(Bethany, Okla.)---Histories of local residents, businesses, churches and schools are included in the recently released “Blessed Bethany: The Centennial History of Bethany.” Copies of the $60 book may be purchased at the Bethany Public Library located at 36th Street and Mueller until Jan. 30.
“Blessed Bethany has recorded the history of our city, using the stories of those who have lived it. It has established a baseline upon which our future history will be built as other stories are added. I believe that it will be treasured for generations as the books are passed down within families. I still have the book that was published by my hometown in 1967 for its sesquicentennial, and am amazed at how often I refer to it for something or someone I remember,” volunteer Arlita Harris said. Dr. Harris, head librarian at Southern Nazarene University, collected families, individuals, businesses, churches and schools’ histories as the stories were mailed in or delivered by current and former Bethany residents.
Prepaid book purchasers picked up their books at a book delivery party held Saturday, Dec. 12 at the library. Food for the party was provided by the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 6000 N.W. 23rd Street.
The book is divided into several sections and begins with the requisite photographs of the mayor and city council members, fire and police departments and transitions into the text-heavy pages that relate the history of the small town that is surrounded by Oklahoma City. Another longer story gives the history of Southern Nazarene University, the college that began with 70 students from four states a mere four months after the town was settled. The university remains Bethany’s largest employer and a focal point as one drives through the town on 39th Expressway, Bethany’s “main street.”
In the middle of the book’s 256 pages, 153 pages are filled with histories and photographs of citizens present and past. Each family or individual was given 500 words and one photograph at no charge to relate their stories. If a family had lived in Bethany for more than one generation, each generation was allowed the space. There were a few instances when a story was deemed historically valuable, and the editors allowed more than the 500-word limit.
Another section of the book includes histories and photographs of the city’s businesses, churches and schools. The remaining section is filled with advertisements.
A volunteer, 18-member committee worked on the book and the Bethany library staff has donated their time to handle distribution and sales of the remaining books. The committee met almost one year to plan and obtain the book’s content, and to coordinate book and advertising sales.
Proceeds received from book and ad sales will cover the cost of printing and the committee will donate any proceeds over costs to The Children’s Center, a pediatric Bethany hospital for medically-fragile children. The Children’s Center is one of the four institutions begun in 1909-10 that still operates today. The other three are Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, Southern Nazarene named Oklahoma Holiness College in 1910 and Bethany Public Schools.
Books can be purchased for $60 with cash, a check or credit card from Marcia Feisal in Fine Arts 142. For more information contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-491-6631 during business hours.
Tue, January 12, 2010
by Eunice Trent. Written by Marcia M. Feisal.