The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 16, 2011

Marquardts living in the past, loving it

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— For more than a decade, Donald and Shirley Marquardt have worked to ensure historic areas of Enid are not lost to the ages.

The couple, who live in the McCristy-Knox Mansion in Waverley Historic District, have worked with city of Enid officials, neighbors and associates to preserve some of the city’s most historic and storied homes.

“After working 13 years in the program, we have come to fully understand the importance of a neighborhood association and how the historic designation has helped Waverley,” Shirley said. “Homeowners have a strong pride of ownership of their properties, and we have seen tremendous improvements in the upkeep of their homes over the past 13 years.”

The couple purchased their home in 1995, while still living in Texas.

“I had an aunt who lives here in town and lived on Broadway,” Shirley said.

“We happened to come down Broadway and saw this home had a for sale sign,” Donald said.

The home was up for auction, and Donald was told by the seller his was one of the best bids.

“The guy told me, ‘That’s the first respectful bid I’ve got all day,’” Donald said.

By noon Friday, the couple were told they’d gotten the house.

“We had been looking at historic homes in Texas,” Shirley said. “When we saw this one we said it would be a tremendous home.”

The couple have taken on many ambitious projects since purchasing the home and still have more to do.

“I think we’re about three quarters of the way finished,” Donald said. “Our goal was to have it done when the house was 100 years old, but we passed that.”

In 1998, the couple attended a city of Enid meeting about Waverley District, and they have been involved ever since.

The purpose of Waverley Historic District Committee is to find ways to preserve the historic integrity and build up the quality of the site.

Waverley Historic District includes 24 city blocks, from Broadway to Oklahoma and Harrison to Buchanan. Oklahoma Historic Preservation Committee counts 281 homes and apartments within Waverley District.

The district has been in existence for 13 years and keeps neighbors apprised of district news, events and current preservation topics. The district’s commission publishes and distributes The Waverley Flyer, a bi-monthly newsletter placed on the door knobs of every homeowner’s home. The publication provides information about events and historic preservation topics.

The group maintains an e-mail list that primarily is used to send out neighborhood watch alerts but also is used to return lost dogs, report minor crimes, find missing children and give notification of historic preservation events.

“What we try to do is provide neighbors with information,” Shirley said.

The commission also hosts neighborhood meetings and an annual block party and holiday socials, where Donald cooks the hot dogs.

The commission also recognizes yard of the month winners in the spring, holiday decoration contest winners and Neighborhood Choice awards; produces and sells Waverley Calendar of Homes; conducts and organizes annual parlor tours; and sells Waverley Home plaques.

“If someone has a question about ‘I want to do this to our home’ they’ll give us a call,” Shirley said. “That’s a great satisfaction to help people.”

Shirley said it is important to try to save Enid’s historic homes.

“The goal is 30 or 40 years from now to have the homes look as they did when they were built,” she said. “It’s not only about your house, it’s about the streetscape as well.”