Stillwater artist captures image of Smith House
published on 03/06/2012
When RCB Bank President Larry Green decided to commission a painting of the classic Smith House his bank called home, Stillwater residents quickly suggested one artist for the job.
Jack Allred, who has painted historic structures across Stillwater and the Oklahoma State University campus, was recommended to Green as the obvious choice to paint the classic building at Duck Street and Fourth Avenue.
The converted house, constructed in the early 1920s according to Green, was torn down last summer and replaced with a 4,700- square- foot branch bank. The decision to start anew rather than preserve history was not an easy one for Green, he said.
“She was a grand old home from the curb, but the inside had just been neglected for so long,” he said.
“We looked at rehabbing or restoring the interior, and it was just physically impossible. I was reluctant, but I think we needed to do it.”
The Smith House — as it was commonly known across Stillwater after long- time owner Dr. Haskell Smith — was one of the last mementos from Duck Street’s previous era.
The thoroughfare once featured a grass median and was lined with grand houses.
Allred admits it was a sight he’ll miss.
“It was a pretty sight with big trees and big, old historical homes — of course those are few and far between now,” he said. “But it was nice to capture that history.”
He spent a month painting the original Smith House, having to rely on photographs because the building had been demolished by the time he started working, Allred said.
But before the building was demolished, its red clay roof tiles were preserved so the First United Methodist Church down the street could have them as replacements for its original roofing, Green said.
Construction on the new branch finished in January.
While the change was difficult, Green said, the new building has received favorable reviews from some of the city’s tougher critics.
“Most of the folks who have spoken with me say they ‘ were really disappointed that you knocked the house down, but you’re really building a beautiful building back,’” he said.
The painting was received well at a private showing Thursday, Allred and Green agreed.
It will be unveiled to the public Wednesday as part of an RCB Bank open house 11 a. m. to 2 p. m.
Story from Stillwater Newspress. www.stwnewspress.com