City Council votes to honor Allen family

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

James Allen acknowledged being flattered, but he asked the Pawhuska City Council last week not to rename 5th Street in honor of his family’s business.

Allen Brothers Feed & Supply is located along 5th Street, and the store has been a part of the Pawhuska business community for more than a century. Considering whether to put the name “Allen Brothers” on the street sign was an element of the City Council’s April 13 agenda.

“I would ask that you not do this,” Allen said, suggesting that if the Council wanted to honor his family, it could very adequately do so by working hard to make Pawhuska a better community all around.

Pawhuska resident Bill Sweeden, who was present at the meeting, had been the source of the suggestion to rename 5th Street.

“I did not expect the family to object,” Sweeden said, commenting he thought it was a good idea.

“I think it’s a good idea, too,” Councilman John Brazee said. “Would you be mad if it got named after you anyway? I’ll still buy stuff from you.”

Brazee’s comment about still being an Allen Brothers customer stirred amusement in the room. Council meetings are currently held at the Community Center on Lynn Avenue. They were moved there from City Hall as a result of concerns about COVID-19.

Allen reiterated his desire to avoid having the street renamed, and to see Pawhuskans simply work harder at improving their community.

Brazee made a motion to rename the street for Allen Brothers, and new Councilor Amber Nash seconded his motion.

“Sorry, buddy,” Brazee remarked to Allen.

At-Large Councilor Steve Tolson questioned whether other persons with property on 5th Street had been afforded an opportunity to comment about the proposed change. Tolson clarified he wasn’t saying that renaming the street was a bad idea.

Sweeden’s wife, Connie, voiced frustration with Allen for resisting the honor being offered to his family.

Mayor Roger Taylor then suggested an accommodation that would allow the Council to honor the Allens without creating a potentially expensive name change for other property owners.

Taylor suggested keeping the name 5th Street, but adding signage to the top of the street signs to include the Allen Brothers name.

With that alteration, the motion to honor the Allen family passed the Council.

Brazee told the Journal-Capital afterward that he thought James Allen deserved the recognition. Brazee described Allen as a very generous, civic-minded person.