Shields Boulevard recently became more vital to commuters accessing downtown Oklahoma City. With the rerouting of Interstate 40, Shields Boulevard, which spans from Reno Avenue to Moore, provides one of the few downtown entrance and exit ramps on and off the highway.
Shields Boulevard was named for John W. Shields, a pioneer who came to Oklahoma City in 1889 as a boy with his family and followed in his father's footsteps as a real estate dealer and developer.
He developed the Shields Heights Addition, the Shields South Oklahoma City Addition and the South Park Addition in the Capitol Hill area.
He also was involved in city affairs and promoted the extension of the streetcar lines into south Oklahoma City and Robinson Avenue south to serve the southside residents.
In “Oklahoma City: Statehood to 1930,” author Terry L. Griffith listed John Shields as one of the prominent Oklahoma Citians to serve as a pallbearer for Henry Overholser.
One of Shields' other ventures besides real estate was automobile sales.
In 1923, Shields was arrested in connection with car thefts. Apparently, several automobiles he sold allegedly were stolen by one of his partners. While Shields maintained his innocence, he was convicted and sent to the state penitentiary in 1925. He served nearly four years, working in the prison broom factory.
When he was released, he resumed his real estate business until his death.
His obituary in The Oklahoman on July 6, 1944, described him as a “retired real estate dealer who promoted the Shields addition ...”
Shields Boulevard serves as a continuing monument to John W. Shields.