OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This is what the Ford plant looked like right about the time a young Fred Jones started working there in 1916.
“He could look out on his empire from here,” says his grandson, Fred Jones Hall.
Hall, who worked on greasy engine parts as a teenager here too, likes to sleep here now, just across the hall from the office of the man employees used to call ‘The Skipper’.
“Right in this corner, opposite Main Street,” he points out, “was my grandfather’s office.”
Going on a tour of the old Ford assembly plant doesn’t involve anything close to getting your hands dirty anymore, not since Hall Capital turned it into the 21C Museum Hotel.
These days, every floor has something on exhibit.
“It’s gorgeous,” he says with a smile.
Hall likes to have his board meetings in the Penthouse Suite with its huge, outdoor deck and city views.
Every generation since the original Fred Jones has a story to tell about climbing the iconic water tower.
He recalls, “As a child I would climb up that tower and, unfortunately, my children are now doing the same thing.”
It’s been a century, plus one year, that Fred bought his first Ford dealership.
The Fred Jones name became a giant in the business community of the state.
Hall Capital, Fred and his brothers still invest from the same ‘bucket’ system Fred and his wife Mary Eddy started.
“My grandmother pounded it into my head,” he laughs. “Bucket A takes care of the family. Bucket B can be like automotive manufacturing, things that you’ve known all your life. Bucket C. Play with it. Go make money as an entrepreneur.”
Historian Bob Blackburn and Fred collaborated on a book chronicling the history of where grandad came from, what he built and what’s happened since.
This building, finally purchased by Fred in 1968, was a structure he called his ‘Camelot’.
The family survives like the building, a fortress built on a strong foundation.
The book is titled ‘Here We Go! 100 Years of the Fred Jones/Hall Capital Story’.