WPA Armory

category : Historic Buildings
Okemah's WPA Armory was built in the 1930's during the depression as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's program designed to provide jobs for people. Hundreds of men were able to make a livable wage by working on this project. The armory was originally built as a home for the National Guard. Before its construction they had been meeting in the lower floor of what is now R&R Body Shop in downtown Okemah. During World War II both the WPA Armory and the WPA Pecan Bowl housed German prisoners sent here to work in our fields. The Arkansas National Guard was mobilized to Okemah to guard the prisoners because our local National Guard troops were in Europe fighting the war. The prisoners did their own cooking and provided their own recreation, which included frequent soccer games.

A new National Guard Armory was built and dedicated 1986. No longer needed by the National Guard, the Armory became the site of many an Okemah High School basketball game. Currently the Armory is owned and maintained by the City of Okemah and houses city equipment and the city dog pound.

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