Hardeman Auditorium Opens


From the very beginning of Central Christian College, having a gathering place for all the students was very important.

As the school began on the Bartlesville campus, a white frame classroom building was constructed that had about six classrooms and a large assembly area that would seat about 150 people. This was the site for daily Chapel, lectureships, plays and musical programs. The stage consisted of a raised platform of about eight inches, making the headroom above the stage about seven feet, four inches.

Sometimes, Harold Fletcher and Stafford North, who led in directing plays and musicals in those days, would have a program on a beautiful outside terrace with chairs on the lawn. Occasionally, they would rent a local high school auditorium for theatrical events.

When the college moved to Oklahoma City, the auditorium was situated in Cogswell-Alexander Hall. An audience of 230 people could sit in this room. Many plays and musicals were performed there; it also was the location for daily chapel. Soon after the college moved to Oklahoma City, student enrollment was more than could be accommodated in this auditorium, so there were two chapels a day, then three, and then four.

When Hardeman Auditorium opened, it allowed all the students to be together again in one chapel - certainly a great benefit over having to provide four chapel services a day. Hardeman also allowed for more highly-developed dramatic and musical productions with its full stage facilities, including a fly-loft, lighting and sound capacity.

Hardeman Auditorium was named for N.B. Hardeman, a great preacher among churches of Christ in the early part of the 20th century and a longtime president of Freed-Hardeman College.