Alice Harn was the wife of William Fremont Harn, one of the most important real estate developers in early Oklahoma City, but she was a civic leader in her own right. She was a leading figure in the city’s early art scene as well as active in beautification efforts in the city. Alice Harn’s artistic influence can be seen in the development of the Harndale Addition west of Shartel between NW 13 and NW 16. There are landscaped streets on NW 14 and NW 15 and an unusual reverse Z-shaped street through the neighborhood. But the centerpiece is Alice Harn Park whose dogbone shape is unique among the city’s parks.
The Harns donated the parkland to the city in 1910 on the condition that a memorial to Alice would be included at some time in the future. The round shape at each end of the park provides a natural brake for traffic driving through the neighborhood which adds to the peacefulness of the park. The original plan from 1911 called for the eastern end to have an open-air pagoda-like structure built over a sunken garden and the western end to be open play space. These features were never fully realized, but even so, in 1919 Alice Harn Park was considered one of the city’s “postal parks” because it looked beautiful on postcards of the city.
Alice Harn died in 1931 and in 1936 the city fulfilled its promise to the Harns by employing the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to landscape the park and construct the distinctive red stone features seen on the eastern end of the dogbone. A monument was built with a plaque honoring Alice overlooking three stone circles. The center circle was a fishpond and the other two were for a terraced sunken garden surrounding the pond. Even though these features were never fully achieved, Alice Harn Park still fulfills its original design as an elegant, peaceful island in the city.