|City/Town: • Maud
|Location Class: • Church • Commercial • Disappearing Town • Jail • Residential
|Built: • April 16, 1896 | Abandoned: • N/A
|Status: • Disappearing Town
|Photojournalist: • Jennifer Burton • Leslie Flaming • Michael Schwarz • David Gaede • Eric Price
Maud, OK is best known as the birthplace of Wanda Jackson, the queen of rockabilly. The town is located at the intersection of State Highways 59 and 9A, with its western half of the town located in Pottawatomie County and its eastern half in Seminole County. The town was established along the dividing line between Oklahoma and Indian territories and in 1890 a barbed-wire fence was built from the North Canadian River to the Canadian River through the middle of town to keep Indians out of Oklahoma Territory. However, the fence did not deter the illegal distribution of alcohol to the Indians.
On April 16, 1896, a post office was established and the town was named after Maud Sterns, a sister to the wives of the two owners of the first general store. Astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr. was the grandson of Philip Cooper and his wife Cora Sterns who were one of the owners of the store. A railroad depot built in 1903 serviced four passenger and eight freight trains daily on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (in 1923 the Oklahoma City, Ada and Atoka Railway). In a short time one general store, three dry good stores, two drug stores, one blacksmith, three cotton gins, and one funeral parlor were built. The first newspaper, the “Maud Monitor”, was published in February 1904. Maud was incorporated on July 21, 1905. By 1910 the population had reached 503.
In the early 1920’s, due to the discovery of oil, Maud became a boomtown with an estimated population of 10,000, and its business district doubled. However, by 1930 Maud’s population dwindled to 4,326. At the turn of the twenty-first century the Maud Historical Museum was located on East Main in the old Irby Drugstore, and the town had a population of 1,136.
Wanda Jean Jackson
In 1937 Wanda Jean Jackson was born in Maud. Her father Tom played piano in bar bands and worked whatever odd jobs he could find during the Depression. In 1941 he loaded up the family and headed for California and a better way of life. The family settled in Bakersfield. Wanda first learned to sing in a church gospel choir. Her father bought her her first guitar, gave her lessons, and encouraged her to play piano as well. In addition, he took her to see such acts as Tex Williams, Spade Cooley, and Bob Wills, which left a lasting impression on her young mind. Tom moved the family back to Oklahoma City when Wanda was 12 years old.
While attending high school in 1952, Wanda won a talent show at a local radio station. Her prize was a daily fifteen-minute radio program on KLPR. The program, soon upped to 30 minutes, lasted throughout Jackson’s high school years. Jackson began her professional career while still attending Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City after being discovered by Hank Thompson in 1954, who heard her singing on local station KLPR-AM and invited her to perform with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. After graduating from high school, Jackson began to tour with her father as manager and chaperon. She often shared the bill with Elvis Presley, who encouraged Jackson to sing rockabilly. She was a cast member of ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri from 1955–1960, and in 1956 she signed with Capitol, recording a number of singles mixing country with rock and roll. “I Gotta Know” was released in 1956 & peaked at No. 15.
Maud Historical Museum (Irby Drug Store)
Built: 1928 Abandoned: Temporarily Closed
Maud Historical Museum is housed in the former Irby Drug Building. The drug store became a part of Main Street when it was constructed in 1928. It gets its name from the man who owned it, John Irby who was the Founder. One interesting story from 1947 regarding the Irby Building as reported in the Seminole Producer was, “An estimated $1,000 in jewelry was taken from the Irby Drug store in Maud today and O.L. Harvey’s filling station east of the city reported theft of money from a cigarette machine during the night.”
Around 1957 Robert Snelson became a partner with John Irby and they ran the store together. Irby Drug remained in business through 1972 when businesses in the small town struggled to stay afloat. The drug store’s original soda fountain and pharmacy are still intact, and most of the display cases are also from the original drug store. In more recent years the building was turned into the Maud Historical Museum which featured hundreds of artifacts relating to the history of the town. The many displays include surrounding communities, and consist of former school items, community organizations, former businesses and many clothing items from former Maud citizens. There is also a large display of Rock-a-Billy singer Wanda Jackson, who was born in Maud, along with separate displays of churches, schools, doctors and lawyers’ offices. All items in the museum have been donated or loaned by current and former Maud citizens.
First Baptist Church of Maud
Built: 1926 Abandoned: 2008
The First Baptist Church of Maud was closed and abandoned in 2008 after a leak in the roof. Having gone unnoticed it allowed black mold to spread throughout making the church toxic and uninhabitable. The option to clean and remove the mold plus replace the roof would have been far too expensive for the congregation. The inside was gutted and pews salvaged to gain back some money for the new church to be built. The new church is located at 801 N. Green St. and holds service for the Baptists of Maud.
Kib Warren (Knights) Funeral Home
Built: ~1933 Status: Under Renovation
Built around 1933 according to government insurance maps the Kib Warren Funeral Home became a part of the funeral competition in Maud. At the time Kib Warren had Ogee Funeral home to compete with and was arguably more favored as a funeral home. Nonetheless, it hosted services for numerous families over the next fifteen years.
In the 1940s a gentleman by the name of Alfred Leroy Knight had returned from serving in the U.S. Air Force. After his return he attended embalming school in Dallas Texas, he then returned to Oklahoma where he secured a job at Watts Funeral Home in Konowa. Al and his wife Betty along with their sons Tommy and Warren decided to move to Maud a year later and settle down.
In 1948 Al purchased the two-story Kib Warren Funeral Home using the second floor as their home and utilizing the first floor as Knight Funeral Home. Knight had big dreams for the funeral business in Maud and had already bought out one of his competitors. It was only a few years later that he bought out Ogee Bros. Funeral Home as well and consolidated the two making Knights the prime funeral home for Maud. They purchased the telephone building across the street and also utilized it for the funeral home often using it for storage. But by the mid-1950s it was necessary to build newer construction. Just across the street and completed in 1956 was the brand new Knights Funeral Home.
The building that formerly housed Knights and Kib Warren Funeral Homes was listed for sale shortly after. It was sold to Jim and Ola Roberts renovating it into what would be known as the Roberts Hotel and later Roberts Apartment House. It stayed apartments for the next few decades experiencing remodels in the 1980s and again in the 1990s to make the layout less hotel-like and more fit for apartments.
In 2021 locals were offered the property by the previous owner, “My husband knows the lady who previously owned it, and she just offered to sell it to us one day. I had no idea it used to be a funeral home, we just knew it was an apartment building.” They have taken on the massive project to renovate the two-story building, ” The process has been SLOW and expensive, it’s very outdated on the inside and vandalized from when it was broken into,” said one of the new owners. They have plans to make the second floor their home and the first floor into a mix of Airbnb suites and apartments with time.
Maud Masonic Lodge No. 106
Built: 1929 Abandoned: 1999
The Maud Masonic Lodge was constructed in 1929 as a massive and grand lodge. The building almost looks disproportionate to the rest of the town and one can only wonder what a building so big looked like back in the day. The cornerstone lists Rufus O Renfrew as the Grand Master and displays the Masons symbol.
Just a few years later the Maud Lodge was rewarded with an attendance banner with 58 members present. Whichever lodge with the best attendance records throughout the year would receive the reward, Konawa received the reward the year prior. Meetings were held in this building up until 1999 when the structural integrity of the building was found to not be in good standing. The old lodge was sold to a local citizen who used the building as storage and just a year or so later the back portion of the building collapsed.
Nothing could be found on the jail cell that sits on the corner of Main and Broadway Street. According to a former resident, the building is newer than 1954 because when they moved away from the town it did not stand. Some speculate it looks like it’s been removed from a different building. It is a small single cell jail made out of cement blocks and painted white. The heavy steel door looks to be almost new and ready for use to lock up any delinquents.
Sunset Estates of Maud
Built: Abandoned: 2006 Status: Restored
Sunset Estates was opened as a long term nursing facility in 1977 for medicaid and medicare patients only. There were 62 beds.
They provided many services to residents such as clinical laboratory services, dental services, dietary services, mental and social services and speech and language pathology. In 1997 a Pottawatomie county judge found Sunset Estates (medi-plex) not guilty in a case filed against the facility. The case concerned injuries a patient suffered when she fell from her bed in 1994. In 2002 they were cited with 4 deficiency violations by the state fire marshal concerning smoke alarms, sprinkler system, faulty electrical wiring in the attic and fire extinguisher certifications. By September of 2002 it had changed ownership four times. In 2006, the facility was unable to secure funding through the states medicaid program and was forced to close its doors. Maud Residential care 65 beds
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