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May 24, 2002

Scott and Marty Collins have reason to be excited, and not just because they are buying one of the city’s finest historic homes – the one-time residence of Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Coyle at the corner of 11th and Elm streets. That alone is enough to get the juices flowing as they consider all the possibilities for renovation and restoration. It’s like we often see on “This Old House” and other TV projects.

The Collins’ are making plans for a long-term overhaul of that two-story frame house. It was built in 1902, one century ago, by Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Coyle, pioneer residents of this city. Records show the Coyles imported a professional builder from Kansas to take charge of the original construction. In more recent years the home was owned by the late Mr. and Mrs. Everett Chaffin, who maintained it very well while rearing their four sons there.

Mr. Coyle operated a grocery store and meat market here in the early days after the Cherokee Strip land run of 1893, but later was more widely known as operator of the Coyle Cotton Gin. Added to the acquisition of this home is the publication of a most interesting story excerpted from a new book written by Marty’s Dad, Denzel D. Garrison of Bartlesville, a former leader of Republicans in the Oklahoma State Senate. The article appears in the new edition of Oklahoma Chronicles, the official quarterly publication of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Mr. Garrison has retired from the legislature and now practices law in Bartlesville. His book, scheduled for publication later this year, is titled Remembrances of a Redleg: The Story of a Korean War Artilleryman of the 45th Thunderbird Division. It is a personal account of Mr. Garrison’s recollections as a Field Artillery officer in that “police action,” but the sweep of the story will bring it to an individual level for anyone who lived through that period. The Chronicles article touches on some of the highlights from that book.

Many men from this area went to Korea when the 45th was federalized in 1950. As such, they also were members of the Thunderbird division and Mr. Garrison’s article should be of interest to all of them. Mr. Garrison is a member of the Oklahoma Historical Society board of directors. His book will be published by the Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City.