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Vol 24  Issue 1,225    July 16, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

A Glimpse Into The Past

They wanted a zoo, and got it.

In 1950 a group of Ardmore Jaycees decided they wanted a zoo for the community. True, they had no money and no knowledge of zoo management. But, believing in crossing the nearest bridges first, they asked the city council for permission to establish a zoo under the trees in fair park. They were quickly turned down three times.

In the meantime, some of the men had been visiting and studying zoos in other cities. They had been thinking zoo end talking zoo and a zoo they would have so they persuaded Julian Frazer of the Oklahoma City Lincoln Park zoo to meet with the Ardmore city fathers on their behalf. That did the trick. Frazer put the matter in a new light when he insisted that a zoo would offer both educational and recreational advantages that it would also bring more trade into Ardmore. The council finally offered the use of the land, the services of a keeper and the underwriting of operating expenses.

So the Ardmore Jaycees had their zoo, but nary an animal nor a cage. These developments brought on an ambitious fund-raising campaign and the men soon found themselves with $200 in the bank and a Rhesus monkey in-well, there was still no cage in the park, so Buddy Miller stepped up and volunteered to keep the simian funster in his own home until a cage could be built.

Business executives, store clerks and office workers become ditch diggers, wheelbarrow operators and concrete pourers. It’s a safe bet that of least one bank teller, Buddy Miller, was right in the middle of this!

Jim Murphey, professional welder, brought his tools as the foundation begin to take shape and built the frame and guard rails. “Jaycee,” as the monkey had been named, thus become the first resident to be housed at the zoo. The monkey community was soon enlarged by three, courtesy of a Durant automobile dealer, the Oklahoma City Jaycees and the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Hundreds of persons flocked to the fair grounds on sunny afternoons and began returning with their own offerings to add to the menagerie. There were squirrels, foxes, wolves, raccoons, possibly a long with some creatures that folks would bring in, point to and inquire “What’s that?” All needed cages, the Jaycees needed money to build cages and money raising was going in style, taking such forms as dances, style shows and turkey shoots. Animals were lodged in homes all around Ardmore.

Money rolled in and sleeves were going rolled up by the do-it-yourselfers; new cages rose fast, spurred by the offer of the Goddard game ranch to donate a deer as soon as suitable quarters were provided for it.

Two boys from Pauls Valley came to town bearing a Canadian black bear cub which hold been given to them by an uncle. The Jaycees acquired this bundle of fur for $15.00 and Buddy Miller, That’s right, Buddy, again become guardian until a strong cage could be built. Although largely done by relatively inexperienced craftsmen, construction of the zoo has been permanent and up-to-date, utilizing steel, concrete and native stone in on ever-growing plant that is both practical and attractive.

Before zoo days, G. C. McGehee had been custodian at fair park. He agreed to try his hand at zoo keeping, an occupation for which he had had no training. He studied up and found that he and the animals hit it off just dandy.

Animals wilder or much larger than a bird dog are just fine when the owner has a place and need for them; when there is an over population of one kind or when there are no facilities for caring for them, they become about as useless as a cow in a hotel lobby. The Ardmore zoo and other zoos throughout the country are continually swapping, selling, giving or being given animals. This situation is beneficial to all concerned and has swelled the population of the Jaycee Zoo.

There was the time a circus went broke at Hugo and had on hand two African lions, about the most useless and expensive things in the world for a bankrupt circus but just what the local zoo needed.

The Ardmore Lions picked up the African lions for a song and donated them to the Jaycee zoo.

But there was not yet a lion cage of the zoo and No! Buddy Miller was not called on this time. The cats visited the Gainesville zoo until their double, $1,200 quarters were completed.

All southern Oklahoma enjoys the pleasant relaxation of trips to the Jaycee zoo at Ardmore.-from Carter County History book 1957

Jerry Arnold, proprietor of Eastside Radio Repair Shop, 500 East Main, Ardmore, Oklahoma

1935 – Ardmore Bowling Alley, #14 East Main, Tom Southerland manager, Ardmore and Dr. Robert Blagg, chiropractor, 922 West Main, Ardmore


May 1930
A terrific straight wind which partially visited nearly all parts of Southern Oklahoma, caused considerable property damage and destroyed a number of buildings at 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Mrs. McClanahan was painfully burned about the arms when lightning struck her house. A sudden terrific gust of wind which struck at Woodford knocked Mrs J. E. Speake to the ground breaking right arm just above the wrist. Her husband J. E. Speake was thrown to the ground. The couple was in the yard putting chickens in a water proof poop when the wind struck. The same storm broke out many windows in the school and flying glass cut a number of school children.

May 1930
J E Riley, a farmer, Was Bitten on the hand by a copperhead snake. He cut open the wound. Sucked out some of the poison and then headed for the Sanitarium. He refused the anti-venom injection and settle for soaking his hand. Or sometime, Riley was reported to be extremely ill

April 1954
Prospects appear likely a number of small post offices such as Brock will be discontinued. Post offices have been closing at the rate of 700 a year for the past 32 years.

April 1930
Litigation involving the Plainview and Pleasant Hill School Districts has been dismissed and they can now consolidate. Pleasant Hill citizens plan to utilize the school building as a community house. The teacherage at Pleasant Hill will be moved to Plainview.

A couple grave markers I made this week.




Q.  What is Oklahoma’s state tree?
A.  In 1937 the Eastern Redbud became the official tree.

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is the redneck capital of the world located.
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of July 17, 2008

There are many great bargains to be found at garage sales. An Ardmoreite found such a bargain lately, a book by the name of ‘Readings in Oklahoma History’ by Dale and Rader, printed in 1930. I did a search at www.abebooks.com and found several for sale, ranging from about $40 to $125. Needless to say this garage sale book was bought at a bargain. Over the next few days I will be reading some or most of it, and let everyone know if I find something I just can’t wait to tell about.

Book Description: Row, Peterson & Co., Evanston, 1930, 1930. Hard Cover. First Edition. Gilt-stamped cloth. 865pp. A phenomenal compilation of essays & articles from a multitude of sources. Twenty sections, from the Spanish & French in the Mississippi Valley, to the Five Civilized Tribes, to the Civil War in Indian Territory, to ranching, the land openings, statehood, economic & educational development, etc. Dale was one of the famous professors of history at OU, & Rader was librarian at OU.

I’ve scanned the Table of Contents of this over 850 page book.



One interesting topic in Chapter 4 that caught my eye was an expedition by Captain Randolph Marcy, known as the prairie traveler. He traveled the Red River in 1852 starting from the “mouth of the Cache River”. I didn’t find a Cache River on the maps, but believe the location is south of Altus, Oklahoma. It is there the Salt Fork of the Red River empties out at the Red River. But then Capt Marcy may have started his journey further to the northwest at the beginning of the Red River southwest of Amarillo, Texas near Hereford, Texas. Lots more research needed.
I thought, how did the measure miles back in 1852? They sure didn’t have the convenience of mile markers or odometers back in those days. I have scanned those 5 pages about Capt. Marcy’s expedition and linked them below for those interested.




Ardmore Bedding Company, Albert C. Butzow, Proprietor 1923


Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

I messed up a few days ago. I was trying to delete 2 or 3 email in my INBOX and somehow deleted about 35. If you sent me an email the last few days, Hopefully you can resend it. And me being the expert, I don’t need to delete to those emails to trash box, just permanently delete them. Yea right. Live and learn. lol

And remember, do as I say, not as I do. lol






Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443


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