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Vol 11  Issue 563  November 8, 2007

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net, Phone: 580-490-6823

I always smile when Mike West comes to Ardmore for a visit. Mike’s father, Shugg West, ran a grocery store on Highway 199 East between Ardmore and Dickson years ago.  When Mike comes to town he always has some kind of history to share, and this week was no different.  Mike has been doing a lot of research of the Big Explosion of 1915 and he is finding out a lot of interesting facts and details that followed after that explosion on the railroad tracks that almost leveled the entire downtown Ardmore.  Mike suggested it might be appropriate if some kind of memorial marker was erected near the Ardmore depot.  It would be very fitting to remember in stone those 20 some odd people who lost their lives that day in 1915. I would suggest we start a campaign to see if there is enough interest to raise the money needed to purchase a Tishomingo autumn rose granite marker with the names inscribed thereon.  If there is a positive response, I’d start a webpage to list those who make a pledge to this memorial.  I would like to be the first to start….. a pledge of $10.  If and when there is enough raised, we’d call for the pledges and place the order.  I know there are some other details to work out, like where it would be placed, and permission from those in authority to place it, but first we need to see if enough money can be raised to pay for a memorial.  If you’d like to see it happen, send me an email.  butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net

County Commissioner Kevin Robinson was at a living estate sale last week and made a great historical discovery.  In the sale were 2 original courthouse windows. The windows was probably removed during a remodeling in 1976 and then secretary Marie Davis bought the windows and too them home.  They were stored away for 30 years in the Davis’ barn and when Bob and Marie Davis returned to Ardmore 4 years ago from Texas after those 30 years, they had the estate sale. Kevin was amazed how close the color of the 1910 windows, matched the color used during last summer’s remodel and painting of the rotunda’s molding and trim.  This is one piece of history that didn’t get away, as Kevin is planning to have the windows restored and placed on public display at the courthouse.



If all things continue smoothly, Jill and I should be moving into our new modular home south of Lone Grove around December 1st.  Around that date I will need some concrete block work around the perimeter of the home.  If you know anyone who does that kind of concrete cinder block work, let me know.

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“The Marshall County Historical Society is hosting a Centennial Block Party at the Fred Stanley Community Complex in Madill on November 17, 2007.  The theme for the day is “Oklahoma:  A unique history.  An extraordinary future.”  A parade will kick-off the event at 10 am through downtown Madill.  A short ceremony will be held involving several state dignitaries at noon at the Fred Stanley Center.  Then the party will begin and run through 6 pm in the parking lot at the Fred Stanley Center.  Festivities will include food and game booths like you might have found at a fair 100 years ago.  Also, demonstrations of butter churning, rope making, blacksmithing, quilting, wheat grinding, and peanut roasting.  We will have pony rides, a petting zoo, bingo, dulcimer lessons and square dancing.  Old cars and tractors will be on display.  The Marshall County Museum, located at the Fred Stanley Center, will be open on the hour for tours. The tours will highlight our new exhibit on Gov. Raymond Gary and will debut a brand new exhibit provided by Parrish Electric Company, believed to be the oldest GE dealer in the United States.  A barbeque dinner will be served by the Creekmore Masonic Lodge from 12:00 – 3:00 at a cost of $6 per person.  Sky Corbin (a name the oldtimers will recognize) will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the live entertainment throughout the day.  Two stages will offer a variety of musical entertainment including Dale Lay and the Shadow Mountain Band, Rob Carter, Ryan Rhynes, and many others.  Dr. Michael Hughes will bring the characters of Alfalfa Bill Murray and Bill Tilghman to life on stage.  Dulcimers, harmonicas and gospel singing can be found at our Arbor Stage.  At 7 pm, a fireworks display will close the day-long block party.  There will be something for people of all ages … everyone is invited to attend this FREE celebration of our state’s heritage.  For information please contact Charlotte Chaffin at 580-795-4053 or Laurie Harris at 580-564-5351.

“I finally found the other piece of the Bromide, Oklahoma news clipping.”


“Good evening Butch.  The old Skyview Drive-in brings back many memories:  Money was tight most of the time and often resulted in going to the drive-in on Saturday night with two friends in the trunk of my ’48’ Chevrolet Fleetline.  The guys in the trunk would ease the back seat forward and crawl into the car without opening a door.  Of course, there were dates to be taken to the drive-in as well and memories were made from those occasions too. Even further back were those times when I went to the drive-in with my mom, grandmother and siblings to see a Walt Disney movie, but I think the cartoons were often the favorites. Fast forwarding to the early years of my married life:  My wife and I took the two daughters we had at that time to a Walt Disney movie in a drive-in that had screens at each end of the lot.  I noticed the girls were looking out the back window of the car at the wrong screen and discovered Deep Throat was playing on the far end.  Needless to say, we left and paid more attention to what was showing on both screens from that time on.”

“Hello Butch and Jill, I meant to write, but just now getting to it. I just want to say that I really enjoy reading T&T. Thank you so much for putting this wonder newsletter out for us. I also look forward to reading about Jill and your travels through Oklahoma. One of my favorites are the before and after pictures of Jill’s restoration projects. Your history facts of Goodland Academy/school was very interesting. I did not know that it was still in existence. My dad went to school there when he was a small boy. He was orphaned and was put there and he ran away when he was about eight years old and went to stay with a relative. They never took him back. He used to tell me and my sisters that he went to school there. Now that he has passed, I regret that I never asked questions about his experience there. Thank you for taking me down memory land. It reminded me of my father and that’s a good thing. Until then, looking forward to reading the next issue of T&T.”   -Leona M. Mars

“Here is a short video (6 meg file) of the Vendome well at Sulphur.  I don’t remember it being this high before.  The white in the water is the minerals from the smelly water.  Nature at its best for those of you that don’t know this is a free flowing Artesian well.  No pumps.”  -Doug


“Mr Bridges, I very well remember the dirt mound along I-35 at Norman. I was 11 years old and my family was living in Purcell Ok (2nd time) in 1964. First time was in 1961. I-35 terminated into a 2 lane on the north side of Purcell. Anyway, I had always wondered why there was a big dirt hill on land flatter than a pancake in that area. Now I know why. Thank you for sharing that.” -Steve Martin KCMO

“I am the former business office manager for Medical Arts Clinic.  The clinic was purchased by Mercy in January 2007 and is now called Memorial Medical Clinic. Attached are two photos from the early days of Medical Arts Clinic.  On the back it says photo by Jimmie M. Goetz, who I believe was the architect.  The clinic was founded in 1953 by Dr. Hobson Veazey and Dr. Thornton Kell, and became incorporated in 1954. If anyone has any photos of the clinic or employees and doctors (Veazey, Kell, Sparks, Lorentzen) during any time in the past, I would appreciate them.  I am in the process of making a scrapbook for our “old” doctors.”  shellieh@cableone.net



“This will not fit in with the stuff you have on your web page but I will send it anyway to let you have a different view. My G. Grandfather John J. Lemaster was born in 1843, and joined the Confederate Army in the Civil War and was wounded at Dallas Ga. in 1865. After he was discharged he moved to Gainesville, Tex. as a teacher. Later he moved to Thackerville and taught there. There were 10 children in his family and Marietta (my Grandmother) was one of the 10 born in 1868. G. Granddad Lemaster lived in the Thackerville area and died in April 1886 and the family thinks he was buried at Brown Springs Cemetery. Grandmother Lemaster and Granddad John Stephens were married April 23, 1889 and lived on the bluff near the Cemetery. Some hand written notes written by an older aunt, that Grandmother Marietta Stephens had told her are:

We got water from a spring– a pipe was put in the bank and a sluice of water as big as your arm came out. We lived in house on first bluff– Spring was down on 2nd bluff–Mrs Stephens said she could never drink the water with a good stomach because the cemetery was on the first bluff.We did go to the cemetery to check about finding John Lemasters grave but as you know it has had to much damage done by people to find much of anything. Hope this gives you a look from a different angle.”   -Richard Stephens

“On Saturday,  November 17 at 7:00 P M there will be a benefit for Carolyn Allison.  It is being held  at the Washington Theater.  Tickets are $10.00 per person.  Several bands have agreed to play.  The members of the Mary Niblack Road Baptist Church will do much of the music.  This is a talented group of people.  Carolyn desperately needs a kidney transplant.  She works for the Mary Niblack Baptist Church and plays piano for the services.  She has to have dialysis several times a week, so she cannot do very much.  I am sure her medical bills are huge. This will be an evening of Southern style gospel music.  Tickets may be bought at The Brown Paper Bag, The Living Word, and The French Quarter Salon on Main Street. Donations may be sent to the Mary Niblack Baptist Church.”

“FYI, there is a bumper crop of persimmons this year, everywhere there is a tree the limbs are bowing because of the fruit.  The seed and it is a spoon again.  I wish we could see something else for a change. Take care and keep up the good work.”

NOTE:  According to the http://www.FarmersAlmanac.com website, when the seed is spoon-shaped, it is going to be a harsh winter with heavy wet snow. Fork-shaped denotes a mild winter with light powdery snow. And, knife shaped, an icy winter with cutting winds.



“Hello Butch, In regard to the article about a cemetery east of the Norton Bend bridge, that is the old Norton cemetery. I was born and raised in Greasy Bend and I had never heard the story about the killings and folks being buried at the Norton Cemetery. I think there may be a link to that cemetery online on the Johnston County web site.”

“My husband lived in Greasy Bend in the early 30’s.  In 1998, my sister and brother-in-law were visiting from out of state.  We were driving them around the area and went to Greasy Bend.  They really got a kick of the sign right before you crossed the bridge – Greasy Bend, Population 25!!!!  They even took pictures to take home!!!  Is the sign still there and has the population changed?”

Now this is really neat. You can find out some interesting demographic stuff about where you live by zipcode.   http://www.zipskinny.com/

“Butch has anyone asked about the Starlight drive-In? I remember going there in the back of our 1951 dodge pickup with a big jug of ice water and a sack of home popped popcorn. There was playground equipment for us kids down below the screen area. It was located on old highway 77, west side, across from the livestock sale barn just south of Ardmore. Does anyone remember when it closed?”

“Butch:  My wife’s grandmother attended the Tohee school at Iowa Indian Village in 1891 in Logan County.  I can not find any info on this school.  Could you tell me where I might find out about it?  Was wondering if she was an Indian girl.  Her name was Cordelia Taylor.  Daughter of George P. and Mary Bell Taylor. Thanks.” -Howard Dunn  Howardlindadunn@aol.com

“Congratulations on getting long overdue recognition in the Ardmoreite last Monday! Your work is most appreciated.  Through your efforts we have revived some old friends and picked up a few new ones also!  It has been a long time since through our mutual friend Gary Simmons, that we first learned of your paper and that has been many pages back!  We may never get back to Ardmore physically but do check it almost every day online and was so pleased at the great write up in the paper.”   -Bob & Virginia Farrington in Northfield, Ohio!


“Have you ever checked out the mural in the Marietta Post Office?  It is supposed to be the last remaining mural of a group commissioned by the governor, I guess.”

“Hi Butch.  I am Robert McCrory.  I was born in Ardmore in 1924.  I was intrigued by the HAM radio page on your website.  A real stroll down memory lane. I knew Charles Dibrell well and also Jack Gant.  After high school in 1941 I attended a night course in radio taught by them.  I had known the Dibrell family from when I would stop in as I passed to/from first ward school.  Charles’ father, Charley, helped me make my first crystal radio and others thereafter. In 1942 I left Ardmore to make my way in the world and got around in quite a bit of it.  1946-1947 had me in Africa; Leopoldville, Belgian Congo.  I had my own HAM station, OQ5CE, and talked with Charles Dibrell a couple time. Once he had my parents there and I talked with them.  It was written up in the Ardmoreite.

From my memoir:I went to work for Pan Am Airways in 1943 & went to Hawaii in the U.S. Navy reserve.  In 1945 I was in New York & lived in a boarding house near LaGuardia Airport where I worked. A co-worker living in the boarding house was a radio ham and had his little station operating.  We passed a lot of time talking to other hams.  I planned to set myself up a station when I went overseas.  It was about May 1946 I learned I was going to Africa. I had no equipment and at the end of the war nothing was available. I wanted the Hammarlund HQ129X receiver and went to a store to buy it.  They handled that brand but had nothing since the war started. They agreed to try to get me one.  The factory was in Brooklyn.  In a few days I got a post card saying my radio had arrived.  They sold it to me at the normal price.  I found out within a few days I could have sold it for twice what I paid, they were in such demand.  So much for positive attitude or just dumb luck.  My friend traded me his small transmitter a Hallicrafter HT6 for some of my other junk. Thus I was all prepared to become a HAM in Africa.

I arrived in Leopoldville, Belgian Congo.  Pan Am was just starting flights there and had before the war set up for seaplane operation to operate from the Congo River.  In the old shop was a complete radio station of about 1935 vintage.  There was an RCA AR-60 receiver plus a CW (radio telegraph) transmitter.  The transmitter was about 30″ square and 18″ high and had two radio tubes that gave off a lot of heat and light.  It was powered by a motor generator set consisting of a two horse electric motor that turned a generator that put out 800 volts DC.  I bought the whole mess for $10 and proceeded to set up my radio station.  I applied for a ham license and received it by return mail.  I had the call letters of OQ5CE. All dressed up and no place to go.  I was so poor at CW (telegraph code) that it was a pain to operate.  No problem really, there were several local airline (Sabena Belgian) radio operators who delighted in contacting their home country. Soon my transmitter that I had sent by boat arrived and I set it up.  It was a radio phone rig that I operated on ten meters.  Then started one of my life’s greatest experiences, up to that time. I was able to talk with other HAMs all over the world, including HAMs on ships at sea.  It was a great pastime in a place where many people spent their spare time drinking and pursuing other’s spouses. It was a time when ten meters was at its 11 year peak and my little 25 watts could amount to something.  Hams usually want to do DX and I was DX to most of the rest of the ham world.  I was back in LEO again in 1951 with my wife.  Ten meters wasn’t much good then, OK around Africa but not much more, and only on parts of the day.  I never pursued HAM radio after I settled in the U.S. in 1954.  I did get a FCC First Class Commercial license however. I’m including photos of my station in LEO and a copy of my QSL card.”  -Robert McCrory   rhmc24@yahoo.com



“Happy Anniversary Butch and Jill. A song to help you celebrate your first year together.” -Don and Joyce Coe


Stanley and Jill Bridges Novemeber 9, 2006

I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars
He sure knew what he was doing
When he joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I’ve got all I’ll ever need
Thanks to the keeper of the stars.

-Keeper of the Stars recorded by Tracy Byrd in 1995

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore Oklahoma
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
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Carter county schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website

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