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Our Parks

And Green Spaces

Alice Harn Park

Alice Harn Park is in the 1500 block of Classen Drive, just west of 13 th Street and
Shartel Avenue. The land was donated to the City by Alice Harn and William Fremont Harn in 1910, with the intention that it would be a gift to the children of Oklahoma City. The park is a green belt that is a long strip with two circular ends—it has been described as having the shape of a barbell. On the north side of the wall, a circular stone strip forms a garden area. The park has no playground equipment or picnic tables; it is simple and natural, with a large open grass area, encircled by trees. At the southeast end of the park, a native stone wall, with a bench area accessed by wide two-tiered stone steps, was constructed by the WPA.

Another special feature of Harn Park, also at the south end, is the sculpture known as “Indian Boy With Rabbit.” It was created by renowned University of Oklahoma sculptor and professor, Joe Taylor, and donated to the city by the Oklahoma Art League in 1955. The statue, intended to honor the plains Indians of Oklahoma, was inspired by a traditional Native story of a twelve-year-old boy who fearlessly protected a frightened rabbit from a hungry wolf. Originally displayed in O’Neil Park, Heritage Hills provided funds to restore the sculpture in 2003, and it has since been located in the present Harn Park location.

William Fremont Harn was an important real estate developer in early Oklahoma City. His wife, Alice Harn, was a civic leader in her own right, active in the arts and in beautification efforts in the city. Alice Harn died in 1931, but the park remains in its original design, as a peaceful place of nature more than 100 years after it was gifted.

Winans Park

Winans Park is located on the far eastern edge of Heritage Hills. It may now be best
recognized as the large natural space on Broadway Avenue between 20 th and 22 nd
Street, and home of Oklahoma City Fire Department Station #5. This pleasant, park of grass and now mature trees was donated to the City by John Franklin Winans in 1910. Between 1910 and the early 1950s, Winans Park was a busy gathering place, with swing sets, a wading pool, tennis courts and a bathhouse. Since the original version of the fire station was constructed in 1951, the park has been an island of green in what is now a very busy part of the city.

The history of Winans Park makes this pleasant break in city traffic particularly interesting and important. Franklin Winans was a Civil War veteran, who fought at Gettysburg, and later homesteaded in Oklahoma for nearly 50 years. He was an “Eighty-Niner,” one of the Oklahoma settlers who came in the first land run to the Unassigned Lands. As it turned out, Mr. Winans’ original homestead was in what
relatively soon became part of Oklahoma City and included much of what is now
Heritage Hills. The Park is part of Franklin Winans’s homestead. When he donated
the land, it became a City Park and was a gathering place for other “Eighty-Niners,” as well as newer residents, in which to play and picnic. Franklin Winans himself lived to the age of 93, passing in 1935. It is said that Winans was a vegetarian who never smoked or drank alcohol, and that neighbors “never got used to seeing the 93-year-old man running around the block every morning” in his last days. (Daily Oklahoman, September 20, 2020.)

Perle Mesta Park

Perle Mesta Park is in the Mesta Park Historic Preservation District, adjacent to
Heritage Hills, and enjoyed by residents of both historic neighborhoods. It consists of a full square block, between 18 th and 19 th Streets, and Shartel and Lee Avenues. The city park was created in 1975, on a block that had deteriorated into derelict homes. Perle Mesta’s brother, O.W. Skirvin donated $5,000 to help create the park. The Mesta Park Neighborhood Association has tirelessly contributed significant funding to maintain the park and improve it over the years, and Historical Preservation, Inc. has been an ongoing contributor to the park as well. Since its inception the park has come to include play structures, mature landscaping, a gazebo, and more recently a sand volleyball court. Mesta Park continues to be a central meeting place and playground for both Mesta Park and Heritage Hills residents, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.

As with other parks in our neighborhood, Mesta Park has a fascinating history. Perle Mesta, born in 1889, was the daughter of William Skirvin, who came to Oklahoma as an original “Eighty-Niner,” and became a wealthy oilman. When Perle Mesta first came to Oklahoma as a young girl, her home was the Skirvin Hotel. She then lived as a teenager in what became the Mesta Park neighborhood, in what is now known as the “Perle Mesta House.” Before returning to Oklahoma City in her last years, Perle Mesta, “The Hostess with the Mostess”, became the queen of Washington, D.C. society, was active in furthering women’s rights, was the Ambassador to Luxemburg, and was close social friends with Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and their families. Perle Mesta Park remains as a legacy to this remarkable woman.

O'Neil Park

When our young city had developed to the point that the Oklahoma Railway
Company’s streetcar reached into what is now Heritage Hills, it passed through a neglected patch of land at NW 13th and Shartel Avenue. J.E. O’Neil had come to Oklahoma City from the more developed Kansas City, and he considered that unkempt piece of land an eyesore. Through much persistence, Mr. O’Neil convinced Anton Classen, who owned the Oklahoma Railway, to donate the land to the city to become a public park.

Florence Park

Florence Park is a tree-lined parkway located in the 800 block of NW 15 th Street. Like the nearby Alice Harn Park, Florence Park was a designed feature of the Harndale Addition, developed by William Fremont Harn in 1910. It was intended to slow traffic and add peacefulness to the neighborhood, which it still does today. Florence Park is named for Florence Ogden Wilson, who was a niece of Alice Harn. Florence never married, and spent much of her life caring for her aunt and uncle, until she inherited their substantial fortune. In later years she became a generous philanthropist, supporting education and the arts, and establishing the original Harn Homestead as a museum.

Robinson Median

The tree-lined median on Robinson Avenue is maintained by the efforts and funding of Heritage Hills residents, and by our governing body, Historical Preservation, Inc. Many of us drive by this green space every day, and experience how it adds to the particularly peaceful sense of living in Heritage Hills.

Shartel Median

The Shartel Boulevard median is maintained by the Shartel Boulevard Development Authority, Inc. (“SBDA”), a non-profit organization that supports its landscape improvements, beautification, irrigation and maintenance. The SBDA is governed by the Boards of Directors of Heritage Hills and Mesta Park residents. This green space is maintained by its neighbors, through the efforts of the non-profit organization and neighborhood funding.

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