Richardson Building in Arcadia added to National Register

The Edward Richardson Building in Arcadia, Oklahoma, now known as the home of GlassBoy Studios, recently was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

An email Friday from the National Park Service stated the property at 101 Main St. in Arcadia had its listing effective Dec. 4.

According to the National Register nomination form, the structure also was known as Freed Mercantile or the Brooks Building. The original part of the building was constructed in 1922, making it older than the original Route 66 that ran a stone’s toss from its front door. The rear addition was built in the 1940s.

More from the nomination:

It is also significant as the building was built and owned by an African-American businessman, and that the business contained therein was owned and operated by African-Americans for the first several years.Arcadia historically had a significant African-American population, but the revelation that a prominently located business on Main Street in Arcadia was owned by an African-American sheds new light on the integration of the community in the 1920’s.

Arcadia remains a mixed-race town, as it was with its founding more than 100 years ago.

The building also remains one of the few old buildings left on Main Street in Arcadia, as the entire east side of the block was destroyed by a fire in 1927. One surviving building, Tulon’s Drugstore, also is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Richardson owned the building through part of the 1940s, though he actually lived in Fort Scott, Kansas. Henry G. Freed and Joe B. Brooks also operated businesses there, hence the other names of the building throughout its history.

The Arcadia Historical Society rehabilitated the building in 2011, with the initial plans to make it into a visitors center. Longtime resident Jimmy Blue said at the time the building once had been used as a grocery, a welding shop and feed store over the years.

Joel Rayburn opened GlassBoy Studios in early 2016 as a place to make art and neon signs. Rayburn told me in a text message he’s scaled back his time there because of work commitments in nearby Oklahoma City. But he said he still is making neon signs and artwork there for his enjoyment (with the occasional sale), and he still will display his signs there.

(Image of the Richardson Building in Arcadia, Oklahoma, from the National Register of Historic Places nominating petition)

One thought on “Richardson Building in Arcadia added to National Register

  1. So happy to see this old building being used to create Neon signs. Love to drive by and see the signs in the window!

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