The Civic Legend Behind The Scenes
A President's Office Gallery Exhibit
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Born and raised on a farm in Northampton County, North Carolina, as a child Stanley Carlisle Draper (1889-1976) dreamt of living in a big city. Little did he know he would grow up to build one. Draper became Oklahoma City's most renowned urban planner of the twentieth century. His exceptional pragmatism and foresight as a civic leader culminated into some of the city's most important developments, including Will Rogers World Airport, Tinker Air Force Base, Lake Hefner, the Federal Aeronautical Administration Center, and the Oklahoma Heritage Association. Not only did he help transform Oklahoma City into the sprawling metropolis it is today; he made significant contributions outside the city as well, leading land reclamation projects to teach new farming techniques that lifted thousands of Oklahoma farmers out of the Great Depression.
The exhibit presents a timeline of Stanley Draper's civic projects and tells Oklahoma City's incredible story through the lens of a man who spent forty-nine years building it. As you explore, consider some of the industries and institutions Draper brought to the city and how they shaped its growth.
Background Image: The Stanley Draper Statue in Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Argo. January 5, 1977. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society.