Geary Avenue: named for a forgotten pioneer
There is a short street east of I-235 named Geary Avenue. It’s longer on the south side of the river.
I figured the street was named for the town of Geary in Blaine County. I was wrong.
With a little research in The Oklahoman’s archives, I learned about one of Oklahoma City’s forgotten pioneers.
James Geary was born in 1844 in Missouri. At age 15, after the death of his parents, he left home to become a frontiersman. He helped survey the area where Denver, Colo., now stands and rode with wagon trains on their way to New Mexico and beyond.
During the Civil War, he was an Army scout in the company of William “Wild Bill” Hickock, Amos Chapman, Ben Clark and Col. William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. After the war, he built houses under government contract in Oklahoma before moving to Kansas and settling down as a rancher and merchant.
On April 22, 1889, James Geary came to Oklahoma City and on May 3, 1889, he opened the Citizens’ Bank at the corner of Main and Broadway. He sold the bank in 1893 to Capt. Daniel Stiles, another pioneer with a street named for him. He joined Stiles, and the two became real estate developers.
They developed the Maywood Addition, Oklahoma City’s first “Nichols Hills,” which included the area around Geary Avenue. It was the fashionable part of town where the wealthy lived.
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