Watch Now: ‘Too many elders and veterans are living in substandard housing’: Cherokee Nation launches effort to repair or replace homes


Selbert Taylor walks through his new home in Pryor on Thursday. The Cherokee Nation Housing Authority built the house to replace the one Taylor had lived in for more than eight decades. Selbert Taylor greets Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Bryan Warner at his home in Pryor on Thursday. The home, built by the tribe, came at no cost to Taylor. PRYOR — When his family moved into the old house in the 1930s, the original kitchen had a cabinet mounted on hidden wheels that let it slide out from the wall to reveal a secret storage compartment big enough to hold a few cases of beer.

“The previous owner was probably a bootlegger,” says Selbert Taylor, a 90-year-old veteran of the Korean War. The house would’ve been an ideal location for smuggling booze into town during Prohibition, when the house sat on the edge of Pryor with only a handful of other homes nearby, surrounded mostly by open pastures.

Taylor would have been about 5 years old when his father bought the property for $295, paying it out at $10 a month.

“A lot of money back then,” Taylor says.

He has now lived on the property for more than eight decades, watching as a middle-class neighborhood grew up around the simple clapboard house with Whitaker Park across the street, where cows used to roam. He added a den at some point and kept up with routine repairs. But as Taylor aged, so did the roof.

“There used to be a waterfall in the […]

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