This and That Newsletter
Vol 23  Issue 1,153     Circulation 5,000      February 28, 2019
Ardmore, Oklahoma
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Wilkes Dry Cleaning

Tom Lee Wilkes opened his first cleaning plant in Ardmore in 1908, on the eastside of North Washington. He had come to Ardmore at age 9 in 1892 and begin work in the cotton fields, doing yard work, or other odd jobs. From 1906 to 1908 he worked for a local laundry delivering and keeping books for $9 a week, 12 hours a day, and that is how he saved the $50 capital he used to open his cleaning plant.

The first cleaning process was with soap, water and wash tubs, and brushes. The pressing was done with 20 lb sad irons heated on gas hot plates. He shortly begin using gasoline for cleaning, and then obtained his first dry cleaning machine.

Tom's first delivery was by foot, with the clothes hanging on a broomstick over his shoulder. Soon he rigged up a horse-drawn delivery wagon, and in 1916 he introduced the first motorized delivery in Ardmore, with a second hand Model T Ford.

Tom and his wife, Faye (McLemore) Wilkes, operated this longtime business on North Washington until 1966, when Tom died. At that time Tom Wilkes, Jr. took over the establishment, and operated it until 1980, when it was sold. That ended a pioneer store that served Ardmore well over 72 years.
-Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers book 1982

Last week we mentioned the City Shoe Shop on Ardmore's Main Street and a deaf mute boot maker who worked there years ago. Betty Dighton is kin to him way back when, and sent in a photo of Seaborn "Seab" Weldon (1888-1962), the boot maker.

I scanned these negatives of a parade in front of The Ardmore Dry Goods Co. located at 114 East Main St. according to the Ardmore City Directory of 1904-05. J. G. Beard was the Manager of the store. They sold dry goods, shoes and clothing. Culligan Water is currently located in this building. -Robert Hensley

Doug Williams ran across an Ardmore made Jo-o-Kay Leather Manufacturing Company vest in his travels this week.

January 1959
There's a free show west of Healdton, where on any bright day, you can find people watching the activity. Healdton's prairie dog colony may be one of their last refuges, for the prairie squirrel, like the buffalo, today finds sanctuary only in our national parks.

Note: The prairie dog colony was located about 3 miles west of Healdton no West Texas Street to No Man Road, and then north of West Texas Street about 1/2 mile on the west side of No Man Road. The prairie dog colony has been gone from that area since about 1970. The link below is a map I made showing the location where the the colony of prairie dogs resided.

January 1935
Don Pettijohn will preach Sunday night at Gilsonite in Murray county.

I completed my comparison test between Ad Blocker and Ad Block Plus on my home computer. Each test was ran for 1 week, and Ad Block Plus stopped over 11,000 ads while Ad Blocker only stopped 6,000 ads. And Ad Block Plus is free! As I watched from day to day, I was amazed how many ads were block on websites the first minute when I first logged on to them. The top 3 were TV stations, Amazon, and Facebook.

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is the Redneck Capital of the World?
A.  Erick, Oklahoma takes the claim as the redneck capital of the world.

Q.  What Oklahoma State Park was the first listed on the National Registry of Historic Places?
A.  Answer in next week's newsletter

Here is a concrete grave marker I made the other day in memoriam of Aaron Lavers. I had almost forgotten about the sock monkey. I had a sock monkey when I was a wee lad. The concrete marker sure turned out nice.

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of March 1, 2007

Last week a Reader wrote in asking who was the lady who ran the elevator at the Ardmoreite building for so many years. I received a couple of emails filling us in on the details.  Her name was Eunavay Hopson. The following is her obit:

The Daily Ardmoreite, May 20, 1991

Graveside services for Eunavay B. Hopson, 80, will be at 10:30am at Rose Hill Cemetery with Father Ernest A. Flusche officiating. Born to Clarence and Eva Odom Farros Nov. 20, 1910 in Stephens county, Mrs. Hopson died Friday following an extended illness. She married Bill L. Hopson feb 23, 1933 at Clemscott and was an elevator operator at the Gilbert/Ardmoreite building before she retired. She was proceeded in death by her husband, Dec 2, 1989 and a son, Clarence Elmer Strange. She is survived by a daughter, Lyn Hosch, Ardmore, and a grandson. Craddock Funeral Home will direct services.
In December 1999 a Reader wrote in about a train wreck near Wapanuka, Oklahoma when all the Texas Schlitz beer was scattered all over the tracks. Everyone said the accident happened in the Fall of 1961. Back then in 1999 a resident of the Wapanuka, OK area who has been gone for 30 years (now in Oregon) (but today living part time in Tishomingo) had a photo of that infamous train wreck. Here it is, a one and only photo! A glimpse into the past!
"Re: the elevator operator in the Daily Ardmoreite building: She was my first introduction to Ardmore! I don't know how to spell her name, but it was pronounced You-nuh Vay. I came to Ardmore in July 1979 to interview for the news director job at KVSO. I walked into the small lobby of the Daily Ardmoreite building, and over to the elevator, pushed the button, and stepped into a time warp! I hadn't seen an elevator operator since the early 1960s in downtown Tulsa. And, she was just as Mike described, a vision of 1940. She was always nice and talkative (full of good gossip!), and knew how to make that dadgum elevator stop evenly with the floor. They were installing the "new" automatic elevator in 1980, about the time I left for Channel 12. I always wondered what happened to her.

Another quick story about the elevator in the Ardmoreite building. I would get to work about 6 am, which meant no elevator operator, unless Pelly, the building caretaker, was awake. Pelly lived in the basement of the building. If Pelly wasn't up yet, then I would have to operate it myself. Early one morning I ran down to the basement to the get the elevator (better to go down one flight, grab the 'vator, than walk up 5 flights). I saw big red drops on the floor, leading to Pelly's room. I just knew he was badly hurt, or dead! Too scared to check on him myself, I jumped in the elevator and headed up to the station to make Pat Ownbey go down and check on him. Pat was on-air then, but thanks to my hysteria he left the control room and went to check on Pelly. Turned out Pelly had broken a jar of beets. Beet juice, not blood. That's what I saw." -Kathy Conry
My father remembers the time that Harvey Bailey was captured in Ardmore after he escaped from the Ft. Worth, Texas jail. Dad told me of the machine guns were mounted on top of the old Coke bottling plant where I think the new county jail stands today. -Mike

Some mail from this week's MAILBAG.....

Three Ardmore Postcards. Two of them of Ardmore IT Main Street 1899 are very rare. -Robert Hensley

Main street looking West 1899 from the railroad tracks. Rare photo postcard.

Main street looking East 1899 from in front of where the Hotel Ardmore would later be. Rare photo postcard.

North Washington Street and Main Street 1910

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. -Ben Franklin

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

"Friends Make Life Worth Living"
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443
Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bells:
Bill Hamm's Cemetery Database
American Flyers Memorial Fund - Administration Webpage
Official American Flyers Memorial Website
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Base Website
Mirror Site of the Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter County Government Website

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