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Vol 11  Issue 564  November 15, 2007

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

A few days ago Jill and I was over at Pat and Herb Upchurch’s ponderosa in SE Ardmore picking persimmons from trees on their property. I remember my family and I heading out on a Sunday afternoon back in the mid 60s, and traveling north on Gene Autry Road in search of persimmon trees. Usually we’d find several between Ardmore and the Airpark, and bring some of the fruit home. Persimmons are deliciously sweet, as long as you don’t get hold of a not-quite-ripe one, which will cause your lips to pucker after eating it.  lol

While walking to the persimmon trees on the Upchurch ponderosa we stopped along the way and picked up some really nice pecans. I think maybe we picked up just enough to go in a pecan pie, so maybe I can talk Jill into baking one…. I sure love pecan pie.




Pat and Herb showed us several neat old things from the past in their house, but one item really caught my attention. It was a jar about 4 inches high and inside were all these pure white looking rocks, flat, about 1/8 inch thick and oval, about 1 inch long. I had never seen anything like this, and Herb said they were Drum rocks. What? Drum rocks? Herb goes fishing a lot and over the years when he’d catch a drum fish (he fishes for catfish), he removed these ‘rock’s from inside the drum’s head. I mentioned this to several fishermen this week, and they were surprised too, never heard of such a thing. I did a google search and didn’t find it mentioned much, but did find a little info. But these rocks are part of the drum’s ear.  Below is what little reading I did find on this unusual fish.

“The drum’s otoliths (ear bones) are large and in the past were used by Native Americans for jewelry, currency and as good luck charms. Otoliths can also be used to estimate drum ages be counting the rings in it which tend to be quite long-lived.”

I remember back in the mid 60s John and Joanne Beck and family lived across the street from us on 3rd NE. They took me along with them many times when they went to Lake Murray, and John used a spear gun to fish for drum. Seems they give off some kind of grunting sound, and he’d listen for that to find them as he snorkeled across the surface of the lake. Once in a while he get one with his spear gun. Anyway, here’s a closeup of the 2 Drum rocks Herb gave me. Quite interesting!


In last week’s T&T we had a feeler to see if there is enough interest to put some kind of memorial plaque or marker in memory of those who died from the Big Explosion of 1915.  To date there has been about 15 people email me with pledges totaling $210. Below is just one example of the emails I received this week:“Last week you wrote asking for donations for a memorial for those who perished following the explosions at the train tracks in 1915.  Please accept my pledge of $20 toward your goal. I would suggest that you consider a plaque located along side the locomotive located next to Hardy Murphy Coliseum because it powered the train that brought assistance from Oklahoma City following the explosions.  I’m sure you would have little trouble locating a plaque there and it might reinvigorate interest in the story of the locomotive and train that brought medical help from the City.”

7 days after our first feeler, it seems to me that we can put something out there as a memorial.  I guess we need someone who will be a committee of one to find a suitable plaque.  If you would help take on this task, send me an email.  Also I hope some others out there will make a pledge so we can purchase a memorial fitting to those 44 who died.  Below is a link to the info about the 44 deaths from the explosion as complied by Mike West.


Some weeks I feel like I hit the mother load.  This week I received an email from Bill Bow in Texas with 3 attachments that knocked my socks off.  He had these wonderful old photos of the concession stand at the old Skyview Drive In, and photos of Rose sitting in the ticket booth at the entrance, plus an aerial view. What a thrill it was to get these.  Here the email in Bill’s own words:

“Hi, Butch! The article by you and Doug about the Skyview Drive In Theater sure brought back lots of memories. Attached are four photos taken by me in 1953 or 1954 while I was working in the snack bar at the theater. The aerial shot was taken while I was in the Civil Air Patrol during the same time frame. The guy with his back to me is Jimmie Gaskins at the fountain Coke machine while Don Nutt looked on from the other side. I don’t remember the young lady’s name. I believe she was the wife of an Airman stationed at Ardmore AFB. Of course the other two pics are of the Toll booth with Rose and James Gaskins. You are free to use this email and choose what ever pictures you might want in the T&T news letter. Good luck to you and Jill with your new home! Thanks for your great work with the T&T. Best regards!” -Bill Bow




The Carter County Skywarn Association has their new website up and running this week. These dedicated volunteers are the eyes for the county’s EOC when bad weather is moving in, watching the skys and keeping updates coming in from the field minute by minute. Check out their website at the link below.


Come sometime in December I will not have my cableone internet anymore because we will be switching to another internet provider when we move to Lone Grove. The new service may not allow me to send out 1,500 email newsletters at one time. But I have found a service called zinester I can use to send out my T&Ts, and use their mail server, and best of all, its free.  Also, those of you who have me in your Outlook Express email address book, needs to make sure its butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net and not the cableone address. The cableone address will bounce back soon.


I know some of you have found out after the fact that Windows XP does not come with a DVD player. Its a separate program called VLC Media Player and its all you need to play DVDs. I found a great freeware program that will play any media, be it a video CD or DVD movie. So now you can pop in your favorite movie that’s on DVD and enjoy!




Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Butch I was at the Arts and crafts show today at Hardy Murphy coliseum, I noticed this picture and if you look close there is a swimming pool and a building north of the main coliseum.  It still has the horrible zoo on the grounds, I always felt sorry for those animals.  I don’t ever remember a swimming pool there, anybody know about this?  Also in the distance you can see the screen for the 77 North Drive-Inn.  Also the A and W is not on the corner.  When could this have been taken?”  -Doug Williams



“Hi Butch,  I just returned from a trip to Indiana and Ohio.  We toured American factories and you know there are not too many of those left in the United States.  Except for Kitchen Aid and Clabber Girl, they were small, family owned businesses.  I’ve been to many places, both within the US and outside the US, however, I think this was the trip that I enjoyed the most.  In most cases, the workers are paid by piece work instead of an hourly salary.  Guess that helps to keep production up, but most of us would not want to work like that.  I just wish everyone could do a trip like this and perhaps then we would start demanding more quality products made in the USA.  My favorite factory was the American Whistle Corporation in Columbus, OH.  They supplied all the whistles for that were used after the OKC bombing and the 9-11 attack.  Every worker used a whistle as they were going through the debris.  This factory probably only employees about 10 people, but does provide a very necessary item that is used by our first responders, sports officials, campers, etc.”  -Nelda True in St. Louis, MO

Here are some Ardmore grocers that existed in the 1930s:

Besaws – located E side C NW between 10th & 11th – mid block

Bulards – located NW corner of A & 9th NW

Both these were one room little stores like Holmes that you have listed, Bulard was there in 1935. Besaw closed by about 1935.

Heartsills located NE corner 12th & E NW mid ’30s. One room also but a pretty big store for the mid ’30s.

Newman-Boucher located NW corner Caddol & 3rd ditto per Heartsills.

“Dear Mr. Bridges:  I have been referred to you by Larry Smith of Ardmore in hope that you may be able to help me locate a lost classmate. My elementary and junior high schools in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan have established a website and we are trying to contact former classmates with whom we have lost contact.  The fellow I am looking for is named Steve Mitchell and he moved to Michigan from Ardmore with his family in about 1953. His father was William D. Mitchell, a project engineer for Gulf Oil Company. Steve had a younger brother named Roger and in all likelihood, they attended elementary school in Ardmore from at least 1951 to about 1953, at which time Steve would have been about 12 years old. After 1954 they moved again but none of us knows their next destination. What I am hoping is that some of your correspondents may recall the Mitchells and better yet may know how we could get in touch with them now. I would be most appreciative of whatever assistance anyone might be able to provide. Thank you for attention to this request.”  -Bill Hooker,  Vancouver, B.C., Canada  mayneid@yahoo.com

“Butch- I distinctly remember, as a kid, seeing the old original 700 Ranch house at Hardy Murphy Coliseum. I remember being struck by what a mess it was. Do you know any details about the restoration/replication? I really wonder if they just destroyed and disposed of the old house or used any part of it. The “new” house looks to me like a completely new deal.

Surely somebody would have kept something of the original. People are sure strange about that sort of stuff.

By the way — did you ever see the old log house on the north side of old US 70 / SH 199 east of Mary Niblack Road out there somewhere? It was up in the woods a bit. I shot several photos of it around the time of 1978-79. I wonder if it is still there.

I guess I should dig out some of my photos from those “roving days” and send them over to you — although, I’m embarrassed to say, I generally didn’t date them (heck, those days “were gonna last forever,” weren’t they?)

I’d sure like to know more about the history of the 700 Ranch.

By the way — after all those years, I was looking through a several-years-old Ardmore area telephone directory a while back and ran across the name of Robert Boykin. I called him up on the spot — and there he was, with that unmistakable voice, sounding like he always did on KVSO. I asked him if this was still “the home of Robert’s Roost and RR-a-go-go.” He laughed out loud about it — and fired back one of his characteristically dry quips — and we went on like that for about a half hour, as if taking up where we last left off (and when THAT would have been, I just don’t have any clue!). Thanks for keepin’ it all going!”  -TOM ELMORE

“Attached is a picture of the inside of L.D. Mason’s store that was the first store north of alley on Caddo, west side.  Note that the electric light has just been installed, it’s weight hasn’t straightened out the cord.  I’m guessing ca. 1915.  Mason lived at 1201 B NW till he died in 1940.  His wife was sister of my Grandmother.  The artwork is that of his first wife, Lucy Dill who died ca. 1907.  Also attached my adventures in HAM radio and a clipping from 1947.”   -Robert McCrory https://oklahomahistory.net/ttphotos7a/LDMasonStore.jpg



“I stopped by Brown Springs Sunday in Love county. The Spring pond is full, the drainage pipes from it down to the second pond must be stopped up cause the water is going around the east side of the first pond, down hill to the middle pond. Kind of a murky mess since all the water is backed up.”

Google Earth now has interactive weather maps. Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world?s geographic information at your fingertips. The current collection contains a global hurricane tracking tool, global cloud maps, severe weather warning data and radar data from NOAA for the US, weather observations for the US from WeatherBonk, a real-time day/night viewing tool, and the global annual lightning flash rate map from NASA.

“I came across your website and I would proudly like to tell you of another bell found in Mustang, Oklahoma at the Mustang Valley Elementary School. The bell is right outside the school building on Morgan Road.”

“Butch, In the late 40’s and early 50’s my grandfather, H. B. Chastain, owned the property where the Poker Rock you mentioned a few weeks ago is located (SW of Lone Grove). I have attached  a couple of pictures from back then. That is Grandmother Mattie Chastain on and beside the rock. Looks like the rock has eroded some since back then.” -Rick Lewellen in Plano, TX



I’ve been eating Hamburger Inn burgers in Ardmore for 70 years – when the place was across the street from its present location and I was too little to crawl up on the stools.  My dad and I were great buddies and he would lift me up on the stool for a 5 cent hamburger and thus I was hooked.  But I have to say, much as I like the burgers at the Grand Central Station in Durant, George’s Burgers in Durant is the greatest.  It is historical.  That’s the first place natives (and others) head to when they return to Durant.  Its a regular stop for the college students, as well as town’s folk.  Its worth a look-see-taste.  I have to say that the Hamburger Inn holds first place with our appetites.  We always time out travels though Ardmore to include a stop on our way out to Healdton, our hometown.  We are Herb and Sally Clark, 45-year residents of Durant.  Love your web site.  Keep up the good work.”

Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture…….


James Lindsey is head of courthouse maintenance, we help each other at different times and projects, and sometimes when we start a job, seems everything goes wrong that can go wrong. What we think might take 30 minutes to do, takes much longer. So we kinda have this saying between us…….

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”    lol

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, Oklahoma

Save on long distance calls, just a couple cents a minute!
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
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 schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website

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