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Pilot Center

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In 1940, women from the new Oklahoma City chapter of Pilot International, a businesswomen’s service club, committed to providing a first-rate community center for children in the area just south of downtown. Working in cooperation with the city parks department, a site was chosen adjacent to Washington School at SW 2 and Walker, but it took nine years to raise the funds to builds and furnish the new Pilot Center.

When it opened in 1949, the Pilot Center was more country club than rec center. The sleek, modern design of the building was matched with stylish seating, paneled walls, a stone fireplace, and a fully functioning kitchen for cooking classes. The Pilot Club also partnered with the public library to provide a book center.

In the early 1960s, Washington School closed, and the school building and the Pilot Center were demolished to make way for the new I-40 expressway. So, in 1963 the Pilot Club and the parks department built a new Pilot Center on this site with all the same facilities as the old one. Eventually, the parks department took over all responsibility for the center when Pilot International closed its local chapter.