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Vol 24  Issue 1,244    November 26, 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

Ardmore Public Schools

When the Ardmore Public Schools opened in September of 1899 the enrollment was about 900 and today (1957) the number of students is an excess of 4,400.

J. R. Hendrix, the first superintendent of schools, had a faculty of 20 teachers and three other employees. The Ardmore school of 1899 to 1900 operating on a budget of approximately $5,000. The budget for the 1957 term of school totals more than $868,000. The present faculty members 151 teachers and the total number of school employees is 175.

The Ardmore school system of 1899 owned neither a foot of property nor a building, even the chalk blackboards were bought on credit. The original buildings were rented from the owners. The city didn’t own any school buildings until 1903. Superintendent J. R. Hendrix was hired at $900 a year, but the first school time was only six months during the first three years our schools were operated.

The high school principal was paid $50 per month while the teachers salaries ran from $30 to $40 per month, one at $22.50. The only full-time janitor was paid $12 a month, and the part-time ones $6 to $7.50.

The school payroll for 1899 ran about $600 a month. Today it is approximately 40,000 per month. The first teachers received warrants which they had a hard time cashing at face value. Many of them had to be discounted. But for the kindness of an early day school board member, Jeff Banks, Ardmore merchant, all of the school warrants would have had to be discounted.

Mayor John L Galt, the first mayor, elected in 1898, called the first school board meeting on March 11, 1899, administered the oath of office to the members. They then organized, naming H. C. Potterf as president. Other members of this original school board were W. S. Wolverton, Jay W. Banks, Dr S. S. Carr, George Henry Bruce and Charles D. Carter. All of these men are now deceased.

Their first order of business was to hire J. R. Hendricks as superintendent of schools and arrange for buildings in which to open school.

King College, on the corner of Washington and West Broadway, just north of the present post office, was rented from T. B. King, who owned and operated it. He was hired as assistant principal of the school. Teachers hired for this seat of higher learning were was W. A. Sniff, principal: van McCullough, Josephine Carr, Meida Smith and Blanche bailey. Incidentally, this was the first high school established in what is now Oklahoma.
-from Carter County History book 1957

October 1982
They trial of Carter County District 3 commissioner Hollis Calendar ended shortly before noon when Calendar changed his plea. Charged with one count of driving under the influence, and one count of transporting an open container, changed his plea of not guilty to no contest. He was placed on probation for a year and fined $800.

October 1950
The Carter County health unit was summarily abolished Saturday. Officials at the unit were advised by telephone that effective immediately no more money would be forthcoming from the county. Dr. J M Gordon, acting director, said this meant the unit would have to close. Authorities said the action was taken because there were insufficient funds in the general fund to pay for everything. In addition to the health department, the county old folks home, and a portion of the fair felt the axe.

October 1926
The presence of mind of a school bus driver probably was responsible for saving the lives of between 25 and 30 schoolchildren when a span of a bridge over Washita River collapsed, partially submerging the bus. Bruises were the only injuries. The span was prevented from floating away in the stream, which was at high stage, when one end lodges against a steel pier. The bus remained on the span at a dangerous angle with the rear end submerged. Walter Coffee, the driver, lashed the bus to a post that protruded from the bank of the stream with a rope, while the older pupils broke out the windows of the bus and all succeeded in scrambling out.

October 1926
The Santa Fe Railroad completed negotiations for the purchase of the Oklahoma, New Mexico and Pacific, known locally as the Ringling Railroad, and will take immediate possession. The line runs from Ardmore, to Lone Grove, to Wilson, to Healdton, to Ringling. It was built by circus owner John Ringling, in 1913, and has been a paying proposition from the first day.

October 1926
The Oklahoma State Bank of Atoka, one of the leading financial institutions in the Southeastern part of the state, is closing its doors, by order of the state banking examiner.

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 $294,608.66 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 Oklahoma State Treasurer link below. I think every state in the union has a unclaimed property website through the state treasures website.

Q. Where west of the Mississippi River was the first radio broadcast station put into operation?
A.  In 1922, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a license and call letters to WKY in Oklahoma City. It was the first radio station west of the Mississippi River.

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is Gloss Mountain?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

The man in the photo is Mr. R. C. Alford, S.S. Cole photographer, Ardmore, Indian Territory -Robert Hensley
Hi Butch, I just found this news article and I thought you might be interested. This is when they changed the name of Berwin to Gene Autry. Sorry this isn’t in great shape but I thought you might like to see it anyhow.
I was there when they had the parade in Ardmore when Gene Autry rode his horse, Champion, down the street. (see attachment)

I really enjoy your weekly letters and reading the old information.
I was born in Baum in 1930 and left Ardmore in 1943. I live in California now. I started my first school in Baum. I had the same teacher from the first to the eighth grade. His name was Amos Wolf. I transferred to Dixon in 1936. I am 90 years old now and things have changed quite a bit since then! I have lots of relatives still living in Ardmore.

Thank you again for your letters, I read them all the time. Keep writing. 🙂
-Orie Edwards
Healdton Main Street 1927
Mr. Bridges, That Boarding house that you mention in your editorial next to the High School was where some baseball players live there during the baseball season and was Mrs Garrett who own the house or manager the house, she was a very nice lady, and I was in there too. we used to talk to the boys and girls between the windows I am talking about 1950 those years were the best years of my life, I don’t know now but then the people of Ardmore Okla. were so nice and so American that I loved them, everybody on this beautiful town were incredible good we us. That is the reason that after 70 years I never forget ARDMORE MY TOWN. -Ernest
Butch, reading this weeks newsletter. You had 2008 comment about the old 2 story house next to old high school. You were correct about the building just appearing near the pole. That was attached to the gymnasium and was the administration office. However, the building across the street was not the shop building–shop was further west, actually almost straight north of the Junior high building. The building in the picture if I remember correctly was the American Legion building.
Enjoy reading your news–keep it up. -Jim Wilmoth
When I was in Jr. Hi I had a paper route and delivered the Daily Ardmoreite to that house just north of the High School. I collected the price of the paper every Saturday morning from a very old but nice lady. I was under the impression she was the widow of Sheriff Buck Garrett. She ran a rooming house there. Several of the baseball players on the Ardmore Baseball Team lived there.
-Herb Linder class of 1954
2 story house is Mrs Garrett’s boarding house. In the right edge of the picture is a corner of the admin bldg. It was on the front edge of the gym. Across the street was the American Legion Hall. West of the American Legion Hall (in front of the Admin bldg) would have been the shop bldg. I don’t know what happened to the house. This is in the early 50’s when I was in school. -Herb Linder class of 1954

Hi Butch, I thought you might like the articles about a Deputy US Marshall. My Grandmother Nellie was married to him after her husband passed away and his wife had passed away. The attachments was an account written by Mac McGalliard of the Daily Ardmoreite. The story was told to me that he stopped the KKK from going in the court house. I hope this will help you. I enjoy your this and that every Thursday. -Jim Wright
This is Funeral notice for Capt. Whittington from the Ardmore Daily Press Jan 20, 1926 -Robert Hensley

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of November 27, 2008

Something interesting I found from the 1924 maps. The M.E. Methodist Church South was located in the SE corner of West Broadway and B Street NW. Today if it where still standing, this would put it facing the Ardmoreite Building.
I was browsing google maps looking around southern Oklahoma when something caught my attention.  It was Battle Springs Lake located about 9 mile south of Lone Grove near Oswalt, Oklahoma.  I remember I had a newspaper clipping from the 1920s talking about Battle Springs Lake and Resort, a tourist attraction for many people in those days. When I was reading about Battle Springs Lake in that old newspaper clipping, I thought how I had never heard of such a place in our area of Oklahoma.  I hope someone out there can tell us more about this Love county spot, I know its used for fishing.  I can already feel another excursion coming on for Jill and I, checking out Battle Springs Lake just over the Love county line.

“Butch have read a lot about the old Tiger Hut hamburgers on 3rd and North Washington, a Gentleman by the name of Tyler Prince ran it for a few years, and closed it down. I reopen it as a glass shop way before RT’s Tires rented it.” -Allen Young
“Butch, Maybe I can clear up the mystery of the two story house north of Ardmore High School at the corner of 3rd Ave NW and N Washington. It was the home place of Buck Garrett and his wife Ida May. I know this because my grandmother was Mrs. Garrett’s caretaker at times as I grew up in Ardmore. My Grandfather, Fred Williams, was Buck Garrett’s deputy and my Grandmother remained friends with Mrs. Garrett until Mrs. Garrett’s death in 1958 (according to Rose Hill records). As a young boy I would go and stay with my Grandmother in the house. I remember that Mrs. Garrett took in borders but had trouble keeping them because she was a difficult and demanding landlady. I seem to remember that she rented to players who played for the Ardmore Indians baseball team. I do not recall what happened to the house after Mrs. Garrett’s death except that it was purchased by Ardmore High School at some point after her death.” -Sam Williams, Denton, Texas
“Before it was Myers Apartments, it was Cruce apartments (North Washington and 4th NW). Mr. Cruce was a brother to Lee Cruce the second governor of OK. (I think he was second). My aunt married their son, Lee Cruce. Mr. and Mrs. Cruce had two sons and a daughter, Dorothy DeMoss, who was Dr. C.D. Cunningham’s nurse for many, many years. She and her husband lived in one of the apartments for years. I believe they also owned the apartment building behind the Cruce Apartments.” -Frances Dunlap
“Butch, Reading the piece this week about Carter County buying the Harvey-Douglas reminded of an interesting fact about Cecil and Herbert Harvey. They married sisters. Cecil married Eula May Johnson in 1916 and Herbert married Eula May’s sister, Georgia Johnson.

While we’re on the subject of funeral homes, there was a casket manufacturer in Ada called the American Glass Casket Company. They produced a solid glass casket that could accommodate a grown adult. Apparently they molded the box from a single sheet of glass and then covered it with a glass top. This company also produced cut glassware and my dad had a piece of it that unfortunately got broken several years ago.

I never saw a picture of one of the caskets, but have always been curious about them. Maybe one of your readers can provide some information. My dad never knew anyone who was buried in one of the glass caskets.” -Monroe Cameron

Today is Thanksgiving Day and I hope everyone is having a bountiful day of food and fellowship. Millions have lost their jobs during this pandemic and keep those in your prayers. But above all, stay safe for you, and for family members.

“Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. Ours was the first country in the world to make a national holiday to give thanks.”

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Lone Grove, Oklahoma


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