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March 3, 2022 Vol 26  Issue 1,310

March 3, 2022 Vol 26  Issue 1,310

A Glimpse Into The Past

Ardmore Medical Services 1957

Ardmore is fast becoming a medical center with its facility schedule as far as size is concerned about a beautiful 1.5 Million Dollar hospital named in memory of the Pioneers who lived in a world of kitchen table operations performed under the light of a kerosene lamp.

The first regular hospital came to Ardmore in 1901 when doctors Walter Hardy, Frederick T Von Killer and Robert H. Henry equiped the second floor of the Ramsey Drug store at Main and Caddo with 10 hospital beds, and x-ray machine and a small laboratory. Today a physician can spend all his working hours in the hospital, but such was not the case then. There are still lots of house calls that had to be made regardless of the weather or the hour or the feelings of the practitioner. The Ardmore sanitarium, as the above hospital was called, functioned until 1911.

The relatively adequate facilities of tje Hardy sanitarium, which had been started in 1911, were especially valuable during the big explosion of 1915 disaster at Ardmore. Every doctor, every nurse and every volunteer was pressed into service.

Dr. Walter Hardy and World War pilot officer Arthur Oakley and Dorsey Askew did a very unusual thing back in 1916 establishing an air ambulance service. This was credited with saving of many lives, it gave the doctor more time to practice medicine and less trying, frustrating hours on the surface roads wondering if you could make it in time.

He would sometimes make as many as six trips a day to as many towns or oil field areas in the air ambulance.

The Versatile Dr. Hardy also pioneered in radio, having receiving sets installed at the hospital as early as 1922. He later established Ardmore’s first radio broadcasting station, WOOA, which he installed atop The sanitarium and placed at the service of the community.

He was the first doctor with a medical diploma to practice at Ardmore and was equally at home on a horse as he was in the air. For years he was a familiar part of the Ardmore birthdaay parade, riding a fine horse or driving his buggy. One of Dr. Hardy’s partners was Dr. Jerome C McNeese and another early day associate was Doctor H. A. Higgins.

The hospital was operated for many years by Dr Von Keller. Still in use, it is now called the Ardmore Sanitarium and Hospital.
-from History of Carter County book 1957

Yesterday I met with Cleta Hipley and Johnny Jackson at the McAlister Cemetery south of Ardmore by Overbrook. The purpose of the meeting was to set the granite marker I made for an Unknown Baby who is buried in the cemetery but had no grave marker. Johnny had made a wood form to hold the concrete, got it made and poured, and set the marker down in the still wet concrete about 1/2 inch. Turned out nice. Cleta and I just stood there and supervised. lol.  Thanks Johnny for getting it done. Now the baby will never be forgotten.


But here is what’s interesting I learned that day when talking to Johnny. It seems over 100 years ago when workers were making the road that runs in front of the McAlister cemetery, they dug into an unmarked grave. One of the workers took the bones home, and sometime later the skeleton ended up in a museum in New York City, where they remained until 2005. In 2005 Johnny was contacted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. requesting a grave spot in the cemetery “as close to the road as possible.” It comes to find out the Indian’s remains were learned about by the BIA and by law they had to be returned to the tribe. Shortly thereafter a team showed up at the cemetery and the monument was set.

This is a picture I took of the memorial monument. Now to figure out how to list it in Find-A-Grave since no name is known.


Below is a map showing the grave marker on the far west side of the cemetery.


Progress is being made on the new website. The link below is a temporary link but you can get an idea how it will look. Still have to have each individual newsletter converted to WordPress.


I want to thank the 59 people below who helped make my GoFundME campaign a success.

Larry Johnson, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Larry Gandy, Laura Atchley, Bevin Parker-Evans, Edmond Pope, Jennifer Harvey, Emil H Levine, Cheri Clark, Roger Hughes, Pete Ihde, Shirley Barrick, L Vada Aitken, Anonymous, Carrol Evans, William Ford, Eva Taylor, Jerry Summy, Anonymous, Debra Griffin, David Willingham, Charles Walker, Monroe Cameron, Matthew Hoage, Anonymous, Edwina Wooten, Linda Lathum, Lydia Dulaney, Anonymous, Carol Hunter, Anonymous, David Bridges, Anonymous, Lee A Bullard, Robin Gray, Kristi Johnson Wedge, Ann Whitchurch, Stephanie Jordan, Elizabeth Aldridge, Marthanna Donald, Darla Herndon, Carole Geurin, Candace Gregory, Robin Ezell, Brandy Black, Patricia Downing, Bob Hargis, Amanda Lawson, Sarah Stephenson, Christopher Cox, Lenora Cunningtubby, Les Gilliam, Beth Tucker, Earlene Chandler, Richard Cravens, Max Brown, Bob Gates and the McAlister Cemetery Association.

The link below will give an up-to-date accounting of the donations received and spent so far. Just scroll to the bottom of the webpage.


Still finding people in Oklahoma with unclaimed money. We’re now over the $1,834,000 dollars. Sometimes progress is slow locating people or their kin with unclaimed insurance money at the State Treasurers office in OKC but we keep trying.

How long has it been since you checked your name or a family member’s name? Its easy to do a search at the Oklahoma State Treasurer link below. I think every state in the union has a unclaimed property website through the respective state treasures website.

If you have Facebook, I created a new Page called Southern Oklahoma Unclaimed Insurance Money. The only Post that will go on that page are names and towns of people we are looking for with unclaimed money;


Q.  Where is Oklahoma’s version of the Bermuda Triangle located?
A.   Beaver Dunes Park at Beaver, Oklahoma

Q.  What famous Oklahoma pilot originated the space suit?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

This is a picture of cotton picking near Ardmore. -Robert Hensley
Just wondering if anyone might be a bibliography listing of local area books? Hard to find good books from that area. -Ed Pope
Does anyone know anyone who is knowledgeable about commercial ice makers in about 1900 to 1910? I am researching the old ice plant in Tish but I can’t figure out how they “made” ice blocks for local delivery using the condensation method. -Richard

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of March 4, 2010

Last week we talked about the first location of Ardmore High school, it has always been a little confusing to me, since I’ve seen postcards with the location written on the back.  But this week we received an email which will hopefully clear up some of the confusion:

“We have been doing research on this for several weeks, going through Criterions, history books, newspaper excerpts and city directories at the Ardmore Library.

First, the high school student body marched to the new building on North Washington in the spring of 1913, not 1915. The source for this is the 1913 Criterion, complete with photos.

Second, the original high school was NOT at Stanley & G St, but Stanley and F Street. Your own 1907 map verifies this, as do entries in several old Ardmore City Directories at the Library. The actual street address was 615 Stanley Boulevard.

Third, the high school was not in “temporary” quarters on the second floor of the 3rd Ward School. It was their permanent home. And the 3rd Ward school was three stories high, not two, so the high school was on the third floor. If you read the 1913 Criterion, you will also discover that the 3rd Ward School had become so crowded that the Senior Class actually attended classes in the school year 1912-1913 in the Carnegie Library building across the street. The students called it the Carnegie Barn.

There are two written sources that verify the original high school and 3rd Ward school were the same building. One is Ms. Zaneis’ book on Carter County Schools in 1923. The other is Paul Frame’s History of Ardmore, Oklahoma from the Earliest Beginnings to 1907. Here are the excerpts from Frame’s book which explain:

“Four small frame buildings were built in each of the wards for school houses. The high school was on the upper floor of the third ward school building. On September 11, 1899 all children of school age went to the school house of their respective ward and took an examination to determine the grade to which each should be assigned. There were some 700 white pupils and 200 Negro children in attendance during the first year of the Ardmore Public School System………….

……..In 1903 new brick buildings were built in the first and third wards and in 1906, $60,000.00 was spent to improve the public school system, new buildings being constructed in the second and fourth wards……….”

One more interesting note………In Ms. Zaneis’ book, it states the first public school building in Ardmore was the first ward school, which was housed in the old Kings College frame building at the northwest corner of Washington and Broadway (today, the old Elks Lodge building stands there). Mr. King had moved his College from Ardmore to Durant in 1894. The Kings College building was only two rooms (according to Frame’s book) and was quickly outgrown. According to Zaneis, the frame building, along with a frame Saddlery shop from Caddo Street were then moved to the site on E St NW, where Franklin now sits. Those frame buildings existed until 1903, when identical three-story brick buildings were constructed in 1st and 3rd Wards.

The next mystery is this: 1st & 3rd Ward brick buildings were identical, and the 2nd and 4th Ward schools built in 1906 were also identical to each other. In early photos of Franklin and Lincoln (also the high school), both buildings have pitched roofs with at least three chimneys. By 1923, in the Zaneis book, the pitched roofs of both schools have been removed, along with the chimneys, and a brick facade has been added to the now flat roofs of both schools. Also, both schools have added extra classrooms to the rear of their buildings. According to the Zaneis’ book, the additions were needed because of overcrowding but she does not date the construction work. So sometime between 1913 and 1923, 1st & 3rd Ward schools had identical renovations and additions done. But why would they remove the pitched roofs and chimneys?

We’ve also been able to determine that the Gym, Superintendent’s Office and Band Room at the high school on Washington was constructed in 1942. We’re waiting on a 1942 Criterion to verify this.

Also trying to pin down the location of the football/baseball stadium for Ardmore prior to Walker Stadium being built in 1936. Pete Pierce claims the park was on South Washington between 4th and 5th, but I have found no indication of that in old City Directories. The old City Directories show the “Baseball Park” to be located at 800 C St SW (present day corner of Moore & C St SW). There is a Criterion from 1926 and an Ardmoreite newspaper excerpt from 1924 that calls this “Boomer Park”. From 1924 through 1926, the Ardmore professional baseball team was named the “Boomers”. Paul Frame’s book says it was located “at the end of B St SW”, which I assume is the same location. Frame says it was known as “Chickasaw Park” and burned down around 1925. That might be correct, since the Ardmore Boomers baseball team moved to Joplin, MO during the summer of 1926. Perhaps they moved because the baseball park burned down that summer.”  -Bruce Hamm 1951-2011
Last Fall Tim Longest painted a mural on the north wall of the old Berryhill Tin Shop on Mill Street SE in Ardmore.  The mural was on the wall back in the 1940s according to a Berryhill family member.  The billboard reads, Gooch’s Best Spaghetti.  I’m not familiar with the product but assume it was sold in the local grocery stores back in those days.  Tim is a long time promoter of downtown Ardmore and believes we must preserve its history for future generations.

For over 2 months I’ve been working on converting an old Murray bike to gasoline.  Since we’ve had so much cold, and snow and rain, I haven’t worked on it much (have to work on it outside) until last weekend.  Finally got it pretty much together and ready to see how she runs.  I am still looking for a brake caliper and a cable assemble for the 3-Speed axle.  Maybe in a few more days I’ll put some gas in the tank and give it a whirl.


“This bell is located beside the Christian Church at 322 North Main Street. In 1912, the site was designated for the church by its timber giant owner Dierks Brothers Lumber Company headquartered in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The church was established in 1924 and on May 16, 1927 the bell was added. Each Sunday morning it rang faithfully to remind the town of church services.”  -Louise Turley, Broken Bow, Oklahoma (Hochatown)
https://secureservercdn.net/“I’m inclined to think that it’s from the American Bell Foundry Co.,  Northville, MI. If that’s the case, then the identification ought to be on the yoke. From what I can see, the yoke, wheel, side frames and clapper all appear to be original. Somebody did a nice job of building a support for it.”   -Carl Zimmerman

Below is a link to the Oklahoma Indian-Pioneer Papers Collection —- part of the OU Western History Collection.  These primary source materials are great for teaching Oklahoma History, Local Histories, Geography, Trail of Tears, etc.  I’ve even found some good first hand narratives on the Civil War.  Great also for researching Indian Family Histories.  The database is searchable by names, places, counties, topics, etc.  I’ve spent a lot of time in this database….there are many wonderful first-hand narratives of people that lived the history.  Lots you could do with it in a classroom.
“Butch, I thought that you should include this link in your Best Hamburger Page on your website. Enjoy! “
“I was wondering if anyone remembers a crowd gathering in Ardmores Central Park on Saturday evenings during the summer months back in the thirties and forties? Anyone that wanted to could sign up to sing, play an instrument, etc I was eleven years old and my Dad would sign me up to do acrobatics. I can still remember how hard that cement stage was as I flipped and flopped through my act There was such a wonderful, peaceful feeling among the crowd as everyone seemed to enjoy the performers and clapped to show their appreciation. I believe most people back then took life easier, had less stress and enjoyed more of the simple things to bring them happiness.”


“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
-William Wordsworth

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

Ardmore, Oklahoma

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”