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Vol 24  Issue 1,243  November 19, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

A Glimpse Into The Past

According to Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the hamburger, a ground meat patty between two slices of bread, was first created in America in 1900 by Louis Lassen, a Danish immigrant, owner of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven. So we can assume by Ardmoreite Sally Gray’s book that Bob Biggs must have introduced the lowly hamburger to Ardmore within a couple of years later after its invention in Connecticut.

Maybe not the most important event, historically speaking, but one of the culinary interest had been the introduction of the hamburger to Ardmore in 1904. Bob Biggs (1868-1926) had brought his family south from Yukon, Oklahoma looking for a job and hoping to establish a home here. Soon after his arrival, he struck up a conversation with a traveler who told him of a new food sensation he had encountered in his journeys. Intrigued with the concept, Biggs and the man sit down and designed a push cart with a gasoline heated grill, shelves and a serving counter. But after gathering up all the cash he could lay his hands on the would be entrepreneur was still short by $12. Finally finding a local merchant who was willing to take a chance named Carr, the equipment was bought. The push cart could usually be found located at the corner of Main and Mill streets. The first hamburgers sold for a nickel and were an instant success. So much so, in fact, that 4 years later Bob Biggs was proprietor of a new restaurant at the same location, the Horseshoe Restaurant at 203 East Main, so named for the shape of the counter. -Sally Gray, Territory Town, The Ardmore Story published 2006

1910 Robert F. (Bob) and Lizzie Biggs, Bob’s Place, 203 East Main, residence 731 8th NE

1920 Bob and Lizzie’s Rooms, Service Car and Transfer, 13½ East Main

1926 Restaurant 21 A NE, Bob Biggs, Proprietor

Grave maker for Bob Biggs at Rosehill cemetery in Ardmore


October 1950
Benny Wall was driving peacefully along US Highway 77 just south of the top of the Arbuckles, when he noticed the car ahead drive over something. Wall got out to look at what was in the middle of the road, and it was a snake, a big snake, 8 ft long, and weighing over 50 lbs. He brought it to town, but no agreement can be reached on the breed of the snake.

October 1926
The first free bridge (1931) to connect Oklahoma and Texas across the Red River was dedicated Tuesday with ceremonies centering on speeches by Governor M. C. Trapp of Oklahoma, and Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas. Mrs. Roy Johnson, a native of Texas, and now a resident of Carter County, Oklahoma, sponsored the festivities. Lying of asphalt is all the bridge lacks. Ferry boats operating day and night now handle the 100 cars a day traffic. The toll free bridge was located south of Durant.

I have been busy working unclaimed property and connecting people in this area with their unclaimed property at the Oklahoma State Treasurers Office in Oklahoma City. So far the dozens of connections with people has been in the $2,000 to $5,000 range but one was insurance money in the amount of $24,000. Its been rewarding to help people when we are living in financially hard times because of the pandemic. I know some of the over $288,500 I’ve united with its owners of unclaimed property (insurance money) will be a Godsend to those on hard times. I don’t get any money for my service, but the reward of helping others makes it all worth while.

So with the above being said, how long has it been since you check your name or a family member’s name? Its easy to do a search at the link below. I think every state in the union has a unclaimed property website through the state treasures website.

Q. Where was Oklahoma’s first school located?
A.  Edmond, Oklahoma has the distinction of having the first public schoolhouse in Oklahoma Territory. Completed in August 1889, the small frame building was located at the southwest corner of Second and Boulevard.

Q.  Where west of the Mississippi River was the first radio broadcast station put into operation?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

No emails this week, well I should say history and newsletter related emails. Surely someone out there knows some history. lol



Below is from This and That newsletter archives of November 20, 2008

Over the years there has been mention several times about the old wagon yard near Central Park. It was called the West Wagon Yard (Central Wagon Yard was near Daubes on East Main).  One article stated it was east of the park.  Many first timers to Ardmore back in the 1890s who were unable to find other lodging or afford a hotel room spent the nights at the West Wagon Yard.  I found the exact location of the West Wagon Yard on a 1924 map showing it at the SE edge of Central Park, south side of the alley way where the present day office of Gene Reding, CPA at #14 E SW.

Below is a screen shot of the 1924 map showing the 300 Block of West Main at D Street SW.  In that SW corner I see the old Brown and Bridgeman Undertakers office, which eventually became Harvey Brothers Funeral Home. And I see directly on the south side of the undertakers office the boarding house where my Aunt Eva Carmon lived. My aunt Eva was employed at Daube Department Store as a hat maker in 1917 when she lived behind the undertaking office. Hat makers were known as milliners back in those days and were in quite demand to supply high fashion ladies’ hats to the more affluent.

For an historical account of the beginnings of Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home, starting back before Ardmore was even an incorporated town and was basically just a tent city, follow the link below.
Carter county employee Nathan Christian was storing some records in the former Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home (recently purchased by Carter County Government) across the street south from the courthouse, and found a couple of unusual items.  Two framed diplomas with Henry Lee Cathey in one frame, and Beulah Cathey’s name inscribed on the other diploma. Henry Lee Cathey (1876-1940) is buried at Rosehill Cemetery here in Ardmore. These framed diplomas were well hidden in the rafters of the building and both have dates of 1919 on the diplomas.

The first part of the year a Reader in NW Oklahoma sent me a picture and CD of the old Millcreek Dam located north of Madill.  It was built by the City of Madill back in the 1920s as a water source for Madill, but never could be used, and turned out to be a $400,000 white elephant for the City of Madill. The problem was too much silt coming down stream in the water, settling and filling in the dam in the matter of a few months, making it impossible to use as a water source.
Ex-Ardmoreite Bobby Harris now living in Mexico (now deceased) sent in an even better view of the old boarding house that used to be on the north side of the old Ardmore High School.  I received several emails saying they thought that used to be a boarding house ran by the widow of either Sheriff Buck Garrett or deputy sheriff Bud Ballew.  One email said they thought it was not torn down, but moved 1 block to the north to 4th and North Washington (facing the Trinity Baptist Church). That being the case, the house is known today as Harmon Apartments (formerly Myers Apts).https://oklahomahistory.net/ttphotos8a/BoardingHouse1.jpg

I stared & stared at that photo & finally realized that the 2 story house stood where the auditorium is now. The building on the left was the shop building when I was going to school there. The building on the right just to the side of the telephone pole was the administration building at one point.”
Southeast of Ardmore near the county line is an area that used to be called Smyrna, Oklahoma. I know several of you have written in to say you or your kin attended the Smyrna school at one time.  I know Kenneth Faught, a retired Carter county deputy sheriff here in Ardmore, attended the Smyrna school as a child.  A reader sent in a class photo taken at the Smyrna school in 1931.

“Butch I noticed you had an earlier picture of Smyrna school 1923. Here is another one made 1931. The teacher standing at top the left side of the picture as you view it on screen. First one on the second row. Mary Byrne Damoran. I have two sisters in the picture.” -Minnilou Baird
“I wanted to ask you about having a link in your newsletter to our newly-released book’s website.  It is an authorized historical biography of Chuck Norris’ mother, Ms. Wilma Norris Knight. Sheltered in His Arms has lots of Wilson and Carter County history.  Our story spans over one hundred years and covers six generations from pre-statehood Love County to 2005 Carter County.———————————————–

Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Lone Grove, Oklahoma


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Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
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American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
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