Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Todd Downing House in Atoka, Oklahoma

Below is featured the Atoka, Oklahoma family home of the Native American Golden Age detective novelist Todd Downing.  Downing returned to live here in his middle age and died here in 1974.  The foursqaure house is beautifully landscaped and well-preserved.

showing the entry drive
closeup view
burnished by the winter sun
side of house, showing dormer, bay window and back porch
view from front of house, showing highway 69 in the distance

In a letter dated December 28, 1931 that was written by Todd Downing's maternal grandmother, Awilda Shields Miller, to his sister, Ruth, a homey domestic scene was painted of life in the Downing house in the early 1930s, when Todd, a teaching assistant at the University of Oklahoma, was on the cusp of mystery authordom:

"Wish you could see us here in [the] sitting room.  Dad at [the] Library table.  Todd stretched out on the couch writing on a book propped against his knees.  Mamma and I on each side of the card table...are writing to the one we all love best wishing you a most successful and happy New Year....Our Christmas has been very quiet, but very pleasant...If Todd's cold is better he wants to go back to Norman [Oklahoma, site of the University of Oklahoma] tomorrow. [I] hope Todd will soon have word that his book [Murder on Tour] is accepted...."
(photos by The Passing Tramp; letter quotation courtesy of Confederate Memorial Museum Cemetery and Information Center, Atoka, Oklahoma)

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