How woman got her North Tulsa home of 18 years to be added to National Register of Historic Places

Dollita Okine April 01, 2024
Hutton-Ballard expressed that she understood the importance her home held in the days. Photo Credit: Fox23

Cheronda Hutton-Ballard has been residing in the same house for almost eighteen years, but she was unaware of its rich past. Today, her home—which was once owned by Charles and Bertha Blevins and is significant to Oklahoma’s civil rights history—has been formally added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is situated in a neighborhood close to Pine and North Peoria.

Though Hutton-Ballard didn’t realize it was this big, she told FOX23 that she thought there was a presence in the house.

“I was down the street talking to a neighbor and she said, did you know your house used to be a voting precinct? I’m looking around and I’m like excuse me, what house? She said your house. They used to vote in your house in the basement and that was like in 2012,” she recounted. 

After that, she started contacting several locations in north Tulsa and discovered that her house was registered under precinct number 3, which marked the beginning of her journey to have the house added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Finally, on March 14, the Oklahoma Historical Society added the house to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its role in the social and economic advancement of the Black community in north Tulsa in the middle of the 20th century.

Hutton-Ballard expressed that she understood the importance her home held in the days, saying, “They were actually voting here in 1946 so they were really well advanced before their time. They had a right to come here and be safe, do their voting in the polling places without being harassed or being threatened. They gave them a safe place to be able to make a big part in local state and federal history.” 

In her home, she has also included a little bust of John F. Kennedy, the last candidate they voted for, explaining that it symbolizes the role he played in both African-American history and the history of all people.

She said that being able to share the stories of those who are no longer here feels great.

“I feel great because I feel like this is my way of paying it back forward because their daughter was kind enough to let me purchase the house. I was just 29 years old so to be able to have a house and of this magnitude, I’m humbled and I’m grateful. I’m making sure that I know that Mrs. Blevins and Mr. Blevins would be extremely proud and I know they will,” Hutton-Ballard said. 

“It takes a village to do this. This isn’t something that I could obtain by myself. I had to have other people to help me bring this history forth,” she added.

In the future, Hutton-Ballard stated that she would like to set up voting booths to replicate what they used to do with home voting.

Officials say that when a building, site and other landmark are added to the National Register, local or state clauses could prevent them from being destroyed or altered.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 1, 2024


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