PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
I was thinking this week how Ardmore used to be the cotton capital of the world over 100 years ago. In the 1890’s 50,000 to 60,000 bales of cotton, with a value of over $1 million, were sold in Ardmore. This continued for many years. During the fall, it was common for a line of cotton wagons over three miles long to form. I’m sure many of you have seen online the photo of all the wagons loaded with cotton on Ardmore’s Main Street waiting in line to be weighed. Back in those days there were cotton gins scattered all around Carter County. In 1916 even Wilson, Oklahoma was selling about 5,000 bales of cotton a year.
In 1893, when cotton was king and Ardmore was the inland center of the cotton industry with 13 firms representing 13 foreign countries, the Ardmore Cotton Oil Mill and the Choctaw Cotton Oil Mill were established. They took cotton seeds that formerly were discarded and made seed cake for livestock and oil for industrial purposes. In 1895, 96,000 bales of cotton were marketed on the streets of Ardmore.
I’m not sure when this photo was taken but you will see the crowded street scene with wagons loaded with bails of cotton. Notice the water well in the center of Main Street.
Here is similar photo of Ardmore’s Main Street when cotton was king.
Back around 1960 when I was a kid still riding a bicycle, I remember a big field of cotton on the north side of the viaduct on 5th Northeast. One Saturday afternoon my friend Jimmy Echer and I decided we’d ride our bicycles to that field and get some cotton bolls. We rode in from the north side of the field off 7th NE. I got some cotton bolls alright, and two bicycle tires full of goat head stickers. Both inner tubes had so many punctures in them, they had to be replaced. Below is a map I drew showing the location of the big field of cotton
I don’t guess there are any more cotton fields in Carter County nowadays. I’d almost bet there is not one cotton boll to be found in this county. But I did get to see some at Ardmore’s OSU Extension Center this week. Leland McDaniel said the plants were originally grown in the Altus, Oklahoma area.
Back in May of 2005 I mentioned the song My Arbuckle Mountain Home written by Ardmoreite Cecil Crosby. I first saw the sheet music on the wall at the Wilson Museum. A week after I mentioned it in my newsletter, here came my friends, Bob and Penny Cline (now deceased), with the original sheet music. This week, two friends of mine on Facebook put the sheet music to piano and recorded it, which they gave me. Below is a link to that recording.
My Arbuckle Mountain Home
By Cecil Crosby, Ardmore, Oklahoma 1939
When prairie stars are shining,
And the sky above is blue,
‘Tis then my thoughts returneth,
To a place so good and true,
A place up in the mountains,
Up thar by Turner Falls,
Where turtle doves are cooing.
And you hear those coyotes call,
‘Tis the music of the mountains,
That seems to call me back,
Back to a humble cottage,
Just a little mountain shack,
And soon I’ll be returning,
Never more to roam,
And I’ll settle down forever,
In my Arbuckle Mountain Home.
I would not trade my humble shack,
For a place by the sea,
For up thar in those mountains high,
It is always home to me,
And soon I’ll be returning,
Never more to roam,
And I’ll settle down forever,
In my Arbuckle Mountain Home.
Many of you know I grew up at 3rd and H Street NE in Ardmore at my grandfather, Stanley Carmon’s lumber yard. You’d think when you spent your entire growing years (50s and 60s) at the same location you’d know your neighborhood pretty good. Well, I learned something this week about a house just 1 block away that surprised me. Doug Williams sent in a couple photos this week of a house in the SE corner of 3rd and I NE where they had a very large basement under the house. I had been by this house a million times, but never knew they had such a basement. The lady who lived in the home was Mrs. Etta Havens. Most homes in Ardmore do not have a basement, although even the house adjoining our property on the north during this same time frame did have a basement under the east end of their home. You can see in the photos below the basement under this home at 3rd and I NE must have been half the size of the house above it.
Now that I think about it, I remember being told about a house just 1 block on east of the above home that hid a stolen auto in the garage. Well, not exactly, what I mean, is they completely dug up the dirt floor of the garage adjoining the home at 924 3rd NE and lowered the car down below, and then built a wooden garage floor over the car to hide it.
On Monday December 29, 2014 there will be a retirement reception for Carter County Commissioner Dale Ott. The event will be held at the OSU conference room next door to the courthouse. Time will be from 2pm to 4pm. Hope to see some of you there!
Q. TV personality, American journalist, and political commentator Bill Moyers was born in what Oklahoma town?
A. Hugo, Oklahoma
Q. The songwriter of many famous Christian Gospel songs known around the world, such as “I’ll Fly Away” and “Turn You Radio On”, Albert E. Brumley, was born in what Oklahoma town?
A. (answer in next week’s T&T)
From This and That newsletter archives of November 25, 2000:
“Hi Butch! I have been sharing the newsletters with my mother and the persimmon one caught her attention just like I knew it would. She sends you this message….”When I was a child back in the 1930s, I remember my dad going hunting in the fall and bringing home the first of many ducks. The older folks were looking forward to the big pan of duck and dressing….I did too, but I always waited for the duck’s breast to be picked clean and then daddy would ‘read’ it for me and tell us all what kind of winter we could look forward to. I was so impressed, but as hard as I tried, I never learned to forecast weather by looking at the breast of a duck! Daddy always thought that I could, but I could always learn more by lying out in the back yard in the summertime, watching the red ants race back and forth underneath my camper cot. If they hurried… a bad winter. If they were leisurely…a mild inter. (By the way, Butch…this summer they hurried!!!)”….Betty Warner, Davis, OK. Thanks again for the newsletter…. we really enjoy it!”
“Hi Butch, We just started receiving your This & That and really enjoy it. I have an input about the Ardmore Hotel that one of your subscribers seems to be pursuing. I think the Drugstore he’s thinking about is the old V.A.Grissom Drugstore on the corner and located beneath the southeast corner of the Hotel. I think for a while he was associated with Emmit Key, before Key moved to East Main. I remember Mr. Grissom very well. My Dad rented property from him at Stobtown back in the early 30’s and he often came out to visit with us. In case Stobtown is unfamiliar, it’s located approximately 5 miles north of Lone Grove on the Meridian Road. It was named Stobtown because of the huge iron pipe in the middle of the intersection there. It had a huge wagon-wheel affair on top and mailboxes were attached to the top of the wheel. There was a small community there, grocery store/gas station, church, and several homes. Thus; Stobtown! I lived there for the first 18 years of my life and returned shortly for about four years later on. We return to Ardmore to visit family several times a year, and remember a lot about the growth of Ardmore. Incidentally, the stob disappeared from the intersection on Meridian Road at the behest of the Postmaster. After wards all mailboxes were placed at the side of the road. Also, you mentioned about Travis Harris being the father of the brainchild coin operated car wash. Correct! We knew him well and that is so true. Thanks so much for all the news from home. Keep it up.”
“Love your newsletter! The drug store located in the Ardmore Hotel was Grissom’s. Father of Bill and Bob Grissom. I worked there for a short time in 1946 soon after my graduation from high school. Steel Drug was located on the corner of Main and N. Washington. My mother was a waitress for a short time at the Hotel Ardmore Coffee Shop. The drug store was on the corner and the coffee shop was to the north of the drug store. You could enter the drug store and the coffee shop from the hotel lobby or from the outside. There was a news stand in the lobby of the hotel. My friend worked there.”
“I have a vast store of memories of Love’s Valley, Marietta and Ardmore. We moved to Ardmore when I was a freshman in high school and lived there until 1986. I just sold my home a few years ago when I knew that I could never go back there to live. Need to be near my children. At the age of 15 I worked for S.H. Kress and Co. The envelope in which I received my first pay is in the Greater S.W. Museum. I made the total sum of $2.15 per day. More later.”
“Tuck’s Ferry was in Love’s Valley. I rode on it as a child. I lived in Love’s Valley until I was five years old. We still have a reunion every year of residents and former residents. Some of the Tuck family did live in Medicine Park. My aunt lives in Lawton and we went out there to see them. Of course, all of the older members are gone now. There was also another ferry on red river by Love’s Valley.” -dpdrinker
“The drugstore that was in the old Hotel Ardmore was Grissom and Key Drugstore in the early 30’s. In the late 40’s and early 50’s, it was Henley Drugstore. The son, Scott Henley graduated from Ardmore High School in the class of 57 or 58.” -Larry Smith
“Ardmore Hotel: corner of C & Main Streets. Many years ago the Drug Store went by the name of “Grissom Keys Drug Store” and sometime later it became “Henley Drug Store” and was owned by Everett Henley. “Steele Drug” was located in the old Masonic Hall Building that is located at the corner of Washington & Main Street and originally owned by Frank Steele. Steele Drug moved from that building and located on 2nd Ave. N.W. by the Arthritis Clinic.. Today, Steele Drug is in a new location on Grand Blvd., where it just recently moved.” -Ernest Martin
“Please change your address book, because I sure enjoy your e-mail every week. No I am not from Ardmore, However I helped build the Arbuckle Dam at Sulphur, many years ago. Sometime soon (3 or 4 months) I would like to come to Ardmore and take a tour through the court house, mainly to see the Court House clock. Some years back there was an article in one of the magazines I receive about it, I sure want to see it before they take it down. It is one of a few that is still in operation. Keep up the good work, and keep sending the mail, you sure have some interesting pictures. Thanks.” -Virgil Housley (Retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper)
“Butch, I wonder if anyone else remembers the cotton patch on S. Washington? I think it was on the block where the old Winn-Dixie is located. I walked past it going to school every day. My cousin who was stationed at the Great Lakes told me that many of his fellow sailors had never seen cotton growing. I picked bolls at various stages and sent them to him. The cotton patch was on the West side of the street and the compress was on the East side. You are probably not old enough to remember when most of it burned. They later tore down the part that was left. My husband later used the office on the West side of the street for his used car business. He had the old roll top oak desk that had been there for years. At the time the compress burned it also burned the peanut plant, the large tin building as you start under the underpass. When all those peanuts burned and were wet they stunk for weeks or longer.” -dpdrinker
“Does anyone have any information on, what people around Sasakawa, Oklahoma, called ‘The Old Red Gin Fire’? It happened in 1912 or 1913. My husband had relatives killed in this fire, and we cannot find information on it. It was in Seminole County.” email@example.com
Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……
Non-ethanol gas (pure gas) stations in the Ardmore area.
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..
“Butch, Happy Thanksgiving Butch and to all the T&T family.
I want to once again say “Thank You” for sending all of the great information to us every week.
T&T allows me to stay current on current events in my home area and state as well as great stories and history. I share the same historical interest as did my father, Ernest Martin, and do thank you for including some of the many historical events he shared with you in T&T. One item listed in the things listed in the Nov 18th in reference to the Ardmore Hotel and the drug store within stated it was thought to be “Steele Drug” but this was “Martin / Feddler Drug”. My grandfather, J.E. Martin and Clarence Feddler opened and operated this drug store for several years.”
The conversations about Ardmore’s “commercial” parrots reminded me of my Grandfather’s “Polly”. Grpa “Newt” Crosthwaite had the “Live and Let Live” Shoe Repair Shop on Caddo Street in the 1920s and 1930s. (Later his son-in-law, Lent Matthews operated the shop). Polly was Papa’s constant companion at work and entertained everyone with her very colorful vocabulary (which included calling him by name …..
When he retired from his shop in the late 1930s he brought her home. Unfortunately, Polly’s “colorful” vocabulary upset my Grandmother’s sensitive ears, so Papa found a new home for Polly ……. with Jack Hammitt in his Barber Shop. I have no idea how much longer she lived (maybe some of the Hammitt descendants can tell me?). Hopefully her remaining days were happier in a male-dominated business atmosphere! Is anyone out there old enough to remember her, besides me??
Buck Garrett was a friend and frequent visitor of my Grpa Crosthwaite at his shoe repair shop on Caddo during the years mentioned above. Buck spent many hours visiting and passing the time of day with Papa in his shop …..possibly as on-duty hours, being “at-the-scene” on Caddo in case any trouble broke out. Maybe he taught Polly part of her vocabulary?
And in all honesty I should add that it was no doubt because of me, that Papa had to give Polly away. Since my grandparents baby-sat me while my Mother worked …it would have been my ears that Mama strove to protect! Thanks, Butch for all your good reporting.”
-Tania Colbert Patrick
“Thank You again Butch for another Newsletter… I have always loved going to Mountain Lake, and seeing the water flow down from there… Thanks for all you do to make my Thursday’s enjoyable.” -Frank Peoples
“Butch- The Military Memorial Museum, 35 Sunset Drive, Ardmore, is displaying eight 3 x 3.5 paintings that were attached to an Ardmore Army Air Field barrack walls sometime during WWII. Unfortunately, the artist did not sign their ?Bill Mauldin? style paintings. Many years have passed but perhaps someone who receives This and That can provide information about the paintings, the artist or the barrack?s location on the Field. Hundreds of civilian workers from the southern Oklahoma area worked there during the War or may have been involved with moving or tearing down the structures following the closing of the base in October 1945. It is assumed the artist was a male since the pictures depict male subjects but several barracks were occupied by the 100 or so WAACs stationed there. Thanks for passing the information along and, hopefully, by a ?small world happening?, someone will be able to provide some info on the paintings.” firstname.lastname@example.org
“I have many folks up north who are curious about gun fight re-enactments like Frontier Days in Love Co. Marietta OK? could some of your Readers touch on these gun fight re-enactments, maybe a video? I?d love to share our heritage from so cen OK! Love County born and proud!” -Larry Shurbet email@example.com
Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443
Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Bells of Oklahoma
Carter County Courthouse Paver Project
Ardmore High School Criterions Online
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm’s Cemetery Database
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
All previous issues of This & That can be found on my Website.
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