PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
Last week in the Mailbag was an inquiry as to the ‘old’ townsite of Fox, Oklahoma. The reader had heard there was a original Fox townsite, at a different location as to where Fox is today. Carter county resident Nelda Keck was born and raised at Fox, Oklahoma as were all her siblings, attending school at Fox up until graduation. Nelda called me this week to answer the question about the old Fox townsite since she had done extensive research on the old Fox not long ago for the Oklahoma Historical Society. Before 1923 Fox was located 1 mile north, 3/10th mile east, and then about 1/4 mile south of the present day Fox. It was situated on 27.5 acres according to the plat submitted to the Department of Interior in Washington DC and on record at the County Clerks Office. That ‘first’ Fox was located along the banks of Caddo Creek that runs through that Section of the county, and was moved in 1923 to the location we know it today. Fox was named after Frank Fox. Thanks Nelda for sharing this piece of Carter county history.
To repeat myself from last week’s newsletter, I am always amazed at what my T&T Readers share. A reader called me this week to say he stumbled across a piece of railroad history, and its not even close to the railroad tracks. Well, at least today its not, but back 60 or more years ago, it was located right next to the tracks. The Ringling spur ran west along what we call Grand Avenue today. At 4th and F Street NW (336 F NW) is the old bunk house where the railroad crew slept. This is a pretty dinky little house, to be a house, and that is what caught the T&T Reader’s attention this week, so he asked the owners about it. That is when he learned Effie Sparks used to live in the house, but before that, it was a RR bunk house. The RR crew stayed up stairs on the 2nd floor. There is even a picture of young Effie Sparks standing in front of the wood stove on the 2nd floor, trying to keep warm many many winters ago.
And to think I worked just a few hundred feet south of the old bunk house for 14 years when I worked at the ambulance service and had never heard of this piece of history. I knew the railroad came through there, in fact, that is how the ambulance service became owner of the property where it is located today.
Back around 1975 the ambulance service’s board of directors was looking for a spot to build a new ambulance office since the Adventist Hospital wanted to tear down the old SOAS office on the south side of the hospital. The SOAS board had looked at a number of places in Ardmore when City Commissioner Weldon Harris (and SOAS board member) mentioned the property on Grand Avenue at the SOAS board meeting. Weldon told them the City acquired the property from the railroad when the right-of-way and track was removed and had just been ‘sitting’ on the property all these years. Weldon said the City had no plans for the property at 517 Grand and if the ambulance service wanted it to build a new office, then it would be made available. The rest is history.
On April 19, 2009 the Oklahoma Outlaws and Lawmen Association will be holding his annual meeting at Ada, Oklahoma. That day will be the 100th anniversary of 4 men hanged at Ada back in 1909. Herman Kirkwood, president of the association, had some lapel pins made to remember that infamous hanging at Ada. The lapel pins are $5 each and includes postage to your door.
To contact Herman if you like a lapel pin, send him an email at…. email@example.com
I ran across this old business card of Berryhill Tin Shop. The sheet metal business was located at #24 South Mill Street. Many of the stores in the downtown area had tin ceilings made by Berryhill, including the ceiling at my grandparents, Carmon Lumber Company on 3rd NE. The tin ceilings were the high fashion of the day back 100 years ago.
A reader sent in a couple photos this week. This first one was taken right after the Ardmore fire of 1895 that nearly wiped out the downtown area. Ardmore didn’t have an organized fire department at that time (only bucket brigades), but soon after the disaster, a true fire department was started.
This second photo was taken years later, in 1928, of Main Street in downtown Ardmore. On the right (north side of the street) I see, Kress department store, The Palace Theater, and the Ritz Theater. On the south side of Main I see the OG&E building where people paid their electric bills. Then on to the west I see Rawlins furniture store.
In 1907 A. Bledsoe Rawlins came to Ardmore, Indian Territory, and established a second hand store. He later started the Rawlins Furniture Store. His wife Ida, was tragically killed in a buggy accident. A. Bledsoe Rawlins later married Henryetta Younger, who was a sister to Cole Younger. There were no children by this marriage. A. Bledsoe died in 1935. Meredith Rawlins, the son of Philip A. Rawlins, was born in 1910 in Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas. The Rawlins family home at Lancaster was built by the family in 1854 and is the oldest home in Dallas county, to be continuously owned by the family who built it. It has been listed among the National Registry of historic homes. Meredith lives in Ardmore with his wife Geraldine, a well known and loved music teacher in the Ardmore school system for many years. She has led most of the important choral groups in Ardmore and directed the First Methodist Church Choir for many years. Meredith continued to operate the family furniture store in Ardmore until it was sold in 1959. Meredith and Geraldine have one daughter, Shirley Rawlins Hatfield Dibrell. Shirley is the organist at the St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Ardmore. -from the Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers Book 1983
This is a photo I took of the entrance to the old Rawlins store at 120 West Main.
And this a view from the middle of the street. Today its the Clothes Box.
Dwane Stevens sent in a couple neat photos the other day. One was of the old Super Dog on Lake Murray Drive back in 1949. I see behind the establishment a Tyler and Simpson truck making a delivery. We know the business today as Burger Ranch.
And this photo is a group picture taken at Rexroat school in 1925.
Visit the Oklahoma History Boards, start a topic if you want too!
Q. What outlaw ran for governor in 1914.
A. Al Jennings
Q. Where did the Choctaw people live before removal to Oklahoma?
A. (answer in next weeks T&T)
Roy Kendrick at Perry, Oklahoma sent in an interesting link this week. The website has a cost of living calculator for comparing 2 cities in the U.S. Jill has been trying to talk her twin sister June in California to move to Ardmore. Since Ardmore is on the list, it shows her and her husband could take a 49.2% cut in income, and still maintain the same standard of living here in Ardmore as they do now in CA. Something to think about, eh? Get to packing June, and move to Okieland.
What is interesting is the fact that someone may be thinking about moving to another city where they get a bigger salary, but when you do the comparison, you find that many times you are actually taking a pay cut, so do the math before moving. Here is the link to the cost of living calculator. Ardmore is on the list of cities.
Ok, in last week’s T&T I wanted to have fun with a poll, and you all surprised me again. I am ahead of Obama and McCain with 62% of the votes tallied as of this newsletter tonight. I wonder if its too late to sign up? lol
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“I have noticed that we have not had as many Cicadas this summer as usual. Some people call them Locusts. Am I the only one who has not heard as many this year?”
“Hi Butch, Your question about the Fox townsite in the 28 August edition of T&T intrigued me, in that I had never considered it might have been located somewhere other than where it is now. I attended school at Fox from 1945-49, whereupon my family moved to Ardmore for one year and then to Wilson. Anyway, I had two uncles who graduated from Fox HS in the late Thirties and early Forties and the school was located then where it is today. Fox Consolidated School was a very good school academically in those days.” -Jim Bramlett, Henrietta, TX
“Rumor has it that around 1920 deputy sheriff Bud Ballew had a still in the basement of the courthouse, ran a stovepipe out the window. Has anyone ever heard that story?”
“I do remember Mrs. Dorothy Osborn very well. She taught English IV and Speech at Ardmore High School a couple of years in the 60’s before they moved to Colorado. She was a fine lady and such a wonderful teacher. I have heard she taught some back in the 50’s at the High School, and I wonder how many remember her?” -J James
“Loved the section on the old sodas we use to drink. I have one more to add to the collection listed; Delaware Punch. Does anyone remember?”
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,
there’s a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby.
Written by E. Y. (‘Yip’) Harburg
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443https://oklahomahistory.net
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American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
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Carter county schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website
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