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Vol 23  Issue 1,172  July 11, 2019

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

Paradise Vista Tourist Courts – Ardmore, Oklahoma

James Pinckney Williams, better known as Cowboy Pink Williams (1892-1976), was the builder, owner and operator of the tourist court east of Ardmore. The idea for this business venture was the results of his having stayed overnight in such a facility in Shreveport, Louisiana. When Williams return to Ardmore, he promptly begin to make plans to build the first tourist court in Ardmore and some evidence indicates that it may have been the first in the state of Oklahoma.

It was such an innovative idea that OG&E was reluctant to place an electric line to the location on Old Highway 70 East. “Who’s going to stop at a place like that when Ardmore has first class hotels downtown” was the dubious question. Williams had to agree to pay $10 each for the 10 poles necessary to reach the 30-acre tract for the new tourist park was being built. “If you can get 10 more customers out that direction, then we’ll pay”, OG&E told him, still skeptical. Eventually 10 more customers did build, and OG&E paid for the poles.

Paradise Vista was the name chosen for the tourist park. Williams took the name from the popular comic strip, Andy Grump. The daily cartoons were depicting Andy Gump in Florida during the big real estate boom in the 1920s. Andy Gump developed some land in Florida, and he called it Paradise Vista.

Paradise Vista in Ardmore was an immediate success. The setting was a 30-acre track with a stream running through it and pecan trees providing shade. There was a filling station in the center front. A restaurant was on the east end breakfast for $0.15, and hamburgers were a dime. Coffee, with refills free, was $0.05. There were eight cabins with carports on one side to shelter the cars. Restrooms and showers were in the rear end of ehe filling station with doors opening to the outside. Price for a one-bed cabin was $1, with the two big cabins bringing a dollar and a half. Later, more cabins were built, and a garage constructed at the west end of the property.

Paradise Vista was always in the newspapers as reporters guided off the tourist park to pinpoint news stories.

Paradise Vista flourished with the cabins filling every night. The cost of building the facility was soon paid during the profitable years. Sign boards, arrow shaped and pointing toward Ardmore, informed the tourist how far they were from Paradise Vista at Ardmore, Oklahoma. Such signs put up on Highway 70 East all the way to the Atlantic coast, and other signs place to the west and south through Texas. Visitors from many states stopped at Paradise Vista, with large numbers being turned away by the “No Vacancy” sign.

Years later a highway change put Paradise Vista off the map. However by this time the tourist court was outdated, and travelers were seeking more modern accommodations.

No Trace is left of what was once Paradise Vista with its crowds of tourist in the busy activities of employees there to serve them. The stretch a pavement in front, abandoned years ago by Highway 70 East, that moved further south, is now cracked and broken, with weeds growing in the wide crevices and covering the right-of-ways to the sides. The buildings were moved away and bodies of old cars, mostly obscured by tall grass and brush, now fill the area once occupied by Paradise Vista.  -Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers book 1982


Below is a map showing the approximate location of the Paradise Vista Tourist Park in Ardmore. It would have been located between the present Highway 199 and the old Highway 70 in northeast Ardmore.


Dougherty, Oklahoma: In southern Murray county. First known locally as Henderson Flat. Post office established September 3, 1887. Named for William Dougherty of Gainesville, Texas, a banker. -from ‘Oklahoma Place Names’ by George Shirk

May 1935
Rains late in the week has boosted Lake Murray’s total depth to just under the 50 foot mark, and 7 foot higher then it was a week ago. The lake now covers 650 square acres in more than a square mile.

May 1935
Bob Simpson, Lone Grove: “Our little town used to be the grape growing center of Indian Territory. People have neglected the vineyards and their orchards, and now very little of either are left.”

May 2004
Carter County Commissioners discontinued individual scrutiny of purchase orders. In the past, Commissioners have spent 30 to 90 minutes at each of their weekly session reviewing purchase orders, one by one. However that practice is now stopped, at least temporarily. Instead Commissioners are now handed a list of purchase orders to be approved at their regular Monday morning meeting.

1960 Fedler’s Pharmacy 12 North Washington

1960 Jack Park’s Bakery 28 North Washington

1960 Ford Hotel 113 North Washington

1960 G&G Music Company 121 North Washington

1960 Malt Shop and Cafe 124 North Washington

1960 Harris Service Station 220 North Washington

1960 Dairy Queen 311 North Washington

1960 Oakley Apartments (Jack Oakley) 921 North Washington

1960 Patton’s New and Used Antiques 1005 North Washington

1960 Ferguson Service Station 1100 North Washington

1960 Rice Auto Clinic 1118 North Washington

1960 Sooner Foods 1213 North Washington

1960 Red’s Welding, Coleman and Keeton Automotive 1400 North Washington

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is the worlds largest peanut?
A.   Durant, Oklahoma

Q.  What country’s flag was the first to fly over Oklahoma?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is flagstone I recently sandblasted.


Below is from This and That newsletter archives of July 12, 2007

Jill and I were out and about last Saturday and we were just a couple miles west of Saskawa, Oklahoma (that’s NE of Ada) and on the north side of Highway 56 was the Spring Baptist Indian Church. They had a real nice bell mounted in front of the church building so I took some pictures.
And behind the church was a water well. It has a plastic cover over the well opening to keep out trash and all.
Between Sasakwa and Ada is Francis, Oklahoma. I have several Murphree kinfolk buried at the Cedar Grove cemetery northeast of Francis. Here is a couple of pics I took looking at downtown Francis, Oklahoma. Ain’t much left of Francis. The Country Cottage cafe and a few other buildings.
While in Ada last Saturday Jill and I stopped at the Ada Public Library to look for genealogy info on my Murphree bunch who lived there years ago. We did find a couple of cemetery book indexes, but not much on my Murphrees. But when I turned to the “C”s something really grabbed my attention. There listed was a “C. Carmon, Nov 10, 1907 – Feb 22, 1912”. I just feel this boy is kin to me. My mind flashed back to the 1960s. A man by the name of Floyd “Hen Egg” Howell (1910-1982) lived 3 blocks east of me when I was a teen. He told me something back then that no one in my family ever mentioned, nor did I ever bring it up. I won’t say what Floyd told me yet, but it was something about a mysterious death in Ada, Oklahoma involving one of my family members. If my gut feelings are right, this “C. Carmon” plays a part of the mystery. Hopefully real soon Jill and I can get up to Ada (and Seminole) to do research for the answers.
Bob’s BBQ has been at the north edge of Ada since 1952 and they sure serve some great tasting bbq. Lots of meat for $3.99 a sandwich.
With all the photos being taken of Turner Falls the last few weeks, here is one I took in March 1999 after a 5 inch rain.
Bill Thomas sent in a old photo of the Rock Crusher near Dougherty, Oklahoma along the Washita River, taken about 100 years ago.
The Wilson News 2-11-1915: The city marshal is now after the dog tax. Its money to marbles that there are a lot of ownerless dogs in this town just at this time.

2-18-1915: February is a great month in history. Think of all the anniversaries that fall in this month. Washington’s birthday, Lincoln’s birthday, St. Valentine’s day, ground hog day, and now it seems destined to mark the day Tom Griffin killed the dogs at Wilson.

2-18-1915: “Slaughter Of The Innocents” – City Marshall, Tom Griffin, says that next Tuesday he will begin the extermination of the unlicensed canines of Wilson. Tom is going to have his hands full, it appears, for up to date less than thirty licenses have been taken and there must be about 300 dogs here. Then after the marshal gets through his part of the job, there will be some work for someone to clean up after Tom. -Submitted by Mindy Taylor

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Butch, When I was growing up and living on Stanley in the early 50s, there was a small toy shop located in a woman’s garage just to the west of Lincoln school. Do you know anything about that? All I remember is the door was located on the west side of the building. The name could have been something like the Toy Cupboard. I just don’t remember any more. I have several Dinky Toy vehicles that my mother bought for me from there. They are metal and were manufactured in England. I still have all of them and most of them are in their original boxes. -Monroe
Betsy McGowan owned the Toy Cupboard on H Street SW between McLish and Bixby (109 G Street SW). -Ann Whitchurch
Hereford Heaven Round Up Club
Reunion and Program
Monday, July 15, 7:00pm
Arbuckle Museum
402 W. Muskogee
Sulphur, Oklahoma
A picture I took the other day of the old Waurika, Oklahoma depot, now library. -David Cathey
Here is a postcard showing a different view of Ardmore’s Union Station that was destroyed in the 1915 explosion. Ardmore, Oklahoma – Robert Hensley
I ran across this photo of this church tower just off of Highway 9A, south of Eufaula, Oklahoma. Does anyone know any of its story? -John Welcher

“There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore, and who always will. So don’t stress about people from your past… there’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future” -unknown

See everyone next week!

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