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Vol 17  Issue 864 August 15, 2013

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402 Email:  butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net Phone: 580-490-6823

1975 at Griffith, Indiana by Ken Updike

We had just had a supervisors meeting in Dell Falls, Wisconsin. It was Friday the 13th, 1975. We had got home rather late in Madison Wisconsin.

Dave (My Boss) called me from the office.  Get down here quick.  The propane cavern at Griffith has ruptured!  (Griffith, Indiana)

What really had happened was that a pump company had pulled the deep well pump out of the cavern for repairs.  They were supposed to put a manifold blind over the opening, which they had done, but forgot to bolt it in place.

Sometime during the nite a pipeline started delivering propane into the cavern.  The pressure finally overcame the waterhead they had put in the cavern to keep the propane from coming out while they had the well pulled.  And a gusher  of propane was shooting 200 to 300 feet in to the air.

Civil defense, local law enforcements, and fire departments of Griffith, Indiana blocked off a mile square around the terminal.  Propane was shooting straight up into the air.  This was really quite serious.  There was over a 55 Thousand barrels of propane in this cavern and it was spewing out into the atmosphere. 

Back at the office in Madison.  We had gathered all of the engineers together and was having a conference call with the President.  He was also the CEO for my Pipeline.

I just blurted out the only way to stop the propane was to start pumping water into the cavern and hope it will overcome the pressure of the gas and eventually shut it off.

We relayed to Griffith what to do and Dave and I were on our way.  (It was about a 200 mile trip) from Madison thru Chicago and on to Griffith, Indiana.

We kept tuned to the radio.  And every once in a while they would interrupt the music with a bulletin that two experts were on their way from Wisconsin to Griffith, to stop this leaking cavern.  Dave and I would turn, look at each other, and laugh our heads off!   We had no idea what the **** we were going to do.

When we got there, they liked to not have let us in.  Had to show all kinds of credentials.  We had only been there about an hour when the water finally started coming up thru the hole mixed with propane and it started making big chunks of ice.

Pretty soon a chunk of ice hit an overhead light and broke it out.  This caused ignition!  Not a real big bang.  More like a gigantic Swoooosh.  There was so much pressure, the flame never got down to the piping.  It was shooting 200 feet into the air.  This was the biggest damn BIC lighter I had ever seen.  This burned for about two to three hours.

Actually it was safer, because the gas was being burned up and couldnt go get ignited somewhere or some place else.  I walked down and checked several tanks in the area to see if they were getting hot, but all of the flame and heat was going straight up.  There was little or no wind.  Thank God for that.

Pretty soon the flame started to die down.  It finally got down to one or two feet. Me and ??? (I cant remember his name) put on rain slickers, got a blind flange and some bolts.  The fire department sprayed  us with water, and we walked in to the manifold.  We laid the flange on the pipe and it went out.  It was pretty hot so we sprayed water on it until it cooled and we bolted it down.

This was my most heroic deed in the oil fields.

Thanks to Steve Hamm and Larry Smith, the Ardmore Criterion website has 3 more books. The  1905, 1906 and 1907 Ardmore Criterions. The 1905 and ’06 are before statehood!


Nowhere in the United States can a person find more school criterions online (and free for viewing). What an accomplishment for Ardmore and a big Thank You goes to Ardmoreite Steve Hamm for doing all the scanning and webpages!

Lightning hit a tree a mile west of our place (here south of Lone Grove, Oklahoma) and knocked all the bark off the tree. One reader thought it happened because of the rain and moisture in and under the bark, caused a steam explosion.  You talk about bare naked. Unbelievable.



This week the Daily Ardmoreite printed the Tuesday the 13th issue to open from left to right, in recognition of Left Handed Day.  Neat!


I saw this 3 wheel motorcycle sitting in front of a house on Myall Road yesterday.  Interesting.


Q.  Who was the first African-American to be elected judge in Oklahoma?
A.  Amos T. Hall was appointed Special Judge of the District Court of Tulsa County in 1969 and served until 1970. In 1970 he was elected associate district judge of Tulsa County and served in that capacity until his death in 1971.

Q.  What Oklahoma Olympic medalist was given an American Indian name?
A.  (answer in next week’s T&T)

From This and That newsletter archives of August 14, 1999:

This photo was taken about 1982 near Pecan Grove at Lake Murray, just south of Ardmore. It is a motorcycle-auto wreck. One man lost his leg, the other man lost an arm. I was the ambulance attendant and Bill Lewis was the driver. EMT volunteer Dennis Dill, far left, was helping that day on the ambulance. Dennis worked at the guard shack at Uniroyal Tire, and helped us on the weekends. The Trooper in the pic is Terry Dickson. He and I only lived a couple of blocks from each other during childhood days. Left to Right: Dennis Dill, Marc Neustadt, Susie Norman, Bill Lewis, Butch Bridges (in white uniform on right), and Trooper Terry Dickson.

This week I received the publication “Oklahoma Living”. In this August issue was a nice write-up about several Oklahoma courthouses along with photos. They had a beautiful photo of the Marietta, Oklahoma courthouse (Love County) along with the following caption: “The dome atop the Love County Courthouse holds the Marietta equivalent of Big Ben, a very large clock. While a few other courthouses in Oklahoma boast clock-domes, Love County’s advantage is that theirs actually works.” For the record, the clock in the dome of the Love County courthouse hasn’t worked in many years. I went down there about 2 years ago and looked at it three Saturday’s in a row. I was able to get it working but it was way out of calibration. It would only run for a couple days and quit. It is going to take time (and some money) to get it back to keeping time as it should be. I hope that someone will come forward and get this tower clock working again. Now this is the gospel: Carter County has the only still working original courthouse clock in Oklahoma.
About a month ago I told everyone I got a photo of the old Tyler, Oklahoma school bell from years ago. The bell is now at a residence near McMillan, Oklahoma. Tyler and McMillan are only about 5 miles apart, both just a few miles west of Madill, OK. When I think of McMillan, Oklahoma my mind flashes back to the early 70s when we had a hightop Cadillac ambulance. There was an old maid (never married) who lived in McMillan. She had been retired from, I think, the Air Force for many years when I picked her up in the ambulance at 5am that morning to take her for admission to the VA hospital in Oklahoma City. Beside her bed was a photo of her when she was young wearing the Air Force dress uniform. She looked so beautiful and when I put her on the stretcher that morning she pointed that photo out to me…. she was so proud to have served her country and wear that uniform. It was so many years ago, I can not remember her name but one thing I know, in McMillan, Oklahoma once lived a proud patriotic lady. And now for a pic of that beautiful Tyler, OK school bell.
“The tale I got about Brown’s Spring involved a nameless family in southern Oklahoma at the turn of the century. These kind people would kill unwary travelers and rob them. The men in this clan of evil people would imprison, torture, rape, and eventually kill any unwary women that they had a chance to capture. The patriarch of the family would “Break In” the females born to the clan and then pass them around to the other uncles, brothers, cousins, etc. The story goes that one day a Choctaw girl was abducted by the patriarch and raped. The girl fled after she escaped and the elders of her family came back, in the night, and captured the patriarch. The girls family staked the evil man to the ground and sliced open his belly so that Hattak Offi/The Man Dog of that area could have a good meal with out having to work for it. Another name for Hattak Offi is Nalusa or Nalushka Falaya which translates to Long Evil Being or Long Wicked Person. (Bigfoot?) Anyway, the girls family came back the next morning and sure enough the evil man’s soft organs, (heart, liver, kidneys) were missing and his entrails were spread all over the place. The girl’s family then took the body of the evil patriarch and threw it into Brown’s spring to curse the spring to any that would rely on it for water. (Namely the bad guys in the area.) It is said that the evil patriarch’s family still has descendants in the area, and that his ghost haunts that area at night. I learned this in a gang rape investigation in January of 1985 when I worked at Healdton Police Dept. I arrested a descendant of the original family on a rape complaint and in the ensuing investigation dug up some really wild sounding stuff.”
On November 29, 1967 little 6 year old Scott Allen Compton was stuck by a pickup truck driven by 19 year old Jerry Wayne Kendrick while crossing the street at Lake Murray Drive and “C” Street SE here in Ardmore. The Compton child was unconscious and not breathing as a result of his injuries. Patrolman Ed Burton, an Ardmore police officer, was on patrol that afternoon and worked the accident. But what no one knew at the time, except for the guardian angel of little Scott Allen Compton, was that Bill Allen, the only respiratory therapist for a 50 miles radius was behind that pickup truck and witnessed the accident. Bill jumped from his car and went to the aid of the boy who was not breathing. Bill administered resuscitation and went along in the ambulance with the boy to the hospital. My friend Bill Allen had just moved to Ardmore one year ago. No ambulances or hospitals in our area had respiratory therapist prior to 1967, although Pauls Valley hospital and Purcell hospital were starting to use R.T.s from Oklahoma City to some degree. Bear in mind that when a person was brought into the emergency rooms in our area not breathing, such as Scott Allen Compton, there was no sophisticated equipment like there is today to start that person breathing again nor respiratory therapist on staff. The only piece of equipment in the hospitals at that time to hopefully revive a non-breathing person was a piece of equipment called the E&J Resuscitator. Very seldom did it bring a person back from the brink of death.

On January 15, 1968 Bill Allen received a recognition award from Woodmen of the World representative James Floyd here in Ardmore for his heroic efforts. Little Scott Allen Compton lived.

Twenty eight years later, Bill Allen would have a brush with death while working at the Guest Inn on Highway 142 in Ardmore on Father’s Day 1995. Bill was doing maintenance on a service elevator and something went wrong while he was under it. The elevator took his arm off. Surgeons would successfully re-attach Bill’s arm. What is ironic, is a man came to Bill’s aid and helped stop the bleeding, who was a member of Houston’s Guardian Angels. He was Mario Castillo. Mario was working on a construction job at Uniroyal and temporarily staying at the Guest Inn. Mario Castillo probably saved Bill’s life while waiting on paramedics to arrive. Today Bill Allen, also known as Willie Lump-Lump, is doing fine, and he’s more ornery then ever! This is a 1967 photo of William “Bill” Allen.

Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……


Check gas prices by town or zip code anywhere in U.S.


Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

“I was reading your newsletter and found it quite interesting and Historically enjoyable. However, I wanted to make a few suggestions since I am old enough to remember some of the things you had written about.

The old Dunbar elementary School was for the First through the Fifth Grades. The sixth grade started at the Douglass High School Building although the students were not considered as High School students. The seventh and eighth grades were also housed at the Douglass High School Building. Yes, the Football team played their games on Thursday nights at Walker Stadium, especially when Ardmore High had a home game at Walker Stadium on Friday night.

I was on the football team that won the Class B championship in 1957. We were also undefeated in 1957. Recently, I was in Ardmore for the 2013 Douglass High School Reunion and read in the newspaper an article written by a reporter who must have been unaware of the 1957 Championship team. The article mentioned a year that Ardmore High School was State champions and stated that it was the only state championship ever achieved in Ardmore. I cannot remember the year the article was referencing but I questioned whether the writer was up to date on his history, not only as it related to Ardmore Douglass High School but also to Ardmore High School. I can?t be sure but Ardmore High School has had some awful good teams over the years and I cannot believe that only one championship was achieved by them. Anyway, it?s good to see your efforts in utilizing the search engines for enlightening the public to historical events and activities. Keep up the good work.

I graduated in 1958 from Douglass High School, and played football, Basketball and Track for Douglass. If you want some more history on Douglass, look up Donald Lee Smith, our quarterback during the championship year. Even though I was on the receiving end of many touchdown passes, Donald Lee Smith was the one that made things happen. Our team was recently recognized by Ardmore High School at the 50 year mark from 1957. It was an honor to receive such recognition from Ardmore High School during half time at one of their football game. Again, thanks for the articles.”  -Al Douglas aldouglas@berryrealty.com

“Dear Mr. Bridges, I think somebody asked for the Globe theater in Ardmore, Oklahoma, this is the Front of the theater and this is my friend Mr. Blanco at left and me. Maybe the photo is a little bit small, try to enlarged.” -Ernie in NJ

First Cornish, Oklahoma Orphan’s Home
https://oklahomahistory.net/ttphotos13a/1stCornishOklahomaOrphanshome.jpgM.E. Harris, founder of the 1st orphan’s home at Cornish, Oklahoma

“Butch, this was once the largest McDonalds in the world I was told at Vinita, now its dozed down, only the arch across I-44 is all that remains.” -Doug Williams


Note: After 56 years it is temporarily closed. The OK Turnpike Authority is shutting down McDonald’s over I-44 for remodel, likely re-open in 2013.

“Butch, this is the old Sadler Grocery at Hennepin, Oklahoma or actually Foster west of Hennepin. The old man on the right was Ed Sadler who was Scheryl’s grandfather and store owner.”  -Doug Williams


Photo I took of Lake Overholster in NW Oklahoma City on August 10, 2013. -Cecil Elliott

“Hi Butch, The Chandler Family Association is having their 2013 Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 13 & 14. The Chandler Association has a large DNA data base and a very large library for researching family lineage. We want to increase our membership this year by finding Chandlers that did not know about the association to come and join us for two days of fellowship and meeting new relatives they did not know about.”  -Sue Smith
helenChandler@ChandlerFamilyAssociation.org or by telephone 901-355-5614

“In this week’s THIS & THAT, Butch Bridges shows a picture of the old Tom Tipps furniture store being demolished this past week. It was located next to City Drug on the northeast corner of Main and Washington where we used to buy our school supplies. I saw that and decided to take a virtual walk down Main Street from the railroad tracks west to the Bookseller. I used Google Maps which did a drive down Main in 2009. There were two things that stuck me. The number of buildings that have been torn down is amazing and the number of unoccupied store fronts. But the saddest thing of all was the fact that in the length of Main Street there were only two people on the sidewalks. I’m guessing the Google car was on Main in the late morning because of the shadows. I know it was done in June.
The downtown Ardmore of our youth was a vibrant place. I remember my mother complaining about the lack of parking downtown when we were growing up and the crowded sidewalks, especially in front of Kress and Wards. I remember getting separated from my mother at Kress before Christmas about 1950 and I couldn’t find her because everyone was so tall. I finally walked down Main Street to Washington and crossed to the south side of the street and went to our neighbor’s business in the middle of the block. They lived across the road from us at Lake Ardmore and had a bike and lawn mower shop on Main. My mother finally found me and asked how I got there and I told her that I just followed people when they crossed the streets. I remember there being a lot of people on the street that day.
I thought the recession was going to kill off Bozeman’s downtown. The big box stores are located away from downtown. A number of store fronts went empty, including the largest furniture store in town but an interesting thing happened. All those empty spaces filled back up with new retail businesses and restaurants. We also lost almost a block of Main when a gas line burst and exploded. The reconstruction was slow but it is now complete and the oldest bar in Montana is back in operation.
Where is the drag in Ardmore now? Or do kids even do that anymore?”  -Monroe

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” –Benjamin Franklin

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore Oklahoma
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

Carter County Courthouse Paver Project
Save on long distance calls, just a couple cents a minute!
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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