Norman couple put light on Oklahoma history

The couple donated an original floor lamp that was one of about 10 placed in the Senate chamber when it opened in 1918. The nearly 100-year-old lamp spent the past 40 years in a barn.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: July 3, 2013
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Coy Green is glad he didn't get around to refurbishing the nearly 9-foot-tall floor lamp he bought about 40 years ago at an Oklahoma City swap meet.

Oklahoma historical and Senate officials are thankful: The nearly 100-year-old lamp was one of eight to 10 lamps that were placed in the Senate chamber when it opened for use in 1918, one year after the state Capitol was completed.

Green, of Norman, and his wife, Deborah, delivered the lamp Tuesday to the Capitol.

“It needs to be home,” he said. “It should be a magnificent piece when they get it put together.”

The lamp, made of brass and copper, is the only known one of its kind to exist. Preservationists, after hearing of Green's find, are optimistic that others may still be around.

Paul Meyer, a member of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission who served as the state architect from 1982-2007, said the lamps were used in the Senate chamber through at least the 1950s. He said they likely were discarded in the 1960s when individual offices for senators were built; up until then constituents waited their turn to meet with senators at their desks on the floor of the Senate chamber.

Meyer said he searched fruitlessly for the lamps in the 1990s when the Senate chamber was renovated.

“They were already gone,” he said.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said he was delighted the Greens recognized the lamp and decided to donate it to the Senate.

“It's all there so we can duplicate it,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa.

It will be much easier and less expensive to make a mold from the lamp than trying to make a mold based on black-and-white photographs, he said.

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