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May 12, 2000

Today we continue with the rest of the story about "What Is Doing In Perry" as reported in a 1924 newspaper, wherein we catch a glimpse of the exciting time this little city was experiencing not so terribly long after the opening of the Cherokee Outlet. Here's the final installment, presumably from the pen of Judge E.W. Jones, who was editor of the Perry Republican weekly newspaper.

"There is a very good prospect of the three vacant lots on the north side of the square being built upon within the year, which will add materially to the business section. The south side of the square has been filled with business buildings, with the exception of one lot at the southeast corner. It is rumored that the owner of this lot expects to build a modern two-story business house there this spring. The east side of the square has been robbed of vacant lots by the recent construction of the three Cooper buildings. With the recent completion of the Christoph & Newton building on the west side of the square, there is but one lot, at the northwest corner which was purchased last fall by the Masonic bodies of the city, who expect to erect a three-story modern building within a year.

"The water and light plant has just completed a series of improvements which put this plant in shape to handle the most rapid growth. The wiring system over the city has been brought up to standard and several hundred new meters have been placed at the disposal of their patrons.

"The intersection of E and Sixth street has been paved and a gully wash of cement put in at Sixth and G streets.

"And last, but biggest of all, the new $100,000 Braden refinery has been started at the northeast corner of the city. The warehouse has already been erected and the contract is let for the electric wiring and lighting system. Workmen are now busy digging foundation trenches for the main plant.

"There is a good prospect of landing another refinery which is to be located just north of the Braden plant. The option on the land has already been paid for and the final closing of the deal is expected within the next two months.

"In spite of the fact that over 100 new homes have been built in the city limits within the past year, there is not a vacant house to be had and every day brings more requests for such property. The Braden company has purchased several lots upon which homes for employees will be built.

"The Crystalite Chemical company is preparing to start the manufacture of Crystalite Washing compound and a number of other toilet articles and when the plant gets under full swing it will employ around 50 people.

"Taking the situation as a whole, with the north county [oil] field expanding with great strides, and the [production] tests southeast of the city and drilling [a] well on the Ragan farm southwest of the city two miles, Perry has the brightest future of any city in the state.

"With this fine start and the wonderful prospects for the future, Perry will grow and the speed of growth depends only upon the revival of the spirit of the business organizations."

This assessment of Perry's condition in the early 1900s has a lot of parallels today. Our little city pulled together for progress back then, just as we are attempting to do today. It's part of our legacy and part of the reason Perry has survived while some other communities have become exhausted by the effort and fallen into a lethargic stupor. What a great place to live!