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It all started

      With a Homestead…

The Barrows Homestead

A stone’s throw from the Oklahoma State Capitol stands a home that countless people have driven by and wondered about its history. Shuttered long ago, the house and the homestead it was a part of stands in testimony to a different time. 

In the spring of 1889, the combination of bright economic prospects, an opportunity to start anew, and convenient railroad transportation brought thousands of people to present-day central Oklahoma. John R. Barrows, his wife Alice, his son Elva, and daughter Edith were among the families who arrived in Oklahoma City that sprint. Originally from eastern Nebraska, John claimed a lot at the corner of Broadway and Grand Avenues during the Land Run and built a small, two-room house for his family. By June of 1891, John had acquired a 160-acre homestead in northeast Oklahoma City. The Barrows Homestead was subdivided upon his death. 

The McClean House

Born in Ireland in 1847, John McClean arrived in the United States in the late 1860s and moved to Oklahoma in 1886. A brick mason by trade, John and his wife Nellie acquired the northwest corner of NE 26th and North Walnut Avenue and constructed the present day home in 1911, three years before the groundbreaking on construction of the Oklahoma State Capitol building. Members of the family occupied the home for over 80 years. 

The McClean Family Residence is a unique adaption of the Prairie School style commonly associated with Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School of American architecture within what was originally the rural outskirts of Oklahoma City.

Members of the McClean family, including John, his wife Nellie, and daughters Ila and Frances, occupied the home for almost eighty years. 

The house features certain details that might reflect John McClean’s trade as a brick mason. Most notably, it has a one-story, wrap-around porch that extends along the full width of the south-facing façade and half the length of the east side elevation. The porch roof is flat rather than hipped and is supported by brick columns. Brick piers, each with a cast stone cap, are visible above the porch roofline. The first and second stories are clad in blond brick with corner quoins, while the portion of the basement that is above grade is clad in common red brick.

Upon acquisition of the site and the home, Positively Paseo and Jefferson Park Neighbors secured the services of Oklahoma’s foremost historic preservation architect, Catherine Montgomery to begin the process of National Park Service recognition. Under Catherine’s guidance and the hard work and expertise of Dr. Matthew Pearce, the McClean House was nominated to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site was placed on the Register in the spring of 2021.

Plans are underway for a complete restoration.  

*Historic information heavily borrowed from the McClean Family Residence nomination for the National Register linked here. 

The Village on Walnut Development Team

To say the Village on Walnut has come about as a team effort is an understatement! It started with two non-profit community housing development organizations forming a partnership to acquire the property. The City of Oklahoma City then agreed to commit funds to make infrastructure like streets and water & sewer utilities possible. The City’s Planning Department has also committed federal funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that most homes in the development remain affordable to homebuyers who qualify. 

The developers viewed the site as perfect for a “pocket neighborhood” concept and got to work finding the right architect for the job. Twelve of Oklahoma City’s top architectural firms entered into a “design challenge” to compete for the opportunity to design the site and 22 homes. In the end, the team chose Ken Fitzsimmons of TASK Design to join the team. 

It's all about neighborhood.

Pam Bigham, Executive Director Jefferson Park neighbors association

Jefferson Park has worked with the City of Oklahoma as a Community Housing Development Organization since 2000.  The CHDO originally concentrated all efforts rehabilitating historic Jefferson Park’s aged housing stock.  After rehabbing or building over 25 bungalows, Jefferson Park became a sought after neighborhood attracting young families and residents wanting to live in the revitalized Uptown area.  Jefferson Park believes that affordable housing helps create good neighborhoods, and is committed to building quality housing at affordable prices,
After successful results in Jefferson Park, The CHDO then turned its efforts to other neighborhoods in need of revitalization including Epworth View, located in the Oklahoma City University neighborhood and Culbertson East Highland neighborhood, located on the Northeast side of OKC.   
Jefferson Park Neighbors has the unique status of being a CHDO and an active neighborhood association.  Income derived from the CHDO activities are used to beautify and support the Jefferson Park neighborhood.    Historic street lighting, amenities in two public parks located within Jefferson Park’s borders, Median maintenance and social activities are all benefits of the CHDO activities. 

The Oklahoma City Housing Services Redevelopment Corporation, aka Positively Paseo had its genesis in the Paseo neighborhood. By the 1980s, this area of Oklahoma City just north of downtown, was considered a blighted neighborhood with a run-down commercial district. But key people in the neighborhood saw the potential. They loved their Craftsman bungalow homes and knew that an arts community could grow and thrive. Positively Paseo was formed to get to work rehabilitating homes and building new, historically appropriate homes in empty lots.

Today, the Paseo neighborhood is designated a historic preservation district, and the art galleries and restaurants are thriving. The organization has moved on to revitalize several Oklahoma City neighborhoods, but proudly keep Paseo in its name. 

Over the past few years, Positively Paseo has partnered with the City of Oklahoma City’s Strong Neighborhoods Initiative to work in neighborhoods targeted for reinvestment and redevelopment. 

Over the past 7 years, Positively Paseo has partnered with the City in Classen’s North Highland Parked, Capitol View and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. While the city works with neighborhood residents to make infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks, lighting, parks and even afterschool programs, Positively Paseo gets to work building and rehabilitating homes. Getting more home ownership in a neighborhood makes a tremendous difference, and the combination of city, non-profit, and private efforts creates the energy to tip a neighborhood in the right direction. Neighborhoods start to improve, crime goes down, and home values all start to rise. A real win-win for everyone!


Partnerships make all the difference.

Sheryl Lovelady, Executive Director Positively Paseo


All homes designed by Ken Fitzsimmons, AIA


1300 NW 17th Street, OKC, OK 73106

[email protected]


Landscape Architecture by Connie Scothorn and Brian Patric 

825 N. Broadway, Suite 315, OKC, OK 73102


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