Our History

Arts Building History

The Building at 214 West Main Street, Stroud, Oklahoma has been the home to many businesses since its creation in 1904.  It has been a video rental store, restaurant, and current art building.
We were curious about its history so current Stroud Arts Vice-President Raquel LeMaster contacted Marsha Morgan, the head librarian at Stroud Public Library and we thank Marsha for the time she spent researching and compiling this invaluable historical timeline of the building.

Stroud Star


P. N. Burford is having the vacant space between the Elk Mercantile store and the real estate office businesses of Meadows and Taylor roofed over, floored, and a front put in.  He will occupy the place as a dwelling Stroud Messenger


Phil Burford is figuring on putting up a new store building where his barber shop now stands.  He has purchased the lot adjoining him on the west which he will also build upon.

Stroud Star


P. N. Burford is contemplating to erect a two-story building where his barber shop is now located.

March 18 – Began building – millinery and barber shop on ground floor – living quarters above.

Stroud Messenger 


Phil Burford this week began the erection of a two-story brick building two doors west of the Elk Mercantile Company store.  Lower floor used for barber shop and millinery store. Upper will be living rooms and bath rooms.

Stroud Messenger


Phil Burford’s new two story brick building is completed and he has moved his barber shop into the west room, where he has one of the neatest and most complete shops in the territory.  He has two bathrooms in connection with the shop and one upstairs for the ladies, which Mrs. Burford of the millinery store has charge of Mrs. Burford occupies the east room with her millenery store.  Most of the upstairs rooms will be used as living rooms.  The Burford building odds greatly to the east part of main street.

Stroud Messenger


Phil Burford is opening up a barber shop in his building on Main Street which was recently vacated by Sam Chest’s mens ready-to-wear store.  He has a new chair coming in and will be ready for business in a few days.

Stroud Messenger


George Fuller built the Burford building in 1904.  He was a building contractor here in 1901.  Also constructed other Stroud buildings.

Stroud Messenger


Fred Gertsen, whose barbershop furniture was hurriedly moved out into the street during the fire last week, has located in the Burford building.

The White Way Café, Claud Lyle owner, has moved into the east room of the Burford building.  The recent fire compelled this change in location.

Stroud Democrat


Things We Hear

By the Roving Reporter---R.J.M.

Born on a farm near Marshfield, Missouri, March 15, 1865, Phil Burford, the subject of our sketch, has had a very interesting life.

Phil grew up on the farm where his father was a very successful farmer and stockman and dealt extensively in mules and did his part in producing the renown Missouri mule.  Aside from keeping a few brood mares, every fall he would add to his herd 25 or 30 choice mule colts.  It would be nothing uncommon to have 100 mules on hand at one time, and anyone that knows anything about mules knows that no matter how fat and slick a mule may be a well roached mane and trimmed tail add 100 per cent to its appearance.  it was Phil’s job to do the shearing so he became quite skilled with the mule shears, a cutting instrument operating like scissors, but larger, so when the local barber let it be known that he wanted someone to come into his shop and learn the trade, Phil got the word, applied and got the position.

His experience seems like he was just cut out for a barber, and while learning the trade, shined shoes at 5 cents a pair, was allowed one half of the take on the bath tub, which was 12 ½ cents.  The water he carried one block in buckets and the water was warmed in an iron kettle over a wood fire.  The shop had two chairs and when the rush was on, he would lather and prepare the victim for the master barber.  After a time he was allowed to shave the neck.  His duties also required him to keep the shaving mugs and brushes clean.  In those days every regular customer had his own mug, brush and razor, and generally his name etched on the mug.  These were kept in a cabinet in plain sight and were sort of an index to the owners business.  As soon as it became known that Phil “had gone to barbering” friends and relatives dropped in and would let him try his hand.  Having grown up with a pair of shears in his hand on his father’s farm, he caught on quick and in a few weeks became a first class tonsorial artist.

We almost forgot to tell you about his school days; a log house with a fireplace and benches made from saw mill slabs with pegs for legs, no backs and no desks; a blackboard and slates were the principle schoolroom equipment.  They had no organized classes.  The teacher would write the lesson on the blackboard.  Of course, not all studied the same lesson as the primer, the primary, and more advanced students all had their space on the board.  At regular intervals examinations were held and questions on the board were answered on the slates, and the teacher would take them up and grade them.  The school term was usually four months.  Many men educated under these circumstances became leading businessmen of their time.

In 1899, Phil went to Springfield, and in the Frisco depot was a poster stating that for $5 one could get a round trip ticket to Oklahoma City, O. T. It was such a bargain he could not resist it.  He was looking for new fields to conquer, and the much talked of Indian country offered many opportunities.  His cousin, M. L. Turner, was in the banking business in the city (Turner later became a state treasurer), so he just up and bought a ticket.  Phil naturally gave the barbershops the once over and while in a conversation with the owner of one, he was informed that he owned a shop at Stroud and his operator there was thinking of quitting about that time.  The Stroud man walked in and Phil traded his return trip ticket for the job.  The shop was located on the Newton lots west of Meadows grocery.  Shaves were 10 cents, hair cuts 25 cents and Phil says “Flour was 50 cents a sack.”  He boarded at the Missouri House for a time.  Board and room was $3.50 per week.  He finally was able to get a house on the present site of the Democrat office and sent for his wife and 10-year-old son.  Business was good and he desired to make this place his home.

In 1904 he built the Burford building on East Main street with living quarters upstairs.  The lower floor was divided and part of it was used for a shop.  He recalls the contract price for the building was $2,900; it could not be built today for $12,000.  It is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Joe McVickers and a barber shop still occupies a part of the building.

When Stroud built its water system, his shop was the first in town to install two bath tubs.  Th

How we got started...

The idea for Stroud Arts, a local organization that created and supported arts in Stroud OK, was conceived by Stroud residents Don & Annetta Neal in 2011. However, due to very active schedules, the time wasn't right to form an organization until 2014 when Don approached the Stroud Chamber of Commerce to see if they would support a local arts organization. The Chamber liked the idea so much they donated the fees to register the startup organization and even leased their newly acquired building for the arts to have a home on Main Street. With renovations underway Don approached several potential Board Members including; Tommy Smith, Pam Clement, Tina Livingstone, Danielle Skelton and David Timmons.

In 2014 Stroud Arts, Inc. became recognized as a 501c3 by the IRS and as a Non Profit Organization by the State of Oklahoma.