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Nichols Hills gets lots for Christmas

Kelly McNitt and partners Jim Loftis and Jack Golsen are developing 5 acres from the estate of Marjorie Sue Green Bleakley
BY DYRINDA TYSON Modified: December 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm •  Published: December 15, 2012

Half of the lots have been reserved, including all those that back up to the green belt, Loftis said.

Loftis said the homeowners association will ensure that builders meet high standards. The developers of Glenbrook Park are not builders.

Standards in Nichols Hills have been high from the start. Developer G.A. Nichols lent his talents to many Oklahoma City neighborhoods, but the town he lent his name to in 1929 was a carefully planned community.

The former dentist built his reputation on quality, and he demanded the same from anyone building in Nichols Hills. Permanent building restrictions were put into place to protect “against encroachment of undesirable surroundings,” according to a history written by Mrs. George R. Bixler in 1957 featured on the Nichols Hills city website.

Bixler noted that the city's wide, curving streets were no accident. “The streets were not to be thoroughfares,” she wrote. “They were, rather, to invite leisurely travel. It was the founder's idea that no one should want to travel at an excessive speed through the hills.”

Nichols and his family lived on a 17-acre estate there until ill health sent him to a Michigan sanitarium, where he died in 1950.

Bleakley dropped into the Kanela & Co. offices every once in a while, Huff said. “She used to come to our office Christmas parties with her little red Santa hat on and enjoy. She was a very nice lady, but very smart and very stubborn.”

Bleakley was 87 years old when she died Feb. 10, 2009. Her obituary may have revealed more than a lot of day-to-day associates knew: She served with the Navy WAVES during World War II, her adult life revolved around art and was lived around the world, wherever the Air Force assigned her husband, Ernest Eugene Bleakley. They returned to Oklahoma City after he retired in 1966, where he died in 1994.

One line in her obituary, however, may have summed it all up: “She was noted for her independent nature.”

For McNitt, transforming Bleakley's land into what is most likely the last large-scale development in Nichols Hills can be hard to take in. “I just kind of have to pinch myself every day because I've watched the property for over 20 years,” he said.