Main Street in Hennessey, Oklahoma, is everything you'd expect of a small-town, Western main street. Seventy miles north of Oklahoma City, just beyond open prairies where cattle graze to the rhythm of nodding pumpjacks, red-dust-streaked pickups roar past Terry's Pump & Supply and the local farm bureau, and weathered grain elevators and a water tower rise nearby. There's Fun-Time Video & Tanning, Town Hall, the local newspaper office. And then, bookended by the Head Over Heels dance school and Bullfoot Station Antiques, set perfectly into the streetscape, is Elliott + Associates' gleaming new field office for Kirkpatrick Oil Company. At once camouflaged by its modest scale and highlighted by its glaring whiteness and pristine lines, it causes a double take.
An oil field, cattle, and farming town of 2,100, Hennessey was founded in 1890, a year after the Oklahoma Land Run. The Kirkpatrick family has been drilling here for generations and, until recently, housed its field office in a squat, deteriorating building south of town on Interstate 81. On October 1, 2007, as Hennessey worked to improve its downtown, fire tore through its center, destroying the Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall, the American Legion building, and Dinkler Drug Store. It dealt a blow. “There were just holes—it was depressing,” remembers Barb Walter, co-publisher and managing editor of the Hennessey Clipper.