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Vol 23  Issue 1,178   August 22, 2019

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

Wilkes Dry Cleaning

Tom Lee Wilkes (1883-1966) open his first cleaning plant in Ardmore in 1908, on the eastside of North Washington. He had come to Ardmore at the age of 9 in 1892, and begin work in the cotton fields, doing yard work, and other odd jobs. From 1906 to 1908 he worked for a local laundry, delivering and keeping books, for $9 a week, 12 hours a day, and that is how he saved the $50 capital he used to open his cleaning plant.

The first cleaning process was with soap water, wash tubs, and brushes. The process the pressing was done with 20 lb sad irons heated on gas hot plates. He shortly begin using gasoline for cleaning, and then obtained his first dry cleaning machine.

Tom’s first delivery was by foot, with the clothes hanging on a broomstick over his shoulder. Soon he rigged up a horse-drawn delivery wagon, and in 1916 he introduced the first motorized delivery in Ardmore, with a second hand Model T Ford.

Tom and his wife, Fay McLamore Wilkes, operated this long time business on North Washington until August 1966, when Tom died. At that time Tom Wilkes Jr. took over the establishment, and operated it until 1980, when it was sold. Thus ended a pioneer store that served Ardmore well for 72 years.
-Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers book 1982

July 1984
Bail for Mikol Lane Dunn, 34, accused of killing Dennis Hicks, 26, of Lone Grove, was set at $50,000 by District Court Judge Woodrow George.

July 1984
Federal charges were filed against Perry Norvell for lewd molestation and embezzlement of a banknote.

July 1984
Billy Ray McMillan, reportedly suffering from a superficial gunshot wound, was driving himself to the hospital. His car collided with a vehicle driven by Jenny Sue Graham of Lone Grove, near Jay Norman Road. Both McMillan and Graham were hospitalized after the accident.

July 1984
Dr. Matt Loewen, who opened a clinic in Lone Grove, was honored by the community on July 18th on the first year of anniversary of the clinic’s start up.

July 1935
A nationwide campaign for legislation to deport approximately 6 million aliens as a partial solution to the United States unemployment problem was processed today by 155 organizations. A bill, supported by 150 congressmen, provides that no one that no illegal alien can hold a job in this country that can be filled by citizen. It also gives aliens 13 months in which to become citizens, or go home. It also makes mandatory deportation of 3.500,000 estimated of illegal entry.

Q.  What Oklahoma courthouse was caught on camera during the filming of the 1940 movie Grapes of Wrath?
A.   The Beckham County Courthouse, Sayre, Oklahoma was caught on camera as the family traveled along Route 66. The courthouse was built in 1911.

Q.  What hidden sanctuary in Oklahoma is home to one of the largest herds of Asian elephants in America?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletterA few pavers I made this week.




Below is from This and That newsletter archives of August 21, 2007

“The recent accounts in the T&T about Seminole remind me of a story my dad told me several years ago about an oil boom town known as Slick City located somewhere southeast of Seminole toward Wewoka. Dad was a student at Central State Teachers College at Edmond. He worked part time for a man that owned and operated a local eatery. One day the man approached dad with the proposition to work as the cook at an eatery he planned to open in Slick City. Dad and the man drove from Edmond to Seminole in the man’s Model-T Ford arriving late that afternoon. They found someone had already established an eatery in Slick City. It was a large tent with board sides, dirt floor, and a wood-burning cook stove at the back. They ate and then looked around Slick City for a suitable location for another eatery. They slept that night in the Model-T Ford. The next morning they looked around some more and then went by to see the owner of the eatery. They told him they were looking around for a place to open another eatery and dad was to be the cook. The owner offered dad a job as his cook. Dad said, “I thought you already have a cook.” The owner said, “I did, but he made a bad batch of biscuits this morning and got shot.” Dad thought about that situation a few seconds and decided to return to Edmond to school. He lived to age 104 years.” – Don Davidson, Brenham, Texas
Doug Williams sent in some pictures he received from Halie Moody. She took the pics after workers laying a water line discovered an abandoned water well just west of Ardmore’s Valero refinery on the north edge of Ardmore.


Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Speaking of small towns near Kingston, my mother was born in Woodville which had to be moved when Texoma was built. We used to tease her about being born under Lake Texoma! Several of our relatives are buried in Knob cemetery which is on a hill almost overlooking the lake and Roosevelt bridge. -R. Helms
Good news for local ham radio operators. An allstar node is on the air in the ham shack at the old Red Cross building. It is permanently connected to the IRLP East coast Reflector. The frequency is 434.000 MHZ and the PL tone is 131.8. If you would like to use the node, just key your mic if the frequency is free, announce your call sign, and say something like you are monitoring for a call. Also announce your location. This is a world wide reflector and you can talk to DX stations all over the world.
After reviewing the list of eateries in Ardmore back in 1967 that you included in last week’s issue, I wondered if the “Lutz Cafe” might have been included. It could possibly have been closed before 1967, but I seem to recall that it was a place some went to eat for lunch from the high school. It was just 1/2 block south of the high school on Washington, close to the G&G Music shop. I think I went a couple of times when I was in the 9th or 10th grade. They had great hamburgers/fries and there was a jukebox in the front. I’m wondering if anyone remembers that place?
In 1920, my dad H.H. (Harry) Whitfield at the age of 17, hopped a train in Ardmore that was headed
for California to see the world. He had wonderful exciting tales to tell of his stop-offs along the way, but he finally arrived in San Francisco in 1921. Penniless, he immediately got a job unloading ships arriving at the harbor… more great stories… but his desire was to work for Western Union in Berkeley, across the bay. When he applied for his job, he found he needed college credits, so he enrolled in the now University of California, Berkeley. To pay for school and having learned to play the piano at the churches his dad (G.W. Whitfield) pastored, he took a job playing the piano in a local speakeasy. Anyway, he completed the required courses, got the job and worked for three years in suits, ties and coveted community status before his wanderlust kicked in and he moved on to Los Angles! Western Union employees held high status in their communities. -Vi Freeman

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” -Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790), Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746

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