PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 580-490-6823
From my March 1998 newsletter:
DOUGHERTY, OKLAHOMA NOW HAS A TOWN HALL
by Joe D. Jordan
The Town of Dougherty, Oklahoma (Population 273) has never officially had a town hall, for the last 4 or 5 years they have been using the old school building that was abandoned. Before that the town clerk used an army surplus communications trailer for the office, and before that, all records and transactions were kept and handled in whomever was town clerk’s home.
In 1997 Dougherty applied for a $55,000.00 Southern Oklahoma Development Association/Oklahoma Department of Commerce grant for a new Town hall and it was awarded in the fall of that year. Construction was completed March 23 1998. The building is complete with a meeting room capable of holding approximately 90 people, a full kitchen, handicap accessible rest rooms, a Mayors/Clerks Office, Dept. Public Works Office, and the Fire Chiefs office. This 1600 square foot facility was designed by Joe D. Jordan the Public Works Manager and meets all Federal and State Codes, and by cutting out the middle men (architects/engineers ) we were able to use all of the money for material and construction expenses, and build a building the whole community can be proud of.
When it was decided where to build the Town Hall everyone in the community was pleased to hear it was going to be built next to the old town jail, which was built around 1920 it is a 1 room 1 cell jail made of natural sandstone, the jailhouse will remain standing and is in the process of being partially repaired.
Dougherty, Oklahoma is in the Arbuckle Mountains, about 25 miles north of Ardmore, OK.
Baum, Oklahoma grocery.
Wilson, Oklahoma tavern operator faces 3 charges. January 1961
Ray Ruth, 5 year old child, died in the hospital as a result of burns received yesterday when he was accidentally saturated with blazing gasoline. According to reports a man was engaged in a task requiring gasoline. The contents of the can ignited and unaware that anyone was outside the window, the man hurled the blazing fluid through the open window. At just that moment, the child walked into the path of the liquid fire.
Note: I looked in the Carter cemetery records and did not find a Ray Ruth and also google (Lone Grove?). If he does not have a grave marker, I’d like to sandblast him one.
A couple bricks I sandblasted the other day.
You can find current gas prices for a particular Oklahoma town by entering the name or zip code in the GasBuddy search box.
Q. The last major free-flowing river, non-commercialized and unencumbered by dams or water releases, is located where in Oklahoma?
A. Glover River. Oklahoma’s last major free-flowing river is the state’s premier fishery for smallmouth bass. It’s located north of State Highway 3 between Antlers and Broken Bow.
Q. What town in Oklahoma is equidistant from Los Angeles and New York City?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletterBelow is from This and That newsletter archives of February 2, 2006
Ardmore Ladies Ready to Wear Stores
CR Anthony Co 215 W Main
Baum’s Ladies Ready To Wear 126 W Main
Daube’s Department Store 107 E Main
Eason’s Department Store 14 Broadlawn Village
Guys and Dolls 700 N Commerce
Herzmark’s 124 W Main
Jarold Shops 113 W Main
Jean Lee Shop 108 W Main
Klein’s Ladies To Wear 109 W Main
Mode O’Day Frock Shop 7 W Main
Norma’s Ready To Wear 15 N Washington
Stin-Tex Dress Shoppe 14 E NW
“Everyone seems to be interested in the brick chili. You speak of Hunts Grocery and the chili they had. Back in the late 1930’s about 38 or so. They had a butcher that was famous for his chili. He was very protective of that chili and as far as I know my Dad was about the only one who ever had that recipe other than the butcher. He made dad promise that he would not give it to anyone. Even my brother did not have it. I was a very young girl and I always got to go to the store on chili day. Dad would go to Frasers market on East Main to buy the supplies and it would make a lot of chili. Later we moved to Denver, Colo. and I was in my teens and still went with him. He’d go to the meat market and buy Pork Loin roast, beef rump roast and suet (that is the secret of brick chili) anyone who doesn’t know what suet is it is the white fat on a beef cow. It is also used to render down and make pure Lard. You know that stuff that clogs your arteries and causes heart trouble. He would have it ground there very coarse grind. It is also used to render down and make pure Lard. You know that stuff that clogs your arteries and causes heart trouble. He’d also go to the spice shops and have his spices ground fresh. Cumin and they would make his chili powder fresh ground. I had the job of peeling garlic, lots of garlic. A chili purest never ever allows tomatoes in his chili and beans go in only as you serve it. Just a bowl of chili maybe with crackers and I always wanted a squirt of catsup. I later had to give it up because it was just too rich. Dad would also use deer or antelope but I always liked the beef and pork.” -Jo Evelyn Barton
“Hi Butch, I had written you about the McMillan School Bell sometime back and you were going to try to get down & get a Picture. Don’t know if you did or not, so thought I would send you one. This Bell had been stored out in the pasture behind Arville Saxon’s home after it was removed from the School building several years ago. I had talked to Mr. Saxon about putting it out in front of the old school, now Community Center. He was in poor health & passed away before we got it done. His Son J. A. took over his Dad’s volunteer duties in the Community, so I approached him and sent him some pictures of a Bell in front of the Chisholm Trail Museum at Waurika, & I thought that would be a good way to display it. To my great surprise, last May at the McMillan Homecoming, he & his Son had installed it. I couldn’t have been more proud & I know his Dad and my Dad & Mother, Melvin & Iva (Harrell) Gardner, all started school there about 1914, would be equally proud. Butch, the is the bell that came from the McMillan School. But I know about the Tyler School Bell too. I believe a man by the name of Dall Peoples has the Tyler School Bell at his home about a mile North of the McMillan Road on Yellow Hills Road. I believe that is the correct name of the Road. Too bad it wasn’t displayed in front of the old Tyler School, which is still standing. Maybe used as a Church sometime back. My older Brother had to climb up in the belfry several times to replace the rope, while we were attending school there in the late 30’s & early 40’s. Great memories. Thanks for letting me share this information. I do so enjoy your weekly T&T’s” -Tawana (Gardner) Fleming
“Dear Butch, I was reading your newsletters when I came to the list of TV repair people and found the listing for Bill’s on Cottonwood NW. He was our repairman for many years until he ran afoul of the law for bomb making. At nights he was the projectionist at the Skyview Drive In, but repaired TVs during the day. I have forgotten all the details, but the FBI discovered he was responsible for several bombs in Ardmore about 1963.”
I suspect some of those articles on the race track north of Ardmore were written by me; I was one of the founders of the drag strip! Police Chief Hubert Bartlett asked me to help publicize it, in an effort to get the drag races off of Broadway and onto “safer” ground at the Lake Murray air strip. I put “safer” in quotes because it has its own dangers.
The track was laid out as an oval, with a quarter-mile straightaway on the east side, then a curve to the northbound straight. We would run the quarter, then brake and follow the curve around to get back to the starting area.
But one Sunday afternoon, I was lined up to start a race and the club president (whose name is lost to me in the mists of memory) was the flagman. Suddenly he yanked the passenger-side door of my ’54 Chevy open, jumped in, and yelled “Go!” He had seen a cloud of dust at the end of the strip.
I switched on the (illegal but authorized by Sheriff Enoch Watterson, who made me his official photographer to justify them) lights and siren of my car and we took off. The ambulance, alerted by my siren, fell in behind me. We got there to find that one of the previous racers, who ran a Model T coupe with its original mechanical brakes, had lost his braking ability at the curve and ran straight on, going off a small cliff into a dry creek bed and landing upside down. He was out of the car when we arrived, and said he was fine — then a few minutes later collapsed and passed out. Turned out he had separated a shoulder blade! He recovered and raced again, but not in the T. Actually he was very lucky. When he had built the T originally, he used ordinary window glass rather than safety glass, and it went everywhere when he crashed — yet he didn’t have a single cut.
I really enjoyed the races although I never managed to win a trophy. It was enough, though, to prove that the little OHV 6-cylinder Chevy, power-timed and fitted with a Corvette dual-exhaust manifold, could hold its own with the Ford V8 rigs, thanks to my use of undersize tires (5.00x15s) on the rear wheels. In fact, the first time I came out of the gate on a test run (not on a race day, but before our first meeting) the car had so much torque that I made an involuntary 90-degree turn, off the track and into the spectator area. I had to let out the clutch real softly to keep that from happening in races!
Since I was only in Ardmore (as the city reporter for the Ardmoreite) from the fall of 1954 through November 1955, that would have to have been in the summer of 1955. -Jim Kyle http://www.jimkyle.com
First patient at Ardmore’s Memorial Hospital of Southern Oklahoma.
“Memorial Hospital’s open house, Sunday, May 29, draws 5,000 visitors to tour the 1.5 million dollar modern facility. It officially opened May 30, 1955, the first patient being Mrs. Marvin Waller, Route 2, Wilson, Oklahoma, a maternity case. The Waller’s six pound daughter, Berneta Ann, was born at 6:10am. The second patient, Mrs. Kenneth Vaughn, gave birth to a girl May 31, at 2:40AM. Expecting a boy, a name was not readily available for his sister. All Hardy Hospital patients were transferred to the new Memorial Hospital. Hardy Hospital doors closed forever. May 30, 1955”
John Hinkley Jr. was the last baby born in the old Hardy Sanitarium at B street and 1st Southwest where the post office is located today.
“I have wondered about the street signs that sit on the corner. The one on Bailey and 9th S.E. is one that my father Tony Higginbotham has always wanted to refurbish, but have yet to do it. We all know how that goes. It is on the list, but who knows when it will happen. My Grandfather lived there, and that was my summer lodging every year as a Dallas kid (city slicker as one cousin would always call me). Next to the house is a rock wall, and let me tell you, that was one place that was always fun to play. That and he would always find me an old skate while out junk’n and make me a scooter. This was in the mid 80’s and very early 90’s. If any of you are wondering, his name was Cecil Higginbotham, and was a great person.” -Cecil Higginbotham TX
“Butch, regarding the man who made tamales and pushed a cart on Ardmore’s main street years ago, the Mexican guy lived on 7th and G NE, right behind the Calvary Baptist Church. I guess his name was Pete because everyone called him “Mexican Pete”. If you can locate C. J. Fuller or Andrew Loftis they can probably fill you in on Pete. I think he was their grandfather. Also Donald J. Fuller was his grandson. Don’t know if any of those guys are still around there or not. Take care and keep up the good work.”
Note: wish someone could come up with a photo of Pete and his tamale wagon.
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..
Native Oklahoma 1930
As a kid in the 1930s I was very much aware of the then situation of Indians, my G-Father having responsibility for several “restricted” Indians, those who had not learned the handling of money. Some were wealthy, but most only got a US Gov’t allotment. Certain reliable citizens were appointed to dole out from the allotments on a need basis to prevent the individual Indian being cheated or spending unwisely.
Me about 8 years old was often visited by one about 17 who was a talented artist who drew pictures for me of guns, cowboys, horses, etc., my G-Mother feeding him with me. My Dad told of visiting an Indian owner, finding him & family sitting on blankets on the front porch of his upscale home — with living room furniture & a grand piano out in yard exposed to the elements. I don’t know what happened to the restricted Indian thing, probably disappeared as age & experience eliminated the need.
Once with G-Father on the way out to a farm he owned, told me how this stretch of road had always been muddy & few years ago he slogging along in his Model T Ford saw an Indian approaching horseback. Stopped, talking, Indian woman afoot comes up. Asking “This your woman?” – nods Yes – ‘How come you let woman walk?’ — “Woman no got horse.”
The Indian society seemed stratified, those I went to school with no different from the rest of us. A girl who passed recently I kept in contact with over the years, our fathers were best of friends. Bottom stratum were the ‘blanket’ Indians, their world disappeared & now a misfit in a different one.
Here in Ardmore, Oklahoma few of us realize we are in the Chickasaw Nation which dates back into history long before OK became a state in 1907. OK was originally Indian Territory. Other tribes have their own Nations — which are an active with tribal gov’t, police force, etc. The tribes have established casinos which fund many benefits for qualifying members. -Robert McCrory
Ardmore Eating – 1930s
An eating place was usually called a ‘Cafe’. Restaurant was high tone for the big cities. We also had ‘Drive Ins’ where girl ‘car hops’ came out and took your order – and you ate in the car. They had a tray that hooked on your window, you rolled up the glass a little, a prop below held it up. If you wanted more of something you honked or blink your headlights. Today’s Sonic is the update but the ’30s drive-ins also had sit down service inside. ‘Pig Stands’ for BBQ were also common. I don’t recall one in Ardmore but we always stopped at the one in Pauls Valley when we went to OK City.
The main downtown eatery was Earl’s Cafe just West of the Palace theater (later Tivoli). Across Main Street about where the Chamber of Commerce is now between D & E was the Green Frog, a popular drive-in.
Behind the Palace on B street was Bill Vaughan’s. Good plate lunch was 35 cents. My Dad ran the Conoco station half block away on B & Broadway. Hungry people would try to bum a quarter off him. He would give them a note and send them to Bill Vaughan and settle for it later.
Further out just off Broadway at highway 77 (now Commerce) was Priddy’s, the most popular drive-in and teen hang out. Further down 77 just South of the ‘Old Soldiers Home’ was Puny’s. Puny Sparger. a huge man, over six foot & 300 pounds plus, was a great people person and long time operator of Ardmore eateries up through WW2. Hamburger Inn was across Washington from the then Post Office. Their three inch hamburgers, meat fried with onions, for a nickel were great. Most of their business was thru a window on the street but they did have a counter inside with four or five stools.
Hamburgers (15 cents) came in ‘regular’ with meat, onion and mustard and ‘educated’, lettuce, tomato and mayo. French fries hadn’t been invented, at least in name – they were ‘shoe string potatoes’. Chicken fried steak was then called breaded veal cutlet and was a highlight of my Grandmother’s life at Puny’s. I know more about his place because my Dad owned the building. Small T bone steak was 65 cents, large 85. I remember Puny telling my Dad, all the eateries were about to raise the coffee price from a nickel to a dime because ‘you just can’t make it any more on a nickel’. What we now know as French fries were then ‘shoe strings’, green beams were ‘string beans’.
Drinks were water, coffee and ‘sody pop’. Tea was uncommon, ice tea something you had at home and ice coffee unheard of. The bottle drinks were like today, Coke, Dr Pepper and various flavors plus names like Nehi, Grapette. I don’t remember Pepsi Cola then but there were Royal Crown and Double Cola twice as big as Coke for your nickel.
Salad – there was polk salad, some kind of plant but nobody ate that. Potato salad was always at summer outings. Lettuce with tomatoes, etc like today hadn’t been discovered. I think it awaited oil/vinegar dressing. Salad dressing was mayonnaise like today that came in a jar. Later in WW2 a local eatery was doing big biz with oil/vinegar salad dressing. The then Air Base bought some and analyzed it, finding the olive oil cut with mineral oil – which almost resulted in some free room and board for him. His place was put off limits for a while, I heard. I didn’t live here 1942-1981.
On Caddo, East side, off Main st, was a kind of Saturday farmer’s market. A convenient place where farmers brought in a wagon load of whatever was in season. I recall my Grandfather having a discussion with a farmer who wanted seven cents for his cantaloupes rather than the usual nickel. Watermelons priced from a dime up, for what we called ‘knots’, the size of a basket ball. You got a pretty good melon for a quarter.
Ice cream was the big treat for us kids. We had a freezer that Mom put the egg custard in, surround with cracked ice and rock salt, then you cranked the handle forever till you felt it freezing – hard to turn. The ‘dasher’ a part inside where the ice cream made, was great to get to lick the dasher. Two ice plants in town, just over the tracks on 1st SE and D NW about where the 1st Nat’l Bank drive thru is now. My Grandfather would get 25 lbs block of ice put on the front bumper of his Model A Ford to take it home. By mid ’30s there were ‘double dip’ ice cream cones in 3 flavors, huge double dip for a nickel.
There was free food if you had a garden or raised chickens. Free food big-time 4th of July, 1933 at Sulphur – a public buffalo barbecue. People came from far and wide, crowds ‘you couldn’t stir them with a stick’ at the then Vendome swimming pool area. Strong in memory, my Mother’s uncle and family drove from South Texas on their way to Yellowstone. Their brand new Chevrolet was stolen so they spent most of the summer in Sulphur. There was a public barbecue at Ardmore fair grounds sometime after that – but my recall fails. -Robert McCrory
Butch, thanks for the link to the nice article on Devil’s Den, and the great bunch of pics links.
I used to go to Devil’s Den back 55-65, as often as I could get my parents to take me. Our church often had outing there as well. That is one of my all-time favorite places. After I moved away from Ardmore, I never knew it had been closed down, and about 15 years ago drove to Tishomingo to take my family to see the place. What a shock to find it all closed up. It just doesn’t seem right. -Skip
Due to my health issues, I have not sought any bookings in 2018 but I had already agreed to perform at the Cowboy Way Festival at the Gene Autry, Oklahoma Museum the first weekend of May. Now I am advised that that event has been cancelled because the air conditioning in the Museum is not operational. But an alternate plan is being prepared. The 2018 Cowboy Way Festival will be held in Ardmore, Oklahoma May 4, 5 & 6, 2018. I will not be performing at this event because it is an outdoor show and I do not do outdoor shows anymore. For more information about this event, please call 580-768-5559. If I do later accept any bookings in 2018, they will be listed on my website. http://www.lesgilliam.com
What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. -John Steinbeck
Butch and Jill Bridges
“Friends Make Life Worth Living”PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443
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