Origin of the Building
The Owasso Historical Museum is housed in a brick structure on Main Street known as the Komma Building. It was built by John Komma in 1928 to house the Mapes and Komma Grocery and Market, a business owned by W.T. Mapes and Rose Komma. In 1934, after the death of Mr. Mapes, the name was changed to Komma’s Grocery. The grocery store was located in the north half of the building, while the south half housed, at various times, a bakery, cafes, and a dry goods store.
When Rose Komma retired after 39 years in business, she sold the building to a New York firm who later sold it to Pandora Ellis Parsons, granddaughter of Dr. Jacob B. Ellis, a medical doctor who practiced in Owasso in the early 1900s. From that time until the Owasso Historical Society purchased the building from Mrs. Parsons on August 31, 1987, it was utilized by several businesses, including a flower shop, an insurance office, and a pump supply store.
After the Historical Society purchased the building, volunteer labor refurbished it to be used as a museum, which was officially opened on November 3, 1991. Prior to opening the museum, the Owasso Historical Society (organized on April 26, 1979) had stored historical items in the Owasso Library. A limited amount of space had also been provided by the library to display some of the artifacts.
The vacant lot to the south of the museum building was purchased from the City of Owasso in 1996, and in 2001 a 1200 square foot addition was completed on the west side (back) of the building. The addition contains a large display / meeting room and a work room.
As it became more difficult for the Owasso Historical Society to maintain the museum, talks were initiated with the City of Owasso for the city to assume ownership, operation and development of the museum. A deed conveyed ownership to the City of Owasso on April 1, 2003, and the city, in turn, forgave the remainder of the debt owed by the Historical Society for the land purchased in 1996.
Consequently, the museum is now owned, maintained and operated by the City of Owasso. A member of the city staff offices at the museum and is recognized as the Museum Director. The Museum Director is the only paid staff. Volunteers are on hand during the hours the museum is open. The Owasso Historical Society is still heavily involved with the museum, and members serve as volunteers and assist with displays.
Some of the unique items include a working player piano and many piano rolls; a working Edison Fireside Model A Phonograph manufactured only from 1909-1911, a phonograph horn and approximately two dozen cylinder records; a 1920s chicken incubator; a wooden ice box; and artifacts from some of the early Owasso businesses.