Chamber Chatter - April 30, 2020

by Debbe Ridley

As we look around this wonderful place we call home and see all the improvements made over the last few years -- new City Hall, remodeled Marlow Community Facilities Building, new downtown sidewalks, new Garland Smith Public Library, new Marlow Elementary School facility, and electrical and other infrastructure improvements, just to name the obvious -- it’s hard to deny the commitment of Marlow’s citizens to the future.
One of many of Marlow’s gleaming jewels often taken for granted is the beautiful tree-lined corridor recognized by locals as Broadway, and travelers as U.S. Highway 81. It is surprising how often the phone rings in the Chamber office, and the simple question is asked: “Why do you guys paint your trees?” Gotta admit! Love that positive memory we have “planted!”
These last few weeks plenty of reasons for concern and worry are on all our plates – some more than others. How uplifting it is to have a nod to a bright future taking place right before our eyes on that beautiful tree lined corridor. Thanks to the State of Oklahoma Department of Transportation, with the cooperation of City of Marlow, we are watching bright new sidewalks make their way down sections of Broadway.
It’s heartwarming to see in a very concrete (sorry – couldn’t resist) way another optimistic forward thinking look for this community, in keeping with the groundwork put down by our founding fathers.
“It takes brains, brawn and money to build a city. The above combination in the proper proportion can get Marlow on an absolutely safe footing where very little effort will be necessary to keep her there. What we mean is that a few things done at this time assures the commercial stability. It is harder to retrieve than prevent a loss.” (Marlow Review, March 3, 1910.)
From the March 17, 1910 issue of The Marlow Review: “It would cost Marlow about one-half of one mill additional tax assessment to build a city hall. That means that the man paying taxes on one thousand dollars worth of property would pay about fifty cents more taxes on account of the city hall. The fire department could occupy the ground floor, the city officials could have offices and the remainder of the second story cut rate rooms and make a source of revenue to the city. The present building is a disgrace to the city and the matter should be taken up by the council and submitted to the people at an election.”
“Which street will be the first to petition the town for an improvement district? A four-foot side-walk along any residence street in Marlow may be put in on ten year’s time if proper steps are taken. One such move in town means miles of macadamized side-walks. Let’s start something.”
“Several men expressed to the editor a willingness to donate a day’s work with a man and team in grading the school block and preparing for permanent sodding and to surround the block with a concrete side-walk. Civic pride is not dead in Marlow and will break out in a virulent manner at any time.”
Taking a look at this May 25, 1910 voice of leadership from Marlow Review Editor, W. B. Anthony: “This year will be one with the greatest opportunities in the history of Marlow. The citizens have the making of a vast amount of history in this good year of 1910. A good strong pull and the uniting of common interests would result in absolutely placing Marlow upon a safe and sure footing commercially, as well as from the standpoint of civic improvements. There was never a time in our history when united effort promised so much as now. The country is being developed, the people expect more than formerly, streets should be better, sidewalks more necessary, every thing is crying for improvement. It is the age and times we live in. They are simply demanded, and the city that fails to heed the demands will find itself out in the cold when the crucial test comes. Let Marlow write her own history and not leave it to others. We can do it if we will, and inactivity is virtually suicidal.”
Thank you Mr. Anthony, along with all the others, who paved the way for our future. Your efforts kept “Marlow on a absolutely safe footing” for over a century. It’s our turn now, and we’ve all chosen to write our chapter of Marlow’s history, and not leave it to others. Well done.