EDMOND — In the heart of downtown Edmond is the oldest existing commercial building in Oklahoma County, and the 120-year-old building is home to such contemporary work spaces as a coffeehouse, an architecture firm and a personalized golf equipment company.
David Hornbeek, president of Hornbeek and Blatt Architecture, owns three-fourths of the red sandstone structure — the entire top floor and southern bottom portion, home to Cafe Evoke. He said he knew little about the history of the building at 101 S Broadway when he moved in on Valentine's Day 2007.
During the remodel of the building that was built in 1893 as Peoples' Bank of Edmond, they found in the walls yellowed documents, newspapers and bank statements dating to before statehood. Hornbeek, 58, thinks the papers might have been used as insulation.
“This is the first two-story, first masonry structure in the Unassigned Lands,” Hornbeek said referring to the millions of acres up for grabs during the 1889 Land Run. Dubbed as historically significant by the Edmond Historical Society in 1991, the building originally housed a general store, an upstairs boardinghouse and the bank.
Today, the building is probably known by most as the Edmond Tag Agency, which has inhabited the back northern half of the first floor since the 1960s.
Hornbeek's firm and Golf Tailor are upstairs. Design and remodeling work was done by Hornbeek and Blatt and their construction company, Professional Design Build Associates.
The architects' space is above where the bank was located, and the steps are especially steep due to the bank vault's original location below. The squeaky wood flooring that remains upstairs is nearly all original. The ceilings were raised, exposing a previously unused skylight.
Hornbeek loves working in such an old building, and he gets enthusiastic when talking about the history. There is even an legend that Bonnie and Clyde once stayed at the boardinghouse, only to rob the Citizen's Bank of Edmond across the street the next morning.
“I'm so old I'll use an adjective that you'll probably think is lame, but it's cool,” he said. “We take pride in what we've done.”
The building is not earthquake proof. Hornbeek recalled an earthquake experience a few years ago that shook and swayed the building.
“I thought the two male employees I had at the time were wrestling,” he said. “I can promise you this building was not designed around any earthquake standards.”
Evoke's owner, Jason Duncan, 30, said he “wanted a building with character.” Evoke was originally a catering company, and this is its first and only “brick and mortar” location.
Coffee is its main focus, but Evoke also serves beer, wine, cocktails, tea, soda, and hot chocolate. The food menu includes sandwiches, salads, soups and baked goods.
The coffee arrives every Friday.
“I'm a coffeeholic, same as the guy at Golf Tailor,” Hornbeek said.