This and That Newsletter

Vol 11  Issue 526     Circulation 5,000     February 22, 2007

Ardmore, Oklahoma

There are a number of bridge crossings into Texas at the Red River from the southeast end of Oklahoma to the southwest end of this state.  Ardmoreite Steve Hamm sent in an interesting picture this week of one such river crossing.  Below are a couple of photos he took at a crossing near Hollis, Oklahoma (Harmon County) in the far southwest end of Oklahoma. The location of this old wooden slat bridge is 7.5 miles south of Highway 62 just west of Hollis, OK. (If your on a dirt road, your probably on the wrong road, its all blacktop to the crossing.) Steve took these pictures in September 2005.

This is a map showing where the bridge is located south of Hollis, Oklahoma.

Here's a couple more pictures taken along Highway 62 south of Hollis. This first one is the marker for the 100th meridian.

Remember the "Welcome to Oklahoma" signs that greeted travelers as they crossed the bridge into Oklahoma? Seems like the last time I looked, the one along the I-35 crossing is gone. Here is one Steve took on the Oklahoma side of the Highway 62 south of Hollis.

Thanks Steve for the great pictures taken along Highway 62.

The above old wooden bridge reminds me of the one SE of Durant at the Red River, of which I took a picture back in August 2002.  The small community of Carpenter's Bluff is across the one lane bridge on the Texas side.

Jill was in Decatur, Illinois last week visiting her daughter and son-in-law, and greatly enjoying being with the two grandchildren, Belle and Victor.  We kept hearing most about the heavy snow in NY, but central Illinois got quite a bit of snow too.  Outside her daughter's home in Decatur, snow was about half way up the mailbox pole in the front yard.

Here is a couple of pics her daughter snapped of Jill and the grandkids at the Decatur airport, as Jill waited for her plane back to Oklahoma. Boy, I was ready for Jill to get back too, seemed like she was gone a month, even if was only 9 days.  lol

Speaking of Jill's airplane trip, after doing some research on the internet, we found tickets from Lawton, Oklahoma to Decatur, IL were about $115 less when flying out of Lawton then flying from OKC or DFW to Decatur. There were 2 stops (Dallas and St Louis) on the Lawton to Decatur trip whereas only 1 stop in St Louis from DFW/OKC to Decatur. And its still 100 miles to the airport whether Jill left from Lawton or Dallas or OKC.  But the difference is like day and night using the Lawton airport.  No traffic problems, no parking problems, no waiting in long lines, and no waiting in a terminal with 1,000s of other people.  Completely stress free. I loved that part.

And a person has to search around for the best prices on airline tickets. There are so many websites offering deals and all. Prices can vary widely.  And like the most popular sites don't even show you the prices for JetBlue Airways.  So one really does need to do their homework before buying airline tickets. Here's one I found that offers good prices, especially if you book a month or two in advance.

Here is a photo of the front and back of an old token coin by Hoffman Drug store of Ardmore from before 1907 Indian Territory.

Last week we talked about the old time 19th century station wagon.... the wagon used to haul people from the depot to the hotel. Here is an email I received:

"Hello Butch: The Brewster & Company (New York, NY) Station Wagon used in the Antiques Roadshow program is but one of over 150 horse-drawn vehicles we have in our Rodeo Museum, 70 of which will be in our LA FIESTA DE LOS VAQUEROS PARADE Thursday the 22nd of Feb. The Tucson Visitors and Convention Bureau will be riding in this piece during the Parade." -Bob Stewart

This is an old photo postcard of the Ardmore Depot in 1908.

I received an interesting picture this week from Correna Wilson Pickens at Wilson, OK. Last week on Valentine's Day Correna was looking for a special valentine with some kind of heart as the theme for her husband, and when she walked out into her backyard, there it was, right in front of her. Her grapevine had twined itself into a heart shape.... and just in time!

After the sudden death of Dale Thogmartin in April 2006, and closure of Dale's Superette and 50's Cafe, and I been wondering when another hamburger joint would open in Marietta.  Well, last week it happened. Its Donna's Cafe (580-276-3880) and its right on Highway 77 just a block north of Main Street in Marietta.   I stopped in this week and bought their large burger and let me tell you, owners Donna and Roy Howell make a mean burger. And no ordinary run of the mill burger, but one made from ground chuck! With the first bite you can taste the meat. And you sure won't be asking "where's the beef" because these are thick meat patties. First, here's the outside view of Donna's Cafe.  Outside View

Here's an inside view with employees Becky on the right and Willma on the left. Inside View

And now what you all been waiting to see, that great tasting home style burger Donna's Burger

Next time we're down that way I'll try Donna's small burger at $1.75 and post it on here! But I did over hear some Marietta old timers bragging about Donna's great breakfast too, so if its still early, we'll try that. Whichever the case, I'm sure the meal will be good!

Chuck Stallcup has made a big dent in building the overlay for Google Earth with locations of old schools in Carter county. If you know of any old school house from bygone days in Carter county, send him an email at

A T&T reader told me several weeks ago about a great place to get a hamburger in Velma, Oklahoma. Last week I was driving by Velma, so I pulled off Highway 7 and drove around Velma.  I had never drove out Velma, even though I been by the town many times. I was surprised just how many people, and homes  and schools and stores were in this little community.  But look as I did, I never saw one sign that mentioned hamburgers, or cafe, so I gave up and left.  But I did see a new eating place called the Chuck Wagon (580-444-2729) on Highway 7 at the west edge of Velma.  That place was packed at noon, so I can imagine the good tasting BBQ that awaits the person who stops in.  Might have to do that soon. Makes me think back to the 80s when we had a Chuck Wagon here in Ardmore... great bbq.

Talk about being packed, Jill and I drove by Bill's Catfish (580-228-2372) on Highway 79 three miles west and then south from Waurika, OK at the Red River. It was about 7pm on a Tuesday night and that place was packed with vehicles out front. I haven't eaten there since the 70s when I'd stop on the way back from Sheppard Air Force Base where I took patients who had military medical benefits. Another place we'll have to try someday.

At the southeast edge of Lawton by I-44 is a hamburger place called Leo and Ken's Truck Stop and Restaurant that's been serving hamburgers since 1950.  When I was in Lawton to pick up Jill from the plane, I tried one of their old fashion burgers. It was a good hamburger, but kinda over priced at $4.10 for just the burger. Ouch.  For $5.10 one could get the burger and fries or onion rings. So I added the onion rings.

I received an old fashion letter in the mail this week, you know the kind made of paper with a 39 cent stamp on it (remember when we used to send those?).  It was from Tom Arnold of Tulsa (his family owned Arnold's Monuments on C Street SE for many years) and in the envelope was an interesting newspaper clipping from the Tulsa World dated Feb 14, 2007. The article (and pic of bell), talks about an old bell that used to be at Kendall Hall at the University of Tulsa since 1911. Then it went silent for about 14 years back around 1943  when it was taken down and moved, to what some think is now the bell at Kendall Hall. But no one knows for sure if this is the same 1,500 lb bell from 1911 or not.  One man thinks the original bell is at Bayless Plaza there at the Tulsa University. Anyway, some very interesting history.  Thanks Tom. And maybe Tom can find a picture of the old Craddock and Arnold Monument place and let everyone see it. It's gone now, just a vacant lot.

..... and now the rest of the story from my "bell expert " Carl in St Louis, Missouri:

"Interesting argument (in the above clipping about the bell)!  The bell in the photo is obviously NOT the original "1,500 pound" bell.  I suspect it doesn't weigh more than a couple of hundred pounds, and probably less.  The C.S. Bell Company. did make bells as large as 1500#, but they were a LOT bigger. As to the "TU" bell at Oliphant Hall, that's not the original, either. I saw it years ago, when my son was attending TU, and I know it was made of bronze.  I don't know who made it, but I suspect that it was not one of the well-known bell foundries, because it has a rather odd shape.  I've always  wanted to know the story behind it; but certainly this is not THAT story! Thanks for sending the article!" -Carl


"Mr. Bridges, I host a non-profit research/resource website focused on the FAA's  age 60 rule.  I occasionally get a query as to the status and qualifications of the flight crew on the American Flyers crash at Ardmore, OK on 22 April, 1966.  The available records indicate that the pilot (captain) suffered a heart attack in flight, thus it was the co-pilot who made the approach and landing.  Can you confirm that this is correct, and speak to the qualifications and standing of the co-pilot that was flying at the time of the accident. I intend no disrespect to either pilot.  Only clarification as to their flight status and qualifications at that time. Thank you." -Samuel D. Woolsey

"I  just stumbled onto your site while I was searching for information on Jo-o-Kay and I saw your Oct 2004 messages on the subject. I grew up with Jo-o-Kay.  My father, grandfather, and uncle were wholesale representatives and between them their territories covered most of the mid-west. My father traveled MT, ND, SD, NB through almost all of the 70?s; his father covered CO, WY, AZ, UT from the ?50?s to about 1980; and Dad?s brother spent a couple years covering KS, IO, MO, AR. I was young at the time, but everything in my world was about leather, Jo-o-Kay, Corral Sportwear, Tandy, and  related companies. I cut my teeth on a leather key wallet, grew up carrying leather purses and wearing leather coats, and never really appreciated or understood it. Because of the information I found in your newsletter, I was able to learn much about my grandfather's career and figure out exactly what he did before I was born and while I was too young to really be aware. Thank you so much for the information that lead me to a greater understanding of my late grandfather."

From the 2004 T&T:   "About Jo-o-Kay leather goods. My dad was owner of Western Supply Company here in Ardmore, home of Clifton's hand tooled leather goods,  and he was instrumental in getting John and Katherine (Kay) Simpler to move  to Ardmore......back in the 1950's I think. I always enjoyed playing with  their three sons, John, Ronnie, and Steven almost every Saturday night when  our parents "cooked out" together. Dad's plant manufactured the hand tooled  purses, belts, billfolds, etc. and he helped John start the suede leather  coats business. Because John and Katherine were the owners, they decided to  name the company after them, Jo-Kay........HOWEVER, according to their son  Steve who lives here in Ardmore, the Jockey (underwear) company thought the  name was too close to theirs, and said if they would put the extra "o" in  the middle and make it Jo-o-Kay, that THEY would even pay for their  trademark. So John and Katherine agreed, and that solves your mystery. By  the way, Katherine is still alive and lives with Steve and his wife on their  ranch east of Ardmore." -Carol Jean Wood Thomason
"In last week's T&T I enjoyed John Gow's description of the Rock Island line into Ardmore that branched off the RI's east-west main line from Memphis to Amarillo. Mr. Gow stated it was Wilburton, but according to a January 1910 Official Guide of the Railways it was Haileyville, OK  which was 17.6 rail miles west of Wilburton.  The line came thru Tishomingo, and Mannsville and was 117.6 miles long. There was one scheduled passenger train, No. 651 down and No. 652 back to Haileyville. It departed Haileyville at 8:05 AM and arrived in Ardmore at 1:15 PM taking 5 hours and 10 minutes!  Average speed was 23 MPH!!! No. 652's return trip back to Haileyville took slightly longer, 5 hours and 20 minutes at an average speed 22.6 MPH. South of McAlester it crossed Highway 69 on an overpass and I recall at this location two large stone piers on each side of the highway in the 1950s. I'll bet some of the T&T readers will also recall them." -H E Huber, Plano TX

"Hi Butch, When I came to Ardmore in January of 1971, to begin a career with the US Postal Service I often carried the downtown route those first few years.  I particularly remember delivering mail in the Ardmoreite Bldg, and riding the elevator up to the forth and fifth floor.  There was a lady who operated the elevator manually, every place else in town had the newer elevators that didn't require an operator.  What I remember about this lady she was probably at least in her fifties maybe older, she had long red hair which was done up in a style that was popular in World War 2.  In fact she dressed in a manner which was very reminiscent of the 1940's.  I rode this elevator countless times during the 70's and it seems that she operated this elevator well into the 80's.  Does anyone remember this lady?  When did she retire and what was her name?  I spoke to her every time I rode the elevator she was one of those characters you got used to seeing and associating with the down town area.  The fact that she maintained a 1940's dress code all those years made her stand out, and even though the WW 2 era was before my time I have always liked the era and the fashions from that era." -Mike Jones
"Butch, John Gow gave an excellent explanation about the railroad through Tishomingo. I have a few early day photos of the RR line in Tishomingo that were sent to me many years back by my good friend Russell Anoatubby that I have attached. I also have attached a photo that I shot of the last train to cross the old trestle system here in Ardmore. This trestle was the one used by the Rock Island and Frisco Railroads mentioned in the discussion to serve Ardmore from the East and at this particular point it crosses over the BNSF north-south main line (formerly Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe). This photo appeared along with a short article on the front page of The Daily Ardmoreite, Monday, August 14, 2000." -C. Dwane Stevens

"John Gow here again. You also asked about the rail line to Ringling. It was built in 1913 by John Ringling, of Ringling Bros. Circus fame. Its official name was the Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Pacific Railroad (almost every railroad name west of the Mississippi ended with "and Pacific" to show it had lofty  goals of reaching the west coast, though most never came close), though locally it was always called the Ringling Railroad. An interesting and long-lived myth grew up around the line. I heard it when I was a kid in Ardmore 40 years ago, and it's still circulating, and that was John Ringling built the road to have rail access to a new "winter camp" for the circus, at Ringling, Oklahoma. In fact the line was built purely as a transportation business venture, with the original plans calling for building a line west from Ardmore through Waurika to Lawton. It would connect with other railroads in both Waurika and Lawton and mainly serve the agricultural market of southern Oklahoma. Grading of the line began in May 1913, and track started being laid west from Ardmore at the beginning of August. However, a mere 6 days after track-laying began the Healdton oil field was discovered. This changed everything. By pure luck the railroads owners were sitting on a new and unexpected source of tremendous profit, just 28 miles west of Ardmore. The plans to continue west to Lawton were shelved. The line was soon so busy the rail sidings on the Santa Fe for 50 miles north and south of Ardmore were full of cars waiting to get onto this line.

Interestingly, the current town of Healdton is not the original Healdton. There was a town by that name close to the oil fields, but the railroad wanted a slightly different location to serve the oil fields and also wanted to employ a common money-making scheme used by railroads at the time. The railroad located its town about 1 mile west of Healdton, and named it New Healdton. It was obvious that all the business of serving and supplying the oil field would flow through New Healdton, as well as the money to be made serving the field workers: they were going to need food, shelter, clothes, supplies of all kinds. The people of Healdton saw which way the wind was blowing and bought land lots in New Healdton which the railroad conveniently had for sale, and moved to the new site. After only a few weeks the Post Office declared the town would change its name from New Healdton to just Healdton, and that is the town we know today.

The line was leased in 1925 to the Santa Fe railroad, the main railroad in Ardmore. It bought the line in about 1927. For reasons I have not yet been able to discover the Santa Fe moved the original location of the Ringling Road in Ardmore farther south, where the last remnant of it still exists today crossing over Washington Ave on steel trestles as the street curves under it on its way to Hardy Murphy Coliseum. The original site of the Ringling Road was on Washington Ave and 3rd Street, where the old high school is, close to downtown. Ringling's Ardmore depot still stands at this site and has been an American Legion Post for decades. Stand back and look at this building and you can see immediately by the architecture that it's a railroad depot, and a very handsome one, very late 19th/early 20th century style. And at the top of the depot on the side facing Washington Ave is a concrete casting that says "Ringling Road". So Ardmore has the distinction of having 2 large railroad depots, the Santa Fe depot and the Ringling depot, when many towns its size have none.

The tracks left Ardmore by going west from this depot (you could see the hump in the road on A street, B street, C street, etc where the rails crossed the street when I was a kid. Perhaps you still can), eventually following Grand Ave. There was apparently a large servicing facility (like a steam locomotive roundhouse, etc) where the Ardmore Mall is today. The line produced less and less oil over the years and was finally abandoned west of the Uniroyal Tire Plant in I believe the late 1970s."

Wilson Has Fire Scare
March 25, 1915
Last Monday fire was discovered in the upper story of the Frick-Reid Supply Co.'s building here.  Mr. Rogers of the National Supply Co., was one of the first to see the fire and he at once took the National's chemical hand apparatus and commenced a valiant fight against the flames.  He was soon joined by several others with small chemical fire fighting devices, and later by a bucket brigade, and the fire was subdued with a loss of a few hundred dollars in damage to building and supplies that were carried in the upper floor rooms. The volunteer fire fighters are entitled to a great deal of credit for their prompt action and zeal. Mr. Edwards of Edwards Bros. climbed to the top of the railroad water tank and started a brigade of about 50 buckets, which were of inestimable service in fighting the fire.  The chemicals kept the fire back until the bucket brigade got into full swing, and thus a big conflagration was avoided. It is supposed the fire was caused by explosion or over-heating of an oil stove in one of the bedrooms upstairs.  Contributor's note: The Frick-Reid Supply Co. was located SW of the railroad depot. -Mindy Taylor
"Butch, I am a bit slow in getting these pictures to you, but these were taken from my front porch (the icicles) and from my back deck. One of the icicles grew to 31 inches long. Really was lovely and I could enjoy it as I didn't have to get out in it." -Joh in Sulphur

"Butch, reference Plat School District 1909 (Plainview School):  "Laid Out and Organized" and "Approved March 1909 Ardmore, Oklahoma" DESCRIPTIVE  BOUNDARY AND OFFICIAL RECORD OF SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 27.  BEGINNING AT SOUTH CENTER LINE OF SEC.5, 5 SOUTH, I EAST,  ETC, ETC, ETC (continues till it completes it full legal description)  FOLLOWED BY: original SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS-  T.J. Heron, Director     J.A. Zellner, Clerk   Arthur Lynch, Member. There is a picture [pg. 149] of the original school and Mr. O.C. Reynolds, Superintendent  - Next page  [150] is a picture of the 3 school board members followed next page by picture of the Teacherage and a 2 page description of the school and its geographic location etc.- There are several pages that follow which show the students and their teachers but you must remember that these follow up pictures are peculiar to the 1923 era (not the 1909 period)   I think it is clearly revealed that the school will be 100 years old in March 2009. Incidentally my daughter-in-law (Valerie Jo Martin) is one of their excellent teachers at this time. All of the above info came from the 1923 Kate Galt Zaneis school book" -Ernest Martin

Note:  Here is a picture of the old Plainview school.  I noticed it has a bell on the front and it was rung from the second floor.  -bb

A caravan of cop cars and trailers traveled through Lawton , Oklahoma on Thursday February 15, 2007 .  Little did onlookers know that morning, a bus with a design team led by Ty Pennington was already in town.  A family in Lawton, Oklahoma was indeed chosen by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to receive a newly built house to meet their needs.  For more information you can peruse through and 

The Moore family went to the area to see the excitement on Tuesday February 20.  After catching a shuttle bus from a nearby parking lot and walking a couple of blocks, we reached the site only to be baffled by the amount of effort poured into this daunting task.  They really do build a house in less than a week!  As luck would have it, the famous Ty Pennington was in Arkansas that day.  However, we did get to see the governor of Oklahoma as he walked out of the house.  We also got to see Tracy Huston of the design team, the brunette at the end of our photo montage (formerly the blonde).  Following are a few photos from behind the fence in the spectator area.  Enjoy!!!

Today is the big REVEAL Day.  This is in a very small neighborhood and it will be very hard to get into so I guess we will watch it on TV.  We have heard the show will air on 15 April 2007 , but that is not a sure thing.  The demolition took place last Saturday and the keys were turned over last night to the design team.  They really can tear down and build a house in a week or less.

Oh, and by the way, the new Miss America , Lauren Nelson, is from Lawton, Oklahoma also. -Robert Moore and Family



by Joh Gainey in Sulphur

Spring was great, if just for a day,
Between the shivers and ice,
And everyone was saying
"Isn't the weather nice?"
But when I stepped out
in this morning's dawn,
Thinking to greet the day,
My bones were chilled
By a blast of wind
From up the North Pole way.
Now, I don't mind the wintertime.
I understand the need
To allow a dormant bit of rest
For each little daisy seed.
But couldn't it be consistent
After the trees are bare,
So when you get up each morning
You will know what you need to wear?

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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