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Vol 21  Issue 1043  January 19, 2017

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net, Phone: 580-490-6823

Theaters in Ardmore where a big attraction for the servicemen and townspeople alike and in 1942 Ardmore had seven; the Jewel, the Paramount, the Ritz, the Roxy, the Stars, the Temple and the Tivoli. In 1943 the Roxy suffered fire damage and came back to life as the Globe Theater, a title submitted in the naming contest by an entrant commemorating William Shakespeare and the stage upon which he performed. Herschel Gilliam, the Globe’s owner, added his own theatrical touch to downtown Ardmore by standing on the sidewalk in front of the globe and hawking current shows which were surprisingly good, in some instances verging on art productions otherwise not shown locally. The Temple, in the basement of the Masonic building later the Ardmoreite Building charged a nickel for those under 12 for Saturday morning shows. East of the Globe a theater in the form of a log cabin, The Fox Theater, was popular with youngsters on Saturday mornings. The screen was located at the front of the theater with seating reversed from the usual order and facing from the back toward Main Street. Youngster soon learned that it was easy to sneak into the Fox through the large air vents in the back of the building. Sadly, one morning as a young boy made his way through the vent, the fan came on, severing his leg.  -Sally Gray, Territory Town, The Ardmore Story published 2006

A Reader sent in this 1940 school photo of Wheeler Schools west of Healdton.


December 1932
In lengthy documents 6 protest of “excessive and illegal tax levies” were filed this morning in the county clerk’s office by half a dozen oil companies and two railroads operating in Carter County. They protested the salaries of county employees, the county fair, funds in the public health department, and taxes paid to 14 school districts.

Here’s a piece of Ardmore bygone days. A Reader sent in a picture of a couple gift certificates from Pecos Red’s Roadhouse that was located at 2610 West Broadway in Ardmore (by Two Frogs Grill) about 15 years ago.


Some pavers I recently sandblasted.



You can find current gas prices for a particular Oklahoma town by entering the name or zip code in the GasBuddy search box.

Q. In the 1940s Oklahoma had what people called the “hex house”.  Where was it located?
A.  The strange tale of Tulsa’s Hex House – where a middle-aged woman named Carolann Smith kept two young women as virtual slaves – riveted Tulsa 70 years ago. CLICK HERE

Q. Where is the largest privately owned piece of land in Oklahoma?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of January 18, 2003

I get a lot of inquiries about the old Hardy Sanitarium in Ardmore. I find there were three different locations for the Hardy Sanitarium and Hospital. The first one was at Caddo and Main back before statehood. Dr. Walter Hardy’s parents were the original owners of the property around 1895. That building burned and a hospital built by Dr. Hardy at the same location. One interesting note, Ardmore’s first radio station, WOAA, was broadcast from this building around 1921 under Dr. Hardy’s ownership, 15 years before KVSO radio. Here is a photo of the first Hardy Sanitarium (hospital). (Today no longer located on that corner.)

Dr. Hardy’s second hospital, also known as Hardy Sanitarium was locate between the present day post office and the old Craddock Funeral Home on 1st Street SW at 212 1st Street. Here is a photo of that hospital from the Mac MacGalliard Collection.

Dr. Walter Hardy’s third hospital was located at the present day Post Office at First SW and B Street. It too was named Hardy Sanitarium and Hospital. Hardy’s 3rd hospital was torn down to build the present Post Office. The new Memorial Hospital was opened in May 1955 replacing the Hardy Sanitarium. Here is a photo of the Hardy Sanitarium and Hospital that was on the same spot as the Ardmore Post Office is today.

Here is a photo of Dr. Walter Hardy (1870-1954)
A Reader here in Ardmore was going through some boxes of old items at his house and low and below there was an Oklahoma Semi-Centennial label in perfect condition, the backing is still on the back, never been used. The theme on that 1957 decal was “Teepees to Towers”.
Ardmore’s hamburger Icon passed away this week, Mr. Ernest Brown. In September 1999 I was invited out to Mr. Brown’s house at the end of Woodbine Way here in Ardmore and had the most interesting conversation with him. He told me how he opened the first Hamburger Inn in 1938 at #32 North Washington. This is across the street from the present location which he built in 1956. Here is a photo Ernest Brown let me scan of his first Hamburger Inn on the east side of North Washington Street. You can see those round stools through the front door window.

This is a 1956 photo of Mr. Brown’s second Hamburger Inn at #27 North Washington.

Sometimes when the wind is out of the north-northeast just right and I walk out of the courthouse I get a whiff of those fried onion hamburgers cooking and I think about Mr. Brown, and the wonderful visit I had with him in the summer of 1999 at his home. He will always be Ardmore’s “Hamburger King” to me and a lot of others.
John Harden Cornish and his wife Annie came from Arkansas to Indian Territory about 1880 and founded the community of Cornish, Oklahoma (south edge of Ringling, Oklahoma). Mr. Cornish died in 1920 and is buried in the Oddfellow Cemetery in Ringling.
“Seeing last week’s Tribe Park pictures and reading this week’s comments of people who remember it brought back big memories for me also, but from a little different perspective. Living out in the county “hinterland” rather than in the Ardmore metropolis, my interest was in the frequent tournaments they held there for small-town teams that got together around the county right after WWII. My specific interest was in the very good team from the little town of Milo, for which my uncle Cy Caldwell pitched and played second base. I can’t remember where the other teams were from, except that I know one was from Pauls Valley and believe one was from Lone Grove. In some larger-stake tournaments, sometimes a couple of these teams would go together to field a better team. Uncle Cy was a good enough pitcher that the Ardmore Indians tried to get him to travel with them, drive the bus and pitch, for about $250 a month, which wasn’t too shabby in the late 40’s. But it didn’t afford much long-term security, so he went to work for an oil company, ended up as a field superintendent for Samedan for many years, retiring about 21 years ago; and passed away two years ago this month. I can only remember one player of note that Milo played against. He was a good pitcher with the last name of Craighead, I believe. I can’t even remember what team he played for, but I can remember him and Cy squaring off as opposing pitchers in several good games over the years. I had forgotten about the circus grounds being across Washington from the park, and that piece of ground has a much more vivid meaning to me. It, or part of it, was later subdivided into residential lots, and my wife and I built our very first house on it at 21 Hillcrest St. We moved in in 1960, had $83 per month payments, and struggled to make them. The church I attended (Northeast Baptist, now Trinity Baptist), built its parsonage directly across the cul-de-sac from my house. I was last on the street several months ago, most of the houses are still nice, and the neighborhood is very nice to be over 40 years old.” RKWard@SWBell.net
“Hi Butch, We are enjoying the T&T out here in Nevada, so keep up the good work. I do have a comment to make about the ballpark there in Ardmore. This dates back to early 1950 and the old Indians Ball Club. They were owned then by Arthur Willingham, my Uncle. He operated the ball club there until around mid 1952 and then moved it to Sherman, Texas and was based there for several years before selling it to another promoter in Sherman. He might be remembered around Ardmore as a local businessman and also operated the Willingham Drilling Company there and in Sherman, Texas. He was born and raised around Ardmore and ran a successful ball club while living there. He was a survivor of the 1915 explosion there in Ardmore, but, his father Henry Lafayette Willingham was killed. Arthur and his Grandmother Kerbo were sitting in a wagon beside the Pennington Wholesale House when the explosion occurred. He was about 11years old at the time and was accompanying his Father who was buying supplies for a small grocery store he ran near Mannsville. Even though he and the Grandmother were showered with debris, neither were seriously injured. Regrettably, they never found any remains of his Father, my Grandfather. Arthur passed away several years ago at Oklahoma City and remained a baseball lover until he died.”
“I also have fond memories of the old ball park. As a youngster I was a member of the “Knothole Gang”. Kids were allowed in at a reduced price or maybe free but had to sit in a special section down behind the visitors dugout. I remember hearing the announcer making announcements such as “Mrs.. Waco Turner will give $50 for a home run”. Often fans would offer the players cash incentives in this way to try to inspire them to get a base hit or in some way influence the team to score. One player stands out in my mind. His name was Joe Nodar. He was a Cuban who played center field. He was very fast and his specialty was stealing home base. There were several Cuban players on the team. Many of them lived in an old boarding house, I believe it was on Stanley and B or C street, close to downtown. I had my first job there (working for someone other than a family member) as a 10 or 11 year old. This was about 1953 or 1954. An older boy, I believe his name was Robert Long, and I sat out on the score board. We had two jobs. First we were supposed to retrieve the balls that went over the outfield fences and return them. This included batting practice. During the game we were to hang the score numbers on the scoreboard. They were large numbers that hung on a nail and kept track of the score of the home team and visiting team each inning. It was very embarrassing when the announcer had to correct us. We had to keep track to the score ourselves. I lost the job after a short while because I was not tough enough or fast enough and other boys would beat me to the balls that went over the fence and keep them. During my short tenure in this job I got $1 a game, $2 for double headers. Someone mentioned the late Red Sollars. He was a fine man. He remained in Ardmore after retiring from baseball and had a plumbing business. I worked for him one summer. That same summer he was the coach of our American Legion baseball team. I believe it was the summer of 1957 or 1958. Mr. Sollars wanted me to play catcher on the team. When I told him I needed to work to earn spending money he gave me a job as a plumber’s helper. I worked with him when we weren’t involved in a game or a practice. Mr. Sollars was very proud of the fact that In his last game as an Ardmore player he played all 9 positions in 9 innings, a different position every inning. It was a tribute to his all around baseball skills and ability.” -Carrol Evans
“Mr Bridges, I just learned of your website from a friend who forwarded it to me to see the picture of old Tribe Park. Some of the players form the D league remained in Ardmore and later played for our Simi-Pro team: the Cardinals and later the Bluejays. Red Sollars, Bob Cramer, Glen Crable, and JC Dunn played for us. We wore the old castoff Cardinal uniforms until they wore out and then came up with our own and changed our name to Bluejays. Back then (60’s) there were several Semi-Pro teams around. Some of the Ardmore men who played were Marland Vance, Jack McGahey, Buddy Jackson, Clyde Kemp, Woodsey Ford, Leslie Gilliam, LaFon Dunford, Gene Shirley, Salty Bridgeman, Jake Rushing (plus the aforementioned Pros) We played against a traveling team that included Satchel Page and Virgil Trucks.”
“Hi Butch, I just recently got placed on your mailing list and it has already been a ‘trip’ on nostalgia for me. My youth spent around Ardmore was sporadic. I was born in Graham, Ok. in the late 1930,s near the oil boom towns of Fox and Healdton where my father (Claude Earl Smith aka ‘Fats’ Smith) worked on various oil field leases, most of which were owned/operated by notable oil celebrity named Roy M. Johnson. I graduated from Ardmore High in 1957. I played for the University of Oklahoma Football team; became a law enforcement officer in Cleveland County working for about 10 years, then was recruited by and became an F.B.I. Agent (now retired). I reside in the San Francisco Bay area. Enough about that. I really enjoy your ‘T&T Weekly’ and look forward to it each week. Thanks. Now back to why I am responding to the above reference: You asked if anyone could comment on what might be the items on Police Chief Leslie Segler’s coat pocket and lapel. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s the American Red Cross furnished a little pin ( white background with the Red Cross) when you either gave blood or contributed monies to the cause. This pin symbolized your participation and it also gave everyone a sense of patriotism during that time period. I recognize that pin as being depicted on Les Segler’s coat lapel. The item connected on the end of the chain. I believe is a ‘handcuff key’, because I recall plain clothed peace officer’s usually had it attached to their whistle chain for quick access. Again, Thanks for sharing you ‘This and That’.”

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

The Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum is now under new management and planning the 2017 Festival. It will be held on May 5-6-7, 2017. This year the festival will feature the Sons of the Pioneers, Rex Allen, Jr., Les Gilliam, Jody Miller, Call of the West, banjoist Glenn Parks and a host of others. Numerous movie/TV stars are coming to meet and visit with you. The list includes Bruce Boxleitner (How the West was Won); Ben Bates (Legend of the Lone Ranger and double for James Arness on Gunsmoke), Ken Farmer (Friday Night Lights & Silverado) and others. My friends from Larimie, Roberta Shore and Gary Clarke, will be with us also. And to tickle your fancy will be John Buttram, nephew of the Gene Autry sidekick, Pat Buttram. For more information, call 580-768-5559. Please tell all your friends. I hope you can join us.

Les Gilliam
“The Oklahoma Balladeer”


Butch, In last week’s T&T, you published a photo of a church in Catoosa. Attached are exterior and interior pics of one of the oldest churches in Oklahoma, the Cayuga Mission Church. It is in the Cowskin Prairie area, northeast of Grove, Oklahoma, near the Elk River.



“Dear Mr. Butch, I read your last newsletter and there was an article from Rob Askew that it really make me very emotional about his commentaries, he transport me to the fifties and I tell you the truth made me cried, he said it gives him an intense pleasure to get back to that old Ball Park, image what kind of pleasure took me. Those were the best years of my life. Mr. W.C. Peden invited my friend Nodar and me to stay in their home for the whole Season, I met so many wonderful people, tell Rob that probably he saw me playing Third Base on those years , Mr. Peden had a jewelry store in Main St, also Mr. Bridge, and Virginia and Eddie Latz have I think in Washington St. a Drug’s store, well what can I tell you Butch. Tell him Thanks from my part and for you there are not words to describe how to thank you for the feeling I have every Thursday to received your Editorials (Sorry for my English, maybe the next time I will write in Spanish), tell Rob that I played with the name of Ernesto W. Klein.” -Ernesto Wallerstein in New Jersey

Q.  Butch, I worked for Hudson/Houston in the early 1950’s and was on the women’s bowling team. Do you happen to know if there was a small bowling alley located close to Hudson/Houston Lumber Company, maybe on Washington? I had never bowled before and I imagine my approach to the line and release of the ball was a sight to behold. I was trying to remember where the bowling alley was located and thought you might have a remembrance of where it was. -Elisabeth

A.  Ardmore Recreation Parlor #22 A Street NW

“Hi Butch. The picture of Les Segler I believe that the button is what they called a committee button back then. The other could be a whistle on a chain that also holds maybe his pocket watch. Maybe hard to tell.” -Cole

“Just finished reading about the “drip” gas in today’s T&T Newsletter. Back in the early eighties I worked a couple of years as the Controller of a family owned LPG company that serviced a lot of oil rigs during the boom. We actually made more money off our domestic sales to folks in rural areas around Seminole, Hughes, Lincoln, Pottawatomie Counties, and even some in Pontotoc County. We serviced rigs all over the central and western parts of the state and we sold diesel as well as propane. Sometimes we would haul for 24 hours straight to deliver 100,000 gallons of diesel to a hole for a frack job. We had several 10,000 gallon propane transport trailers/tankers and half a dozen diesel tankers. We serviced our residential customers with the smaller 3-4,000 gallon five ton trucks. Anyway, our drivers were always bringing 55-gallon drums of drip gas from the well sites and we used it as solvents and stuff around the plant. It was a nuisance for the drillers to deal with as it had to be disposed of properly. As we, too, had more of the stuff than we could use, some of our hands tried to run it in their personal cars and trucks. One of our dispatchers ran it in his 1979 Pontiac Firebird. It was so raw and gaseous that he had to leave the gas cap loose when he drove and actually left the gas cap off when the car was sitting in our plant parking lot all day. That Firebird started hard, idled rough, smelled awful, and bucked and snorted as he accelerated but he was cash-strapped and ran two tanks of drip to every tank of regular gas for about six months. I always thought he would blow the motor but he was still driving it when he quit.” -Bruce

“Now don’t post this in your next edition but as teens we use to steal drip gas from the working wells west of Davis and use it in any post ’53 car or pickup. One of the drillers told us how to do it and even gave us a drip gas bucket to collect it in.”

Mural Remembering the Military’s Influence on Ardmore’s Past and Present


Folder of postcards and cabinet photographs from the past  -Robert Hensley


“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” -Charles Buxton

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Nashobish Ikana
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443https://oklahomahistory.net

Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
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 Government Website