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Vol 12  Issue 615   November 6, 2008

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net

I received an email last week from a childhood friend who I have not heard from since the 60s.  Bobby G. Harris found my website just searching around one day. He and his wife Alice live in Mexico. Bobby and his brother Wayne Harris grow up at G Steet and 2nd NE just a couple of blocks from me.  I remember Bobby and Wayne were the only boys in my northeast neighborhood my age who had a pool table.  The pool table was kept in their garage during the early 60s and we’d go by there after school and play pool.  I remember those two got real good and you sure didn’t want to take them on in a game of pool, because you were sure to lose. Another thing that stands out in my mind from those days, is all 3 of us had mopeds.  Bobby and Wayne used their mopeds to deliver the Ardmoreite after school all over the NE part of town.  If any of you remember the Harris boys, you can send Bobby an email in Mexico:   banmexico@yahoo.com

Across the street from the now Washington Theater next door to the old Ardmore High school was a filling station when we were kids. Bobby’s grandfather, owned the 3rd Ave NE and North Washington service station long before Bobby and I were born.  Bobby sent me a couple of photos of the station he still has from his memories of Ardmore. In this first photo is Bob’s grandfather. J.C. Harris Sr (2nd from the right). Bob’s father, J.C. Harris Jr, owned and operated Harris Electric for many years here in Ardmore.


In this next photo taken in 1952 is Bill Harris beside Harris Gas Station.

I remember the gas station being torn down and a hamburger joint in its place years ago, then later a beauty salon, and today the building looks like an empty building.  After the Harris’ sold the station it was operated by RT Tire Shop. Today RT’s Tire Shop is located at 11th and North Washington. More on RT’s Tire Shop later in this T&T.


And the next photo is Janet Schaffer as a child standing in front of the Harris Filling Station. In the background is a great picture of Ardmore High School.


Thanks Bobby for sharing these old photographs.

A couple of weeks ago I threw tread off my right front pickup tire when I left Walmart one evening.  The next day I bought a used tire with lots of tread left at RTs Tire Shop.  This makes several used tires I’ve bought from RTs over the years and have always been satisfied with the price and tires.  RTs originally was located at 3rd and North Washington, but today the shop is at 11th and North Washington.


This is a newspaper article from a 1948 issue of the Lawton newspaper. According to the writeup, outlaw Jessie James was found alive and living in Lawton long after the pubic thought he was dead. The newspaper is on public display at the Old Plantation Restaurant in Medicine Park, Oklahoma north of Lawton. I think the history experts have determined Jessie James was not the outlaw mentioned in the newspaper clipping, but his brother.


This photo is the first U.S. Federal Courthouse in Ardmore back before statehood, and before it was moved to B and West Main.  It stood where the Hamburger Inn is located today.  Next door (right side) on the north is the Wisnor Hotel. The Wisnor Hotel was a 50 room, 3 story, hotel named in honor of Benjamin Wisnor Carter, prominent Chickasaw Indian for whose family Carter County was named. Built in 1884, it was the first and finest establishment of its kind in Indian Territory. In 1903 the Carter-Booker Building was erected at this location and provided offices for the Cotton Exchange as well as independent cotton buyers. Extensive renovation adhered as closely as possible to the original appearance. Eight luxury apartments occupy the second floor with retail on street level. Ardmore’s city charter was granted by the federal court in accordance with the Curtis Act of 1898. The guidelines for incorporation were provided by the Manfields’ Digest of the Statutes of Arkansas. On August 8, 1911, the first apportionment of school funds from the state government was made. Carter County was sent $6,973.60 which amounted to about eighty cents per pupil. Ardmore public schools held their first high school graduation in 1903. Here is the first original US Federal Courthouse in Ardmore on the left and Wisnor Hotel on the right.


St Benedict’s Catholic Church in Shawnee is embarking on the task of re-vitalizing the old church bell.  I will keep everyone posted here on the progress.  What a magnificent bell.


Most of the offices at the courthouse partook in Halloween festivities last week, giving out candy to all the kids who came by with their parents to visit. Below is a picture I took of Lori Cain, Janice Robertson and Jane Cummings in the Treasurer’s Office, they were all dressed up for the occasion, as they usually are each year at Halloween time. The courthouse had a ton of kiddos visit, lots of fun.


A reader gave me an old framed picture with First National Bank of Marietta advertised on the photo.  Its old, 1911, so its in pretty bad shape.



In the Mailbag below a Reader sent in some comments on the 1948 ambulance-truck accident mentioned last week in which Mrs Hale at Gene Autry was in the crash.  Back in 2001 I interviewed Buck Hale and took pictures of his old saw mill at Gene Autry.  Buck Hale has since passed on.





A Reader reminded me this week of the old smoke stack to the west of the Chickasaw Highrise Tower at G and West Broadway.  Our discussion was about what purpose did this tall smoke stack serve?  I thought it was part of the operation of Scotta’s Nursey but maybe the tower predates Scotta’s Flowers and Nursery?? I know before Scotta’s it was Woerz Florist as far back as the mid 1920s.



Just west of this tower a couple hundred yards is something you don’t see much of anymore.  Its an old mechanics lift used to get under cars for repairs.  You drove the car up the ramp and then the mechanic could get under it to work.  I remember as a teen working at Kenneth Chandler’s gas station at East Main and D street.  They had a lift.  When cars needed an oil change, we drove it up on the ramp similar to this one, only smaller.  I remember several times the person who drove their car up on it themselves, were not in the grooves, but instead on top of the grooved trough.  You talk about a predicament.  lol    I was not allowed to drive the customer’s cars up on the ramp.  Elmer “Goat” Elliot did that for me.  The ramp in the pic below is much larger than the one I worked under in the 60s.  I guess this one could be used for larger trucks. Probably the trucks used in Scotta’s Florist business.


We have had several frogs around our place this summer, and as of late a number of small frogs.  This week I found one perched above our front door.  He was watching for lady bugs, which were in abundance the past couple weeks.


Jill and I were in Davis last weekend and had to stop at Smoking Joe’s BBQ joint at the south edge of Davis. We chose the BBQ brisket and believe you me, it was so tender, moist and delicious.  Cooked to perfection.  They are closed on Sunday.





The webpage I created about a month ago to list gas prices in and around Ardmore has been getting a lot of Hits lately. So maybe it is coming in handy for those trying to save money on gas purchases.  I also added to the page a list of stations that do not mix ethanol to their gas. I know those stations I have listed without ethanol are not all of them.  If you know other stations around Ardmore that do not mix ethanol in with the gas, let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Ten cheapest places to buy gas in the Ardmore area……


And my Oklahoma History Boards traffic has really picked up this week.  Lots of new postings.  Check out the Oklahoma History Boards and join in to an already started topic, or start a new topic if you want too!


Q.   What did the Curtis Act of 1898 do?
A.   It ended Native American tribal rule

Q.   Who claimed Oklahoma for France in 1682?
A.   (answer in next week’s T&T)

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Butch: I have a 1996 Jeep Cherokee with 403,000 (not a typo, 403,000 actual miles) on it. No one except me has ever changed the oil and filter and the only oil ever used is Castrol 20/50. Also, each time the oil has been changed, I have added one pint of Marvel Mystery oil. It has the 4.0 litre engine and even with this many miles, only uses a quart of oil every 3,000 miles or so. I have always changed the oil and filter every 10,000 miles. In my opinion, the 4.0 litre engine used in many jeeps is one of the best, if not THE best automobile engine ever built and Marvel Mystery oil is the best additive on the market.” -Royse Samples, Cache, Oklahoma

“I got your email address from the Oklahoma Carter County Genweb link for the Tom Cooper Farms on 12th NW.  I cannot open the picture and was wondering if you have the picture and can email it to me. My father worked there in the 1940’s. Thank you very much for your help.”  -C. Roland Earsom   ursm_17848@brightok.net


“Butch as I recall movie theaters in downtown Ardmore there was the Tivoli Main at B st; the Ritz, later the Park, between Kress and Duke & Ayers; the Paramount on the south side of main between Pedens and Strasmick Jewelers or thereabouts; the Globe on E. Main, the building next to the parking lot Main at Washington on N Side; and on east of that were two theaters one either the Navajo or Arapaho I remember an Indian Cutout on the Marquee and East of that was the Fox theater both in North side of Main between Caddo and Mill street.  Then there was the Jewel Theater east of the Railroad Tracks on the N Side of Main street.  As I recall someone in the family told me the theater in the Ardmoreite building, originally built by the Masonic Order; was called the Princess…not sure about that.  Always enjoy you and your Readers rememberings about old Ardmore.”

“Hello Butch, To the lady who was asking if anyone knew a Ruby Williams from Marietta, yes I knew a Ruby Williams. She also had gone to Meadowbrook School which was located a few miles northwest of Marietta. I too went to school there. The Ruby Williams I knew was born Ruby Vernon who married Buster Williams. She is buried in the Leon cemetery. Whether this is the Ruby Williams this lady is asking about I really wouldn’t know. I believe I knew this lady’s husband also. His name was Richard (Dick), am I correct?”

“I need some help from sharper, and younger, eyes than mine. You printed a photo of this station a couple of weeks or so ago. We want to find out what the words are on the west (right) side of the wind mill. I think the first vertical word is OIL but I can’t figure out the other one. Also, do any of your car buffs know what year the photo was taken?

https://oklahomahistory.net/ttphotos8a/DotysBellStationSulphur.jpgSecondly, if anyone in the Sulphur area wants some bois d’arc wood, they can have the wood if they’ll clean up the area. One branch I cut off one tree today measures about 12 inches in diameter. Another tree is about 23 inches in diameter at the base. My cell phone is 580-618-0444. Thanks , Butch, for a refreshing and memorable news letter..Keep them coming!”  -C. Roland Earsom  ursm_17848@brightok.net

“My mom has an old AHS 1913 Criterion.  In a paragraph near the back it mentions someone named Ray Akers and that he “has given her (Oklahoma) the famous under-ground tunnels of the Criner Mountains.”  We’ve talked about the tunnels under Ardmore main street, but I’ve never heard anyone mention tunnels in the Criner Mountains.  I’m assuming this refers to what we now call the Criner Hills.  Do you have an info on tunnels in the Criner Hills/Mountains?  I did a quick internet search for Ray Akers and got nothing.  My search for Criner Hills Tunnels turned up nothing but geological info about the area.  I’m interested to see what anyone might know about this.”

33 G-Men and famous Oklahoma detectives http://historicalgmen.squarespace.com

“I have enjoyed reading and researching on your  site. Wondering if you have you been out to the Ardmore Airpark lately? Gosh…  they have moved a LOT of dirt for the new runway. I’ll add a couple of pics that  was taken on 10/20/08.”   -Jamie


“Butch, you are probably already getting plenty of  Turner Falls photos but I thought I would throw in my “two cents worth” as they say. Not  much water going over the falls it’s so dry. We really need a good rain.” -Dwane Stevens https://oklahomahistory.net/ttphotos8a/TurnerFalls110108.jpg

“Hello Butch,  To the lady who was asking if anyone knew a Ruby Williams from Marietta, yes I knew a Ruby Williams. She also had gone to Meadowbrook School which was located a few miles northwest of Marietta. I too went to school there. The Ruby Williams I knew was born Ruby Vernon who married Buster Williams. She is buried in the Leon cemetery. Whether this is the Ruby Williams this lady is asking about I really wouldn’t know. I believe I knew this lady’s husband also. His name was Richard (Dick), am I correct?” -Betty Rackley

Several books about Ragtown, Oklahoma by Kenny A. Franks are for sale at www.abebooks.com starting at about $15.  Just do a search for ragtown at www.abebooks.com

“Good evening Butch. Hope all is doing well with you. I read the article about the 1948 car wreck and to my surprise I found out that our neighbor for many years was one of the accident victims. Mrs. Doris Hale was like on of our 10 mothers in Gene Autry as that was how many of us were in school together. Charlie who was Mrs. Hale’s oldest was one of our classmates and one of my best friends. What I saw in the article was that Mrs. Hale was 31 yrs old and had a 25 year old son riding with her which makes her give birth to Charlie at the age of 6. (I think that is a typo). I’m glad to see you all have Gas for less than $2.00 per gallon. Here in Oregon we are still at the $3.00 level with some just under at $2.96 Have a safe Halloween and keep up the good work.” -R. Cole, Bend, OR

“We have a new president elect. I don’t know about you all, but I have been praying for this man for many months even though I do not agree with his philosophy or his party’s platform. I will continue to pray for him and for all of our elected officials. This is right in the Lord, and my desire is always to be in God’s will for my life. I know that I have offended some of you with my continuous emails and my political views. I trust you will all forgive me for any of these offenses. As I have stated from my very first email ever sent that it is not my desire to do anything other than inform, entertain and relate to those who receive my emails, and I have asked at many different times if something I have said or forwarded has been a bother to you, I ask you to reply and I will try to make amends. God is great and greatly to be praised. Let us all continue to praise him daily. All my love.” -Michael https://oklahomahistory.net/ttphotos8a/Voting103108.jpg

“Hi Butch.  I remember…..riding the city bus from E Street to down town on Saturday morning—– It cost a nickel and included a token for the ride back.  The show was a dime, but everyone went down the street before the show and got their popcorn for a dime because it was larger than that sold in the show.  The westerns were common fare and always included a cartoon or two as well….those were great days to grow up in when it was not necessary to lock doors and we could walk to school and town without fear.  Shame we can’t bring back those kinder and gentler times.” -Dale Gant

“Back in the ’60s growing up in Davis, I always heard that “Wild Woman Cave” was located on the Chapman ranch about two miles south of the towers up on top of the Mountains, and a few miles west of I-35. The only way to get on this paved road to this cave was off of Highway 77 going down the south side of the mountains. I heard that some people had gotten lost inside of this cave, and it had been boarded up to keep people out of it. Seems as though an OU geological team entered it before it was boarded up, and it was reported that Wild Woman Cave was probably larger in area than Carlsbad Caverns, but no one seemed to have the money to fix up this cave for public use. This story may or may not be true, but that is what I used to hear back then so long ago.” -Scott Bumgrner, Sherman, TX

“Hi Butch, I just finished reading the latest This ‘N That newsletter and I was delighted to see Dr. Darling’s name listed in an old Lone Grove Ledger article. My dad was born in Dillard, OK in 1921 and he was named after Dr. Darling who delivered him. My dad was William Adelbert Daniel (Dr. William Adelbert Darling) and most all of his family lived in Reck, Healton, Wilson and Dillard/Rexroat. While searching for my great uncles grave marker (Bryant Daniel) in the Hewitt Cemetery, I finally found it and looked up to see Dr. Darling’s grave about 20 yards away. I just wonder if there are others who were named after the old-time doctors in and around Carter County. It wouldn’t surprise me. Keep up the good work.” -Del Daniel in Southern California

“Butch, The land on which the Tiny Chapel at Dickson sets has been sold. The new owner is maintaining the property. I would like to ask you and others interested in preserving this worship place in the solitude to join me in arranging for the permanency of the Chapel. Perhaps we could meet with the new owner and maybe do a fund raiser to purchase the lot and building. Perhaps we could persuade the Churches in Dickson and Mannsville or Falls Creek to cooperate with  youth groups projects doing up keep and maintenance. I just hate to think of dropping by someday when I am passing thru to find it gone. Control of the website I built a few years ago www.TinyChapel.com could be turned over to the administrator.” -Jimmie Dale Martin  jdmartin@pldi.net

I offer my opponents a bargain:  if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.”  –Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952

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
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