PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
During the past 15 years of this newsletter, quite often someone will write in about Ardmore’s historic Hamburger Inn. The Hamburger Inn started in 1938 by Ernest and Lillian Brown, and one of the most infamous stories involved their chief cook, Chock Thompson. It all took place about 1975… Ardmoreites called it the “hamburger war”. Eventually Mr. Brown would sell his business to his great nephew, Jimmie Dale Brown. Here is the story about Ardmore’s hamburger war in Jimmie Dale’s own words:
“My great uncle and aunt, Ernest and Lillian Brown, founded the Hamburger Inn in 1938 at #32 North Washington across the street from where it is now. The present location was built in 1956. I wish I would of taken notes on all the history he shared with me, it was really something.
Uncle Ernest was 57 when he retired, A self-made millionaire. Not many people knew it or would of thought it, “Hamburgers bought it”, was one of his favorite sayings. He came from Fredrick Oklahoma, with $800 saved up, an old Model A Ford, a good wife and started Ardmore’s Hamburger Inn. Put his faith and trust in God, with his personal life and in his business. He later bought 40 acres for $3000 and later sold the first lot for $4000.00. And he said to me who would of thought it, “Hamburgers bought it”. Then he started investing heavy in the stock market, one of his favorite stocks was OG&E.
Uncle Ernest sold us, Jimmie Dale and Daline Brown, the business January 1, 1970
with the stipulation we could not tell anyone, and we had to work for him the first 6 months. I worked in the front, Daline in the back with Aunt Lillian, learning the pies, and hot cake (pancake) batter. That way the employees would be used to us and Hamburger Inn customers would be used to us also. I would know the business, and almost every person’s name when they came in the front door.
Chock Thompson, Oleta Thompson, Jean and Lawanna Stewart, and Ceicel Johnson had worked there since it opened. Hamburgers were 20 cents. By 1975 hamburgers were 35 cents, I still had the same original crew and things were going great.
In 1975, a school teacher and coach from Texas talked Chock into going to work for him. So he opened up Chock’s Burger Land across the street on the corner there by that little alley or side street (Paradise Alley). Of course he had copied my menu and prices to the “t”. The teacher told Chock they could put the Hamburger Inn out of business.
Chock didn’t have the hot cake or pie recipes, but everything else.
I started selling hamburgers 5 for a dollar, then 6 for a dollar, then 8 for a dollar. After 6 months, Chock came to me and asked if he could come back home. Of course I was more than elated to have him back at the Hamburger Inn where he belonged. He lived there 12-13 hours a day, 6 days a week and you could depend on him.
So there was an empty building for rent again across the street, and I was happy, and Chock was happy. I don’t think the man from Texas shared our joy, but what the heck.” -Jimmie Dale Brown
Emails about the Hamburger Inn from the archives:“My favorite order at Hamburger Inn was always called back to Chock as “2 coneys crying in a basket on wheels.” Translation for the younger folks, thats 2 coneys with onions and french fries to go. Can’t remember what was called out for the pecan pie, too busy enjoying it.” -Ken Jensen
“Hello Butch, The educated hamburger got it name from Ernest Brown (owner of the Hamburger Inn). He was selling these in the late 1930’s and through the 1960’s. He had a place across the street from the U.S. Post Office on North Washington street. His little diner only had 7 (seven) stools for customers to sit on. He had 2 (two) cooks Chock and Blondy. Ernest would call the orders out to them and this is what he would say. MAKE ME 2 (TWO) WITH TEARS, (these had grilled onions and pickles on them) or he would say PUT 2 THROUGH SCHOOL, (these were the educated hamburgers with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise) I have many fond memories of eating at the original “HAMBURGER INN”. -Joe Dale Black
“Well, I can’t claim to have been a witness to the invention of the term “Educated Hamburger,” but back in high school at AHS, I had the money to eat at the Hamburger Inn maybe once a week — and always looked forward to it. My standard order? “Educated Cheeseburger basket and a glass of buttermilk, please.” Inevitably, others sitting around the bar there would look at me like they might like to “move a seat or two further away from me.” Got my love of buttermilk from my Dad and my grandfather, I guess — and when you want buttermilk, nothin’ else will do. The Browns ran a top-notch establishment. The ladies who waited on us were always the same — friendly, patient and unflappable. Chock was at the grill. And Mrs. Brown’s chocolate pies! Sort of a chocolate chiffon with chopped pecans on top. I often wonder if anybody else knows how to make that pie! 30 years removed from those days, I’ve dreamed a time or two about sitting at my regular place down on the north end of the bar where it and the seats “turn west.” I never went in there but what I remembered the FIRST time — when I was a little kid and Dad and I stopped in there on what must have been a Saturday afternoon — probably on the way home from Stolfa’s.” -Tom Elmore
“My brother and sister were born at the Hardy Sanitarium and my mother’s doctor was Arthur T. Godfrey (I think that’s the correct name). I’m glad somebody finally spoke up about the “burned onions” on the hamburgers. They were cooked on the grill and not burned at all. I used to go to work with my dad and he would take me to lunch there with him and I was so short I could hardly get up on the stools and then I was afraid I would fall off. I didn’t remember any of the employees names until reading the T&T today. I remember dad using Chock’s name. Was he a Choctaw Indian? Is that why he was called Chock? Thanks for all the memories you and your readers stir up. It’s like a trip to the past every Saturday morning. I get up and get on the computer the first thing so I can read T & T.” -Loretta Koons
“I would like to pass an experience about the Hamburger King along to your T&T gang. I was in the Hamburger Inn and Ernest was telling us about things that had happened there in the past. He told of a fellow that came in to buy a pie. Ernest said that he asked him if he wanted the pie sliced in 4 or 6 pieces. The man thought a while and said 4 pieces cause I don’t think I can eat 6. He told of a man that would come in and bet other customers that he could drink a bottle of tobasco. He would always win and head for the liquor store. I did not see anything mentioned in anyone’s response about the employees. There was Chock, Baldy, Jean and her sisters & Ronnie Burns, plus many others that I can’t recall.”
“Dear Mr. Bridges, Mark Lauderdale here. I have a story that is rather amusing, at least to me, regarding my experience with my request for an educated cheeseburger. I had never really traveled much until I joined the Navy at the age of 19. My first flight on a “Jet” airplane was from Oklahoma City to San Diego, California via Los Angeles for boot camp. This was in August of 1973. You could say I had never been much beyond Dallas and OKC in those 19 years. While attending school to become a Navy Hospital Corpsman at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego I was in a long line of sailors in the chow hall. As the line inched its way up to the short order section a big burley cook in rolled up T-shirt sleeves and rolled down white hat (standard Navy issue type), I ask for an Educated Cheese Burger, fries and coke. Just as Mr. Brown and Chock had trained those of us who ate at the Hamburger Inn each day while at Ardmore High School. Well, we know how colorful a sailors vocabulary can be. I was told to give him my order or he would kick my “educated” (substitute a word for behind that rhymes with class here) out the door. Then I ask for “old fashion” which is common lingo for all the Sonic drive ins’ and again was rewarded with a mouthful of slurs no mother would love to hear their son say. Scared and feeling two feet tall I ask for fries and coke and left as fast as I could. This started my “education” process in the ways of the world where I learned to keep my mouth shut and my ears open. Now I have traveled the world many times and received a good “education” that is taking me through a fantastic life.” -Mark Lauderdale AHS 72
“As a kid I ate lots of burgers at the original Hamburger Inn on the east side of Washington. If I recall, adding the lettuce and tomato to the regular fried-onion burger made it “educated”. I can remember the waitress taking orders and yelling to Chock, the cook, “fix one – and send it to school”. She had codes for other things like chili, etc., but I can’t remember them.”
Back in the late 60s I had ridden my CB77 305cc Honda Superhawk to the Hamburger Inn to get one of those burned onion burgers. Chock came to the window to wait on me, and I asked him to put more grilled onions on the burger. His reply to me was, “more onions and a small piece of meat.” -Butch Bridges
“Never forget, first month after uncle Ernest Brown sold the Hamburger Inn to me, me and my wife went to, I think it was Birds Music on Main St. bought her a new Baldwin piano, $850.00, wrote a Hamburger Inn check for the purchase, she said I will be right back, she called the police, told them someone was trying to use a stolen check on Hamburger Inn. I explained to her that I had bought it and it was my check and it was good. She said I know Ernest Brown and he would never sell the Hamburger Inn, he makes too much money there to do that. Well after contacting my Uncle, the police said they were satisfied, and purchase was completed. All she had to say was, I can’t figure out why he would ever sell that place.” -Jimmie Dale Brown
“When I was in the 9th grade Uncle Ernest would let me work there part time. $40.00 A week, unbelievable!!!! Never dreaming at that time I would own the Hamburger Inn some day.” -Jimmie Dale Brown
Speaking of hamburgers, many will remember the old Fireman’s Lunch across the street east from City Hall at Hinkle and South Washington. The proprietor was Jelly Lightsey, and his son Frank shared a photo of he and his dad standing behind the counter inside the bus station. Back in those days many of the Station 1 Fire Department members would cross the street to eat lunch at Jelly’s. While there eating, there was a small bell mounted on the wall so those firemen could be notified if the fire alarm bell inside the firehouse went off, to immediately return to the station to respond to a fire call.
Frank Lightsey wrote: “The cook/owner’s name was E. H. (Jelly) Lightsey. He was my Dad. A fine man and a great cook. He owned Fireman’s Lunch for many years but he cooked at many places along the way like Hamburger Inn, Priddy’s, Elmo Edens, and The Green Frog to name a few.”
Found a new utility that looks promising to keep the computer cleaned up and running smooth. I haven’t had time to really check it out yet, so hopefully it will be a good product.
So you say your computer is slowed down to a crawl with spyware and trojans? I am still promoting as my Number 1 free utility SUPERantispyware to clean up such a computer.
My Number 2 utility to clean up a computer and make it run faster is ComboFix. Its a free utility and I’ve tested it on a couple really old computers and they DID run faster!
From This and That newsletter archives of June 20, 1998:
Another giant step has been taken at the courthouse, thanks to our local cablevision company, CableOne. CableOne installed the hardware so the sheriffs office can monitor our courthouse 24 hours a day via several video security cameras. Last December the courthouse started holding Initial Appearances between the courtroom and the jail, thanks to fiber optics cable installed by CableOne. And soon we going to be able to connect three computer networks in three different buildings via fiber optic cables, all provided at not cost to the taxpayers by CableOne.
Q. Ft Sill is the home of one branch of the U.S. Army. Which branch is that?
Q. What Oklahoma town is the nation’s wheat capital?
A. (answer in next week’s newsletter)
Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……
https://oklahomahistory.net/gasprices.htmlSome mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..
“Hi Butch, we were at Lake Murray last weekend for a family reunion. I went over to Tucker’s Tower and took these images from the top of the tower and around the marina. It is a hard climb to the top of the tower for an old man, but I got the “mission accomplished.” It was sad to hear that shortly after we left the area, an 18 year old boy drowned. Have a good week.” -Cecil in OKC
“The T&T item about the well bucket in last weeks T&T got my attention. Funny how something awakens a series of memories. The ‘torpedo bucket’ name is new to me but that was the only kind of bucket that could go down a bored well. Looks like it would be hard to pour out the water but it has a ring at the top that you pull to let the water out the bottom.
Bored wells were about six inches in diameter that were bored or drilled by machine. Usually they had a galvanized iron casing, About 1930 my uncle sank a well in his place about half mile East of the turn-off to Gene Autry out East of town. It had to be bored bigger because he used cypress wood casing he considered the latest and greatest. It was made by six fitted planks about an inch thick. Probably cost him a lot. Water had a strange taste for a while.
Galvanized was probably good enough because in my back yard is one 115 feet deep sunk in the 1920, still OK as far as I can tell.
There were also ‘dug’ wells but rarely seen around here. A dug well had to be 4 or 5 feet in diameter because it was dug by manpower. It had to be big enough for a man, down in the hole, to bend over and dig and shovel the earth while someone else pulled it to the surface. The hole could have the walls lined with bricks or stone depending on the the ground it was dug in.
In the oil fields another well drilling method was the ‘spudder’ that just pounded its hole into the earth. The “Fort Worth Spudder” was being replaced by the rotary rig in the 1920s. I recall spudder’s ‘walking beam’ going up and down as it pounded its hole, while water carried its mud out into the slush pit. The rotary rig (drilling rig), modernized is used today. My Dad had worked the oil fields and took me out around Healdton where he knew a lot of the people, rough-necks, drillers, pumpers, etc. Reminds me of a pump station with a huge one cylinder natural gas engine, 12 inch cylinder bore and 6-8 foot flywheels. It powered a turn table that pulled rods going out several hundred feet to the pumpjacks 6 or 8 wells at a time. Today mostly replaced by diesel or electric pumps at each well.” -Bob McCrory
“Hi Butch, Speaking of discovering Oklahoma history, a few years ago I did a little bicycle tour to follow General Custer’s march route from Camp Supply to the battle site on the Washita River near Cheyenne.” -Jim Foreman
The 2011 Berwyn School reunion will be held at the Senior Center in Gene Autry at 3:30 PM on Saturday July 2nd. Dinner will be at 5:30 PM. Please make your reservations now by contacting Jo Lee Dillion Foster 580-223-5238 Jl.firstname.lastname@example.org , Pat Conway Whitener 580-504-0444 email@example.com or Richard (Butch) Haney firstname.lastname@example.org .We encourage all to attend, and come and visit with your friends and classmates. -Richard (Butch) Haney
“I was shocked to learn today that electronics writer Bob Pease was killed in an auto accident in CA. I have followed his writings for 20 years and his columns were my primary reason to continue to subscribe to and read the magazine, Electronic Design. His column was called Pease Porridge and was usually the last article in the magazine. I always turned to it first. Bob’s many patents will continue to astound the electronic community. He inspired me to continue to praise analog circuits over the cold sounds of digital and just this past week I’ve been comparing the specs of several new analog mic and line mixer consoles designed by the German firm by Behringer. I already own some Behringer components and have found them to be both innovative and of extremely high quality.
The electronics industry has lost another true pioneer in Bob Pease and he will be sorely missed.” -Roy Kendrick
Wilson Fire Dept Hamburger Cookout & Fireworks Display. Sunday, July 3 at 6:30pm at Wilson Softball Field. $5 a plate, Live Entertainment provided by Logan Russell Band, Shotgun Raffle @ 8 pm, Fireworks display @ dark, … The Wilson Volunteer Fireman will be taking donations at the gate & will be greatly appreciated. Than you for your support!
“Butch I am about to wrap up the WWII albums for the Wilson Historical Museum. These albums will be for sale and have bios, pics and newspaper articles about Wilson’s service men and women who served during World War II. I am still searching for a few pictures. These are mostly of those who were killed in action. I am hoping you will put this list on your T&T so that the loved ones of these men might see it and send me a picture of them. The picture can be in or out of military uniform. Please DO NOT send originals as they may be lost or destroyed in the mail. Please send a copy or scan and email me a pic at:
723 Hewitt Rd
Wilson, OK 73463
DEADLINE – JUNE 30, 2011
PICTURES NEEDED (updated list) OF WILSONITES:
Billie Joe Dukes, son of H. H. Dukes
Bob Ivan Hodges, son of Henry Hodges
Clifford Otto Wood
Darell L. Stevens, son of ??? Born 2-12-1920 – KIA 6-18-1944
Halley L. Bahner, son of Ralph Waldo Bahner
Harold D. Fulton, son of ?? Born 5-11-1917 – KIA 6-12-1944
James Harris, son of Charles and Zoe Harris
Richard Harris, son of Charles and Zoe Harris
James M. Isham, son of James Isham
Jesse C. Holloway, son of Wallace Holloway
Jay Holloway, may be the same person as Jesse or a brother
John W. Lofton, son of William Lofton
Leonard Walker, brother of Roy Walker
Luey Haines, so of Otis Haines
R. P. Holt, son of David Holt died 6-9-1945 at sea
Roy Elmo Barrett, father of Ken Barrett
Rufus G. Hale, son of William Hale
Virgil P. Sexton, son of James Sexton
Woodrow Bryan Carroll, son of James and Maggie Carroll
Woodrow Wilson Idleman, son of George and Mary Idleman
The Dust Bowl Years: “Merciless winds tore up the soil that once gave the Southern Great Plains life and hurled it in roaring black clouds across the nation. Hopelessly indebted farmers fed tumbleweed to their cattle, and, in the case of one Oklahoma town, to their children. By the 1930s, years of injudicious cultivation had devastated 100 million acres of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico.” -Timothy Egan
Current U.S. drought map.
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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