PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
In the past 75 or more years I’m sure there are many Ardmoreites (99.9 percent of them men) who can say they’ve been to the Knox Hotel on East Broadway. But I am probably one of the very few who can say I have been to that house of ill-repute, but not for pleasure. The Knox has long been known, even before my time, as a house of prostitution throughout its years on East Broadway just a 1/2 block west of Caddo and the red light district. Many of the women who ‘worked’ there were part of a circuit, coming from the bigger cities like Kansas City, Tulsa, Dallas and Oklahoma City, stay a few days, then move on to another town.
It was about 1975 or 80 when I was working at the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service we received a call to pick up a man who had fallen on the wooden stairway and injured himself. When we arrived and took our gurney up to one of the rooms on the second floor, there was an 80 something black man with a broken hip. The “inn keeper” told us the man had lived there in one of the rooms for 20 years or more. He was the nicest gentleman as I recall and it took my partner and I and the help of several bystanders to get him down that long stairway for transport to the hospital.
That one incident was years ago, but I remember it very vividly. Since I had heard all the goings on at the Knox Hotel since I was a teen, one can imagine all the looking and gawking I was doing while on the second floor back in the 70s. Of course, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, except for the only lady who seemed to run the place. I wondered to myself, is she one of “them” or is she not?
The past couple of years Jerold and Sandra Wells along with a couple of partners have been remodeling the old Knox Hotel into a condominium. This week they had a open house so I went to see what changes have been made to the building. It has been completely remodeled from one end to the other into several super nice lofts. This first picture I took is of the front of the building which is located directly across on the north side from The Market on Broadway where local farmers take their produce to sale.
When I walked through that front door I saw the long stairway leading to the upstairs. Today the stairs has been carpeted, but back in the 70s when I was there it was all wood and every step I took squeaked.
But before we go upstairs there are enclosed parking garages on both sides where the new owners who purchase one of the condominiums will be able to park their cars.
Now that we’ve seen the downstairs, let’s go upstairs to the lofts and look around. There are several for sale.
The Wells’ postcard invitation this week reads: “the old Red is now Green” referring that the old red light district of Caddo and Broadway is now gone and a beautiful condominium is in its place!
Speaking of downtown Ardmore, I was walking along Main Street the other day and ran across any interesting brick inlaid in the sidewalk. Inscribed on the brick was “Nesch Pittsburg Brick”. After doing some googling I found that a Mr Nesch owned a brick paver company in Pitsburg, Kansas around 1900.
In September 1906, one of the worst train accidents ever in the history of this country, took place just south of a small town named Dover, Oklahoma. Heavy rains had washed away the bridge that night as the Rock Island train from Texas north bound for Kansas came through, all but one car plunged into the Cimarron River. Reports were sketchy, but of the 225 passengers on board, over 100 would lose their lives that night. One early report said that only one man, Floyd Zeist, survived the disaster. One thing is for certain, it would be one of the most deadly train accidents in this country’s history.
A Reader wrote in this week asking where she could find the book Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers published in 1983 by Ardmoreites Dr. Layton Sutton and Virginia “Patty” Norton. I did a search for CARTER COUNTY PIONEERS on www.abebooks.com and found 2 for sale! These books are hard to come by.
Ernest Wallerstein who lived here in Ardmore (1950s) during the Ardmore Indians baseball heyday, sent me a pic of his place in NJ where all the snow has been falling this week. He said they are doing fine, just staying inside. But it looks like their weather is turning for the worse the past 24 hours… more snow.
Doug Williams sent in a photo this week he took of an owl sitting on a fence near Tulsa. How anyone could shoot one of these beautiful creatures I will never know, but it happens quite often. People can be so mean.
Since weather predictor extraordinaire, Buster Ned, is no longer with us, I’m always looking for that better weather radar website, and this week I found one that looks promising. So easy to use, only 2 screens, 1 for precipitation, and 1 for temperatures across the nation. If you click on the rain/snow screen on the left, across the bottom of the box is listed the next four days. You scroll your mouse over the hrs in each day, and the rain forecast changes across the nation as your mouse moves from left to right. Pretty neat.
Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……
Q. What is Oklahoma’s colors?
A. Green and white
Q. What famous west bound trail went through Oklahoma?
A. (answer in next week’s issue)
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Butch, I enjoyed the story about Henry and Hollie Berry. Henry was shining shoes at John’s Barber Shop (I can’t remember his last name) on N. Washington when my boys were little. We got to know Henry and became good friends. When I worked at the courthouse, Henry had the concession stand. My name was Anthony at the time but for some reason he always called me Mrs. Armstrong. We teased each other a lot. Sometimes I would give him a dollar and he would give me change. I would tell him that I gave him a ten. He would look puzzled at first, feel the bill again and say “I don’t think so, Mrs. Armstrong” then he would realize that I was teasing and start laughing and say “Oh, Mrs. Armstrong!!” There was no way you could fool that man. I don’t know how he did it, but he knew exactly what you gave him every time, new or worn or torn, he knew. Hollie was on that courthouse lawn when the first pecan fell and she was there until the last one fell. She got her exercise. Both were lovely people.
My mom worked at Kent’s drive in on N. Commerce. There was also a Mrs. Edwards and her two daughters who worked there. Purnie was the manager and I can’t remember her last name now but I have seen articles about her in T&T before. She and her husband owned several restaurants in Ardmore at various times. Her step-son owned the Corral Restaurant at one time. Mother was in her 70s at the time but James called and asked her to come help him get started, so she did. James had the best catfish.
My daughter and I recently stopped at the Rock Cafe in Stroud for a hamburger. Very good. I do like my hamburgers” -Frances Dunlap
“Back in the late 40s or early 50s, there was a store at the corner of Washington and Main that sold and installed a kit made by Whizzer. It included a motor, gas tank, and drive assembly that would convert your bicycle into a motor bike. I believe it sold for around $100 installed. As I recall, it would move you along about 30 mph, however, those old Bendix brakes weren’t good at stopping you at that speed. You can still find the Whizzer on EBAY. -ML Patten, Missoula, MT.
“I just finished making this book for Maranda and Allie about their trip to South Africa in December. I thought you might enjoy looking at it. Jaree took some beautiful pictures.” -Sylvia Moore
“Hi Butch and Jill! Hope ya’ll are staying warm there, I heard you had an ice storm too. The trees on my property in Lindsay are all missing limbs, and some of the guineas toes froze off!” -Bonnie
“Butch, here is a interesting picture of John G. Barron that was made at Camp Douglas, Illinois. He was taken prisoner September 9, 1863 at Cumberland Gap and held prisoner at Camp Douglas, Illinois. This is Scheryl’s Great Great Grandfather. This is a POW picture, I am thinking he was a Rebel in the Confederate Army.” -Doug Williams
“Butch, I do not know if anyone writes to you when they lost a loved one. My Father, Frank Hamula, died 1/31/2010. He had two tours in Vietnam and one in Korea. He received the bronze star. He had 7 children and was married to my Mother 57 years. He will be truly missed. Thank you.” -BJ Landrum
“Year 1946, Spring after my father died, J. C. Renfro, I was 12 and needed to have some income to get a model airplane engine. I saw this Primrose Farms milk truck at the grocery across the street. I told my mother I was going to try to get a job. and went to the store to talk with the driver. He was one Tommy Anastastio, who almost immediately said 50 cents a day and all the milk you can drink. I went home and told mom I had a job, and left with Tommy. He was almost exactly like Lou Costello of “Abbott and Costello’ movies… You know “Whose on First” etc. Well we had a good summer, Whittington Pool was closed due to the polio epidemic, so after we completed our work in the afternoons, we would drive out to Lake Murray and swim at the swimming beach, (not the one near the marina now, but further north, perhaps near the Lodge. This was my first time to work with Tommy.
That summer, I would get up at 3:30 AM to go to the Farm with Tommy and help load the truck. Tommy was a little hard of hearing, so if he was late, I would try to call him. Tommy’s wife was a telephone operator working that shift, and she would be calling too. Finally I would hear the old Hudson Terraplane engine start up (no mufflers), 10 blocks away and Tommy would pick me up to go to Mort Woods Primrose Farms, out by Dornick Hills CC. Learned a lot about pasteurizations and other things. Within a month I had the $12.00 to buy an Ohlsson 60, which probably could run your bike. It would swing a 14″ prop, and was a Glo Plug Methanol and castor oil mixture fueled vibrating monster, 0.60 cc.
I was with Tommy when he stopped by the Pack A Sac just south of Colverts on So. Washington (Lake Murray Drive?) to call on “Gunner” Thompson, owner of all the pac-a-saks and of Thompson’s out on I think between McLish and Bixby across the Highway. Well Summer was over and I had several jobs, and Tommy became manager of the Pac_A Sac out on NW 12 and the highway. I worked I think two summers for Tommy at that location, including the year I graduated, 1952, before moving to Norman and OU, I never heard anything about his NY connections, but he was a fine man and good manager. His Restaurant came sometime after, and I heard later about his illness and bad experience in Dallas at his death. Tommy and Gunner were in the Army Air Force at the Air Base.” -Jim Renfro
“Castor Oil – oh, yes, I do remember that vile-tasting stuff. Mama would measure the castor oil into a large serving spoon, then squeeze fresh orange juice over the oil to fill the spoon. I love orange juice now, but there were a few years in there when I couldn’t drink it!” -Nell Hull, Plano, Texas
“Butch: Received T&T ok after you posted! Was concerned because I had just downloaded Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus a couple of days ago, thought it may block T&T but was not the case! I really like this Antivirus! I found it on T&T! Thanks a bunch! best I have ever used! Very best to you and Jill.” -Hoot Gilbert
“Hi Butch and Jill, Happy days to you both. In regards to the person writing about Castor Oil and Vicks Salve. I only have three words for Castor Oil: Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! Whenever my sisters and I had a cold, I remember my mother rubbing Vicks Salve on our neck and pinning a sock over it. It sure opened up those stuffy noses.” -Leona
“Hi Butch – I graduated Ardmore High School in 1958 and want to say the article by Neal Freeman and picture of Main Street is priceless. Also wish I had a picture of the Super Dog – just memories of wearing out the trail around it. The Vick’s Salve and Castor Oil I’m sorry to say also bring back memories. I’ve been gone from Ardmore since 1963 but is still fresh in my memory.” -Jo Bradly
When the Snow is on the Roses
Now the golden sun can see us kiss
Every summer day we’ll love like this
When the snow is on the roses
When the bluebirds flown away
In my arms we’ll both remember
All the love we share today.
As we walk along the silvery shore
Vows we make will last forever more
When the snow is on the roses
When the summer stars are gone
One more summer will be over
But our love will still go on
When the snow is on the roses…
All the love we share today.
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443
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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
Ardmore School Criterions
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