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Capitol Hill: Katz Drug Store PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Lackmeyer   
Sunday, 19 April 2009 02:34

The southsiders, April 18, 2009, at Coits, SW 25 and Western Avenue.

Can we bring balance not just to the Force, but also to OKC History? That's been the question as two admitted northside boys, Jack and I, have spent the past couple years building this site. Surprise, surprise, the site tilted far too much toward telling stories involving downtown and north Oklahoma City.

That simply won't be acceptable. Over the past couple of months I've joined a group of southside residents who get together once a month to look through old yearbooks, share stories, and enjoy a sleepy Saturday afternoon remembering Capitol Hill when it was in its prime.

The first result of these visits can be found in the yearbook photos section of this site (and thanks to our webmaster, Martin Milner, for acting as the "interpreter"). And as we prepare to add several southside features, let's start with this quick photographic glance at what once was, and what it was today.


The Katz neon signs - classics.

Visit City Hall, browse any historic photo collection of Oklahoma City and the neon sign for Katz Drug Store on Main Street downtown grabs your attention pretty quickly. But the Katz sign, and an impressive piece of architecture, also graced Capitol Hill - south Oklahoma City own downtown back in the 1950s and 1960s.

Katz Drug Store, Capitol Hill during its glory days.

Capitol Hill is a shadow of its former self, yet some great architecture remains to be rediscovered. The old Katz store has fallen on hard times.

Katz Drug Store, Capitol Hill, 2009.

It is amazing, when you think about it, to look at an old building like this today and come away realizing it was once a pretty cool piece of real estate.

As for history on this store, I might need some help from my new southside friends.

Here's what I've found:

Katz opened the first Oklahoma City store at 200 W Main in 1936, leasing the two-story building for 99 years. A years later the store at 331 SW 25 in Capitol Hill was built. A final, larger Mayfair store at NW 50 and May opened in 1958.

The Katz name disappeared from Oklahoma City in 1962, not long after it made headlines for the civil right lunch counter sit-ins that took place at the downtown store (we'll leave that story for another day). That same year, the Rhode Island-based Adams Drug Co. bought out Oklahoma City's legendary Veazey drug store chain, 17 stores in all.

The Katz name continued elsewhere through the 1970s and was eventually taken over by the Skaggs chain.

- "Katz Stores in City Sold," The Oklahoman, August 9, 1962.


Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 04:12