chandler high school building, the largest existing school constructed by the WPA in Lincoln county.

Also of interest locally is the selection of the Angie Debo house in Marshall, constructed in 1928. Angie Debo, renowned scholar of Oklahoma and Native American history, wrote nine books, edited three and collaborated on another. Debo's writing served as one of the earliest published records of the history of American Indians. Angie Debo was well acquainted in the Noble county area and was a frequent guest speaker for local organizations.

As time goes by, more Noble county resources will be identified as authentically historic and will be called out for some type of appropriate recognition. Thanks to the Oklahoma Historical Society for this year's selections.