PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
Over the years I’ve had several requests for info about where was the Ardmore High School before it opened on North Washington and 2nd Street in 1915. We know from several sources that before statehood the high school was located at G Street and Stanley SW (no Stanley street back then, it was 2nd Ave SW). This is a photo postcard of the Ardmore high school in 1912. I am still trying to find out if the High School building was the same building as 3rd Ward School, or 2 different buildings. I’m almost certain they are one in the same by looking at the photos. 3rd Ward school would later become Lincoln School.
This week Steve Hamm ran across an article showing just prior to the high school moving to 2nd and N. Washington the high school students were housed in temporary quarters on the 2nd floor of the 3rd Ward School on Stanley Street. The article goes on to say on moving day the high school students marched from Stanley and G SW to the new high school on North Washington. Here is the scanned article Steve sent with his email.
Below is a 1907 map showing the 3rd Ward school west of St. Mary’s Church and a street running along the west side of the school. Later that street would be closed off and the school extended on west with a new addition. You can still see part of the red brick street in front of the school today.
By the way, back as late as around 1930 there was a tunnel that ran from Lincoln School, under Stanley Street to the south side of Stanley so students could cross safely. There is, or was, a spot near the entrance of Lincoln school, inside wall, where you could still see the entrance leading down to the tunnel.
Last week I had a wrong link to the infamous deputy sheriff Bud Ballew’s (under sheriff Buck Garrett) old home place in Lone Grove. It is located just west of the Lone Grove Liquor Store, north side of highway.
In the Mailbag below a Reader wrote in this week mentioning a cave 3 miles east of Ardmore years ago. I can not place where that cave would be, maybe someone else knows the answer?
Also in the Mailbag there is interesting info about the “Hell Hole” of Murray County. This mysterious hole was right along Wild Horse Creek just north of the old Fort Arbuckle location around the time of the Civil War. I might have to see if I can bribe T&T Reader Tony King of Texas with a hamburger to take his Good Ship Sandfly along Wild Horse Creek and see if that hole is still there. More on this in the Mailbag below.
Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……
Q. What turnpike between OKC and Tulsa was named for what governor?
A. Roy Turner
Q. What is Oklahoma’s state folk dance?
A. (answer in next week’s issue)
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“My dad (Roy Bennett) and Monte Hignight had B&H Auto just east of the Knox Hotel a couple of doors, across the street from the feed store, back in the late ’50s and early ’60s before they moved toward the other end of Broadway. Dad was working very late one night doing inventory or something and he heard someone trying to break into the store via the roof. He got out that old silver Colt .45 revolver he kept in his desk, called the police, and began looking for where the “thieves” were going to come down through the ceiling. They kept banging around on the roof and making all kinds of racket and when the police arrived they listened a while and began laughing at my dad. Turns out there were several “Johns” and their ladies on the roof enjoying the warm summer weather up on the roof above all the mosquitoes. The police went to the Knox, climbed out on the roof and made a roundup of folks. One “John” was a good customer of dad’s who bought lots of car parts. He was griping to my dad not too long afterward about being arrested at the Knox that night but dad kept his mouth shut. The police did not tell who complained and dad was smart enough not to incriminate himself. I remember him and Monte sharing a good laugh that evening. I laughed, too, being the mature 9 year old I was, but had no idea who the customer was, and still don’t to this day. That was in 1956.” -Bruce Bennett email@example.com
“Butch, I have enjoyed looking at the 1923 Carter County schools book. My mother & her siblings went to Graham and in 1923 she would have been about 8 years old. I strained at the photos, but not yet have I identified her or her older brother Ralph Wolfe. The book also reminded me of many of the schools I had heard about growing up in Lone Grove.” -Cousin Jim Bridges
DEAR SIR, I AM DOING RESEARCH ON MY FAMILY AND FOUND THE PIONEER PAPERS OF 1937. AN INTERVIEW WAS DONE WITH LEE MORGAN “MY GRANDFATHERS BROTHER” AND HE GREW UP AROUND MCMILLIAN, OKLAHOMA. HE MENTIONS A CAVE EAST OF ARDMORE THAT HAD A 3 FOOT ROCK THAT HE ATE OFF OF. I HAVE RACKED MY BRAIN AND I CANNOT PUT THIS ANYWHERE BUT NORTH OF MCMILLIAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS. WOULD YOU PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO PULL UP HIS INTERVIEW WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE. JUST A NOTE MY GRANDFATHER WAS WILL I AM FRANKLIN MORGAN WHO WAS THE COUNTY ASSESSOR IN MARSHALL COUNTY 1930 FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND HAD A GROCERY STORE THERE AS WELL. I AM JUST GETTING STARTED ON THE MORGAN’S. BUT I DO HAVE A QUESTION. WHEN THE INDIANS FILED IN 1899 FOR INDIAN ROLLS, THEY CLAIMED THEIR FATHERS OR MOTHERS WHERE CHOCTAW OR CHICKASAW ETC. HOW DID THEY PROVE THIS?” -JOVITA firstname.lastname@example.org
“I have discovered that a large, old bell outside the Christian Church in Broken Bow, McCurtain Co. Ok has a Bell yoke.” -Louise
“Hi Butch, I sent a note out to our class of 1954 telling them of Steve Hamm’s good work on getting so many of the Ardmore Criterion books online. I’ve heard back so far from probably 15 folks who have checked it out and are impressed with the work Steve has done and appreciative of its availability. Next time you talk to Steve tell him Class of ’54 really thanks him.” -Claire Hamilton
“I really enjoyed this piece on Edward Air Force Base. As an Air Force Vet I was always fascinated by air planes and wanted to fly them. Unfortunately I did not have enough education to go to flight school. I flew in many transport planes but sadly never in a jet nor as a pilot. I was in a radar and radio installation and repair squadron for 12 years. This sure did bring back some great memories from my past. Thanks for running it.”
Carl Garrett email@example.com
Butch: Can’t resist telling this story on the late Henry Berry, the blind shoeshine man at the county courthouse who was loved by all.
One day in the early 70’s when I was District Attorney, I entered the courthouse from the west side and noticed Mr. Berry sitting high on his stand, head resting against the wall, with feet on the footrests. He was fast asleep and quietly snoring. I couldn’t resist playing a little prank on him. Without a word, I simply started giving him a shoe shine, starting with a large brush, then applying polish, finishing off with a shine rag. I worked in silence, not saying a word.
Of course he awakened immediately and started saying “Who’s this? Who’s this? Mr. Wallace? Mr. Bickford? Who are you?” I remained silent, and continued my pro bonno shine work. Henry was really curious, so he started feeling of my head, saying things like “…..oh, you’re Mr. Thomas, aren’t you? Are you Mr. Thomas?” I said nothing, and gave Henry my best shine.
A day or so later I had to confess. I walked up to him and said “Mr. Berry, how did you like that shoe shine I gave you?” He recognized my voice immediately and smiled broadly. “Mr. Clark, I knowed all along that was you.”
He was a fine man. One of the best.
james clark, Ardmore
“The Boy’s Grocery out east on Highway 199….Almost out of Ardmore, on south side of hiway.” -Ben Wells
“Butch, A different perspective on the cedar tree. Forests or wooded areas all go through a change throughout the years. They evolve through grasslands, immature forests, and mature forests. Sometimes a couple of different kinds of grass land.
For instance there might be a short grass area, then tall grass, then so called weed trees, and finally a mature forest. Cedar trees are one of the weed trees of this area, but they are a natural part of the process. Another tree that is a weed tree can be found in the Rockies. We see lots of very good looking pines and spruce now, but the weed trees are still there in spots, some quite large. What are these weed trees…aspen.
The cedar trees have taken over this area because of a natural evolution from grassland or as a shortcut because we cut all the mature trees. Same with the aspen, they are the first tree to come back after fire in areas above a certain elevation. (5000 to 7000 feet depending on the latitude)’ -Larry
“Butch — I saw the letter in this weeks T&T from Caitlin Higginbotham concerning the grave marker near Mannsville. My great grandfather, Allen Brown, along with his family moved to Burneyville in 1897. My grandfather, Kelly Brown (one of Allen’s sons), was a member of the first graduating class of Ardmore High School in 1903. Allen Brown was born in 1844, and he had a younger brother named John Brown who was supposedly born in about 1853. I have no further information or date of death for John Brown. It’s possible that John followed Allen and family when they moved to the Ardmore area from Kentucky in 1897. On the other hand there are a lot of John Browns. However, it does tie pretty well to what little I know about John Brown. Allen and his wife, Eliza, are buried in Rosehill Cemetery along with two of their sons and a daughter. My grandfather, Kelly, is buried in Muskogee where he lived most of his life after practicing law in Ardmore for several years. Allen and Eliza’s grave marker in Rosehill has the words “Kentucky Pioneers” engraved on it.” -Dick Lindsly — Frisco, Texas
Map where John Brown’s lone grave marker is located northeast of Mannsville
“Does anyone remember in the 60’s a train fell off of the railroad trestle bridge just south of Big Canyon south of Davis, all I remember is that there were box cars in the Washita river far below the tall bridge, and bunches of bananas floating down the river. If anyone remembers the date I will go to the Ardmoreite and find the story.” -Doug Williams.
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The Daily Ardmoreite
January 28, 1935
“Flaming Hole” at Fort Arbuckle Still Puzzles Confederate Veteran
by Helen Lane of Healdton
Mr. Wright, recently of Stillwell, but now at the Confederate home in Ardmore will be 90-years-old March 10. To the writer this seems an impossibility, so keen and alert is his mind.
He served with General Stand Watie and his Confederate Indian brigade during the Civil War. He was in camp at Fort Arbuckle in the winter of 1864 and remembers its mistletoe when everything else was dead. The following summer while still stationed there, he discovered what he calls the “burning hole.
As he remembers, this hole is located on the south side of Wild Horse Creek, right at its edge. It was approximately a 40 gallon barrel round hole. About two and a half feet down was water boiling like a pot all the time. The water was black but he was positive it wasn’t oil His Cherokee father had seen oil in Georgia long before he had moved to Oklahoma. It was probably gas, but he doesn’t know.
Mr. Wright experimented with this strange phenomenon, carefully, and the least bit fearfully at first. He poked around in it with sticks, then he tied a few leaves on a stick, touched a match to them and threw the stick into the hole. An explosion followed and a blue blaze consumed the leaves and stick. It seemed to burn on top of the water but just as soon as the stick was consumed the blaze went out like a blaze on a cup of whiskey when a saucer is placed over it.
That summer, Mr. Wright’s father, Cornelius Wright, and his uncle, Joel Bryant visited him. He took them to see this wonder of wonders as he believed it to be, and to experience the sensation of throwing a torch into it. His father put leaves on a stick, lighted it and then unheedful of his son’s warnings, stooped down over the hole to place the stick on the water. It flashed like powder! And scared was no name for Mr. Wright’s father! He exclaimed, “Hell ain’t half a mile from this place!”
Soon after that Mr. Wright’s company was called away. Mr. Wright left with the sole intention of soon returning to learn more about his new discovery but fortune prevented. He was wounded shortly after leaving Fort Arbuckle in the Battle of Cabin Creek and lay in a hospital at Perryville until the close of the war. Now old, afflicted, and unable to make the short trip to Wild Horse creek, he spends his time wondering and musing about it.
The days rush by to form the years
The years to decades steal away
It seems today is hardly here
When lo! it turns to yesterday.
And so the pleasant time has passed
‘Till all this farewell imparts
Of grief and joy we know at least
And new-born wonder fills our hearts.
Perhaps one never understands
To full extent, nor learns to praise
And thank enough the loving hands
That shows the path in learning’s maze.
We face the future with a smile
With faith in all she holds in store
And yet we fain would wait awhile
And live our school day pleasures more.
Love and joy may the future bring
And may the bright years as they pass
Fulfill each hope and heal each sting
Grant glory and honor to our class.
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443
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Ardmore High School Criterions Online
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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