Franklin Hancock Reed made his immense fortune from the pools of oil under his properties, but it was the wading pools of cool, clean water that we remember him by today. Reed was born into poverty in Illinois but worked his way through law school as a young man. He left home for Wewoka in Seminole County hoping to make a new life for himself. Reed learned to converse with Seminoles in their language and with his record as an honest attorney he endeared himself to the tribe. He represented individual and tribal interests in hundreds of cases.
Reed struck it rich when oil was discovered on land he owned in Seminole County. Later he left his legal practice and ran an oil company in Tulsa. As he neared retirement, he remembered his impoverished childhood and established a trust to build wading pools for children across the hot Southwest. In all, Reed built 40 wading pools. His generosity earned him the nickname, Summer Santa Claus and he always threw a big party when a new pool was dedicated, offering thousands of free ice cream cones to all who visited the new pool.
Reed built four wading pools in Oklahoma City parks – Winans, Linwood (Wayman’s), Oliver, and this one. Frank Reed never expected cities to name parks after him, but nearly every city did just that. In 1930, the year the wading pool was built, the city council named this park Frank H Reed Park.