The old gal is remarkably well preserved, and after all these years is about to receive a facelift.
The old gal in question is a building at Maine and Grand, which now houses several businesses and whose upper floor once was the home of Enid Elks Lodge. Buddy Nicholas, of Nicholas Real Estate, led a tour Thursday that included members of the Main Street Enid design committee and Ron Frantz, Oklahoma Main Street architect.
Work already has started on the building’s exterior, with siding being removed as the structure is returned to its original appearance. Touring the old second floor, Nicholas said there may be future projects, but at present there are no plans for the second floor. Frantz said it is remarkable the structure is in such good condition. The rooms are large and there are inter-connecting doors.
“It would make anything work,” he said.
The space could be an office or residence or even an upper-floor restaurant. Frantz said the open spaces are flexible. There also are tax credits available for downtown historic renovation. There are federal tax credits of 20 percent for historic renovation of downtown areas, and the state of Oklahoma also offers a 20 percent tax credit, for a 40 percent total credit. However, Oklahoma’s budget problems are causing discussion about eliminating the state credit.
“You’re generating jobs and buying materials locally, plus putting space in use that was vacant, which generates a more active downtown,” Frantz said.
Bud Nicholas said his father, N.H. Nicholas, bought the building in 1944 at a sheriff’s sale after the Elks Lodge went through foreclosure. The structure originally was four stories, with a dance floor above the current level. One evening during a dance the building began to wobble and the city closed it. Nicholas removed the top two floors and resolved the problem.
The building had a full basement, which was used as a gymnasium. In the gym was a caricature of an Enid boxer, “Puss” Himes, Nicholas said. That has been preserved.
The second floor also served as the office of the AFL-CIO for a number of years, and a sign on one wall urges not doing business with a local company because it is “unfair” to labor.
Coldiron Clothing Store occupied the ground floor for many years, Nicholas said. When the clothing store moved to another location, a shoe store, also owned by Ted Coldiron, went in. Coldiron later sold the shoe store, he said.
The siding has been removed, and Nicholas said they are looking for a way to remove the paint. They do not want to sandblast the store and think they can use chemicals but want to do that safely.
“We’re going to clean it up and take it back to the natural look. We also own the old Mecca Theater next door and we’re taking the siding off it, too. Forty years ago everyone wanted to put aluminum and siding on their building, now they want to take it off,” Nicholas said.