As a young man starting out in life, Gilbert Apple Nichols became a dentist in order to provide for his family. He built a large and successful practice in Oklahoma City beginning in 1904 but his success didn’t bring him happiness. His dream was building his hometown into a major city, so as a hobby he built a house and sold it. The house was built with such great quality that people started asking him to build their homes. He loved building homes so much, by 1907 he decided to leave dentistry behind. Still, people called him “Doc” Nichols for the rest of his life. Some businessmen didn’t think he could stay in business building such costly high-quality homes, but Doc Nichols held onto his dream, “Some of them thought I was crazy. But I pulled through with Oklahoma City.”
For the next 30 years Doc Nichols built Oklahoma City. Estimates are that he built over 4000 houses in the city. His homes still stand in some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods beginning with Heritage Hills and including The Paseo, Crown Heights, Nicoma Park, and of course Nichols Hills. He also built this neighborhood, Lincoln Terrace, in 1928. This park’s triangular shape is created by the characteristic gentle curves of streets found in Nichols neighborhoods and the park was intended to be a gathering place for the neighborhood, a purpose it still serves today.
Around the time this park was created a reporter asked Nichols to share his rules of success. G. A. “Doc” Nichols replied that there was only one - “Work in the line you like.”