Historic Altus buildings being restored

Altus restoration

ALTUS, OK (TNN) - Altus business owners are working to renovate three historic buildings that are decades old.

Those three buildings are The Towers Apartments, Ragsdale Bakery, which is right next door, and the original City National Bank, which will soon be a book store and bakery.

Along Main Street in Altus sits the Towers Apartments, previously known as The New Orient Hotel, which longtime resident Debra Borders says was a hot spot for visitors from all of the surrounding towns.

"They had different shops in the lower floor. They had several different shops. There was an Altus floral and they also did bridal registries there. They also had a children’s store there. I remember coming in under that portico and you would come in and go to the right and see the children’s clothing,” Borders said.

Right next door was Ragsdale Bakery, another staple of the community.

"Every Saturday it was the thing, getting to go to town on a Saturday and think how it would be for a kid to go in and get your favorite doughnut or favorite cookie,” Borders said.

Both of those buildings, along with the original City National Bank on the other side of downtown, are undergoing renovations to restore the fronts of the building to how they originally were. And how, exactly, are they doing that?

"Pictures, the old plans, there’s still an old set of plans around here. And then of course the people that live here,” said Project Manager Ronnie Riley.

"We actually have an old picture from the 20s that we’ve been basing it off of to get it as close as possible,” said Jake Babcock, who is remodeling City National Bank’s old building.

That hasn’t been the easiest job.

"The way they build buildings back then is a lot different than now and trying to keep with all of the original architectural things like that and still making it more efficient and bringing it up to today’s codes, there’s always struggles,” Babcock said.

"We use drills that have batteries, they used a block and tackle and old tools to get the job done. It’s an experience but I enjoy it,” Riley said.

But despite the difficulty of a restoration, Borders said it’s worth it.

"People love to come back where you grew up and you want your children to know about your experiences. I want my grandchildren to know about what was going on here in Altus. We need to teach our children these stories,” Borders said.

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