Durant has many historic public and commercial downtown buildings, several of which date back to the turn of the century. Preservation Oklahoma is partnering with community organizations, local museums and historical societies to promote awareness of these important structures and landscapes to local communities.
The tour will feature historic structures in downtown Durant and will be structured around the work and life of Robert L. Williams, a Durant resident who was Oklahoma’s first chief justice and third governor. It will begin at the Robert L. Williams Public Library, in the room that houses Williams’ private collection of rare books, memorabilia and his personal desk. From 1–1:30 p.m., there will be a discussion of the history and architecture of the library.
Following the session at the library, participants can visit other sites associated with Williams, including the Bryan County Courthouse, with a visit to the third floor courtroom to hear stories from Williams’ era from an attorney depicting the former governor.
Other sites on the tour are the Bryan Hotel (1906), a preservation work-in-progress and one-time home of Gov. Williams, and the J.L. Wilson Building, or Opera House (1898), where the building owner will share stories of this and other historic structures in Durant.
Tours will begin at 1 p.m. at the Robert L. Williams Public Library, located at 325 W. Beech, where participants may purchase the program-map tickets and hear an introduction to the tour; tickets will continue to be available at this location throughout the event. Participants may then move on to the different buildings at their own pace and direction. Discussants will be at each location to provide information about the history of the structure and its architectural features.
Proceeds of the tour will benefit the Durant Main Street Program and Preservation Oklahoma. Information about the tour and ticket prices may be obtained by contacting Preservation Oklahoma at (405) 525-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Durant Main Street Program Manager Donna Dow at (580) 924-1550.
Civic and cultural groups are encouraged to attend. Join the fun and support the work of Preservation Oklahoma and the local community in Durant.