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Vol 25  Issue 1,261 March 25, 2021

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

FROM RED DUST TO CONCRETE RIBBONS

Before statehood, there was no money for highways except for streets in incorporated towns and cities. Before 1907 the only way the roads leading out of Ardmore were kept in condition was by voluntary contributions made by merchants.

The roads followed the path of least resistance, winding around hills and crossing streams where they could best be forded.
In November 1907, machinery was provided for the various counties to issue bonds or collect taxes to take care of the second other necessary improvements.

With the coming of statehood, roads were load out on section lines and as taxes were received or bonds voted, bridges and other improvements were made.

On Jan. 4, 1923, contract was let at Oklahoma City for two miles of paving north from Ardmore and also three miles east. The main road north from Ardmore passed by the country club, as members of the club and many citizens of Ardmore pressed to have the pavement laid out along that route.

A. R. Losh was the Federal engineer for the district, with headquarters in Fort Worth. He pointed out that as there was a low price bid on rock asphalt with a concrete base for the north road, and insomuch as Ardmore produced asphalt, he recommended this type for that section. For the section three miles east, concrete was recommended.

Those roads, built 24 years ago, were considered “tops” in engineering. Earth-moving machinery was not in general use and grading was left largely to mules and slips and fresnos. When Lee Cruce was governor, he appointed Col. Sidney Suggs, the owner of the Ardmoreite, as state commissioner of highways. His salary consisted of $1 he collected from any good roads enthusiast as a license to drive a car. Suggs traveled up and down the highways of the state with a paint brush, marking the numbers on telegraph and telephone poles. Many organizations pushed various roads. The Meridian Highway, for instance, ran from Wichita, Kansas through Enid, El Reno, Chickasha and Waurika to the west of Ardmore. At that time, people going to Texas drove over a dirt road east of Marietta, crossing Red River at Tuck’s Ferry, and going into Gainesville from the northeast over a gravel highway that was almost as good as pavement.

In the fall of 1926, a high type graveled road had been cut through the Arbuckle Mountains. Before that time, people going to Oklahoma City had to go north and east through old Berwyn around the east edge of the Arbuckles to Sulphur and west to Davis. The residents of Sulphur for a long time resented their being thus bypassed. A trip to Oklahoma City was then a distance of 145 miles in addition to this detour through Sulphur, the roads followed section lines. When the road to Oklahoma City was finished, the distance was cut 40 miles, as modern engineering required cutting straight through and, in a general way, following the Santa Fe Railroad.

In 1926, the Secretary of Agriculture, under whom the Bureau of Public Roads operated, called a meeting of the chairmen of the various state highway commissions to come to Washington to lay out a system of national highways.

Cyrus Avery was chairman of the Oklahoma Commission and represented the Federal Aid District, consisting of the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. French Gentry, the member from Enid, and Roy M. Johnson of Ardmore, accompanied Avery to Washington. Gentry succeeded in getting the present Highway 81 located through Enid and south. Johnson was fortunate in getting U. S.77 located north and south through Ardmore and running south through Dallas to Houston and Galveston.

While in Washington, the group found out that Harry Moseley, chairman of the Texas Commission, was anxious to get U. S. 70 designated from Wichita Falls though Gainesville, Bonham, Paris and Texarkana. The road from Gainesville east though those points was already paved. However, by promising to get the highway east from Ardmore paved through southern Oklahoma, the Oklahoma group finally got the designation of U.S. 70 east and west through Ardmore, going into Texas west of Wichita Falls.

When Bob Kerr ran for governor, he promised to finish the paving of U.S. 70 from Ardmore east.

Back in the year 1923, there were several million dollars worth of Federal aid money which would have to revert to the U. S. Treasury unless spent on Oklahoma’s highways. As a result, the counties east of Ardmore voted six percent bonds to match Federal funds and thus a graveled road was built along the general present routes of U.S.70 through Marshall, Bryan, Choctaw and McCurtain counties.
Oklahoma, through toll roads and the four-lane highways now being built, will be one of the first Western states to have a modern system of highways.
-from Carter County History book 1957

February 1927
First efforts to get before the voters of Oklahoma constitutional Amendment which would allow women to hold major elective State offices to receive a majority vote in the legislature. Women were praised, complemented, eulogized, and told that their place was in the home in stead of in politics, comes to serving as governor or attorney general of Oklahoma. “These offices must be held by real he men. In those states where women have been elected governor, has gone down 50% in public estimation,” said Senator Tom Kight of Claremore.

February 1951
For the first time in history mama citizens doing business Carter County Courthouse will not have the tiresome trick up those winding, marble steps. Hey new, completely automatic elevator was put into service Saturday February 4th, scary people to all three floors. The sheriff’s office is also being transferred to the new jail building which will result in extra room.

February 1968
A new speed zone is in store for Dickson. A 50 mile per hour zone will go into effect on Highway 70 near the intersecton of State Highway 177.

February 1968
William Henry Johnson, 29, Lone Grove man, was shot and killed as he stood behind the bar at a club he operated. His wife was hospitalized for shock following the incident. The District Attorney’s office said charges would be filed against her today. As far as can be determined, the couple was alone in the establishment at the time of the shooting. The club is located about one mile north of Highway 70.

Some pavers I sandblasted.

https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/bricks/ScoutPaverX12on032021.jpg

As of today we have reached area people about unclaimed property totaling over $748,065. And the search continues….

So with the above being said, how long has it been since you checked 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 respective state treasures website.
https://apps.ok.gov/unclaimed/

Q. Who was the first Oklahoma governor to campaign on TV?
A.  J. Howard Edmondson

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is the deepest cave to take a tour?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Dear Butch: Just want to tell you thank you for all your hard work in putting out the weekly This & That. I really enjoy each and every issue and
as you know “the good which men do lives after them” it is a truth as pure as sunshine. And when examples of that goodness which lives can be collected and exemplified in written text the world seems better for knowing those facts, told simply and without egotism, and told for truth’s sake without hope of gain. Again thank you. -Larry Paul
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Below is from This and That newsletter archives of March 26, 2009

“In the early  70s.  Just North of Beaver is Pioneer Park, or was, it is one of the most beautiful sand parks I have ever seen.  It contains a lot of Sand Dunes.  Back in the early 70s we went to Pioneer Park on the weekends and watched the dune buggies race and mainly just having a good time.” -Judie
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“Stanley and Velma Trent’s grocery and Post Office in Brock. Stanley was also preacher at the Baptist church next door.  It closed around 1953(?).  This is just from a fairly vague memory, I was around 7 at the time. Anybody else know exactly?”
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“Hi Butch! Just found this website and love it! The lady’s name at the concession stand at the Tivoli was Ava Webb. We grew up in the same neck of the woods west of Overbrook by Rock Crossing.”
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Also the B Street location of the Ellis Grocery was originally the location of Martins Grocery. Martins lived on the corner of 7th & B NW, Grandson named Baron Goodfellow. There was a large veggie garden between the house and the store to the North.  Mrs. Martin had a big Black Kettle in the back yard, used for washing clothes weekly and occasionally making lye soap. She had a large “poke bush” along the North side of the house – (Poke salad) but the berries were poison, so you had to be sure not to put you hands to your face after getting them a bright red stain by crushing the berries. Probably was used as an Indian paint also. Took several days to get rid of the stain…with lye soap! Seems to me there was another owner before Ellis who bought the Martin store, tore it down and rebuilt the Cement Block Store, before Ellis.

Before and during WWII my father, Josh Renfro, did a lot of the commercial refrigeration service for all the major grocers, some of the smaller groceries, cold storage etc and some residential. and I was going with him to many of the locations before I started School at Franklin. I remember Mr. Williams “Greenfront” on Main, as my dad came to Franklin School, took me out to see the fire when the store burned down. It was a hot one as the wooden floors were soaked with the oil put in Floor Sweep. Quite a site and a lot of spectators! I don’t think the teachers liked it, but I got a couple of hours hooky with my dad! The fire must have been in 1941 or 2, I think.”  -Jim Renfro
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The second photo is of Hooper’s Cafe across the road from the Rexroat School. I think Dad told me it was a cafe and store. Notice the sign says “School Supplies.” At the time of the photo my Grandmother, Francis Stevens, was operating the store and some of her kids and Grandkids are shown in front of the store. I think this was the same building that Mary Wilson’s parents had their grocery store in (Jones Grocery) as shown on your website of “Ardmore and Carter County Grocery Stores.”  -C. Dwane Stevens
https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/ttphotos9a/HooperCafe.jpg
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“My grandfather Lewis Porter Staples ran a grocery and market before the streets in Ardmore were even paved. I have a picture with several people in it in front of the market. I would assume it was located on Main Street. I do not know the name but if anyone could fill in some of the blanks it would be greatly appreciated. And of course with the information I would like to add it to the grocery store list.” -RonStaples ronald.staples@sbcglobal.net
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The Waurika News Democrat
Waurika, Jefferson County, Oklahoma
Friday, May 13, 1938
Fire Destroys Big Building at Mountain Home
Jefferson County lost its third large consolidated school building by fire Saturday night when the large building in Mountain Home district, four miles northwest of Ringling, went up in flames. Buildings at Ringling and Addington have been lost in fire during the recent years.
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“There was a C & W Grocery on Highway 76 on west side of Healdton during the ’40s. It was owned by Clay and Wayne Golson.”
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“I worked at KWTV at the same time.  There were many people working there at the time and most of us only associated with the folks who we had a frequent contact with.  Two or three of the engineers were folks who I knew because we’d shared conversations during lunch or while on a coffee break, and I spoke to several as I passed through master control (where I think your dad worked) on my way to or from the projection room when I delivered filmed shows, movies, or trays commercial or promotional ‘spots’.  I wish I still had Gene Ruby’s email address (it was lost when I had a computer crash) because he probably worked with your dad frequently. 
   Usually, the engineers spent time at various monitor screens while checking the quality of the picture or sound and making certain that everything was as perfect as it could be as the broadcast signal went out ‘over the air’.  They controlled the input from: the announce booth; the projection room (film, slides, photos or ‘layouts’ that were projected from a camera trained on them in what was called a “Telop” or “Ballop” machine, etc.), and from the director’s booth which overlooked the studio and controlled which camera or microphone to ‘take’ and send out to the control booth for the engineers to transmit over the air.
   The engineers were also the folks who kept the transmitters tuned to peak performance so that the broadcast picture and sound would be in perfect synchronization as it went out ‘over the air’.
   My job as film editor kept me in my own little ‘cubby-hole’ office where I viewed all the films that came in for content (censoring anything that might not pass ‘code’) and so that I could make any necessary cuts for time (length of the film or sometimes a commercial) and to indicate where the commercial breaks would be.  A paper ‘cue sheet’ was included with each film show or movie that I took in to projection and that sheet informed the projectionist as to the exact time to insert the commercials (which were threaded up on different projectors) and the exact complete length of the show.  I also ‘broke’ the film by inserting about three feet of white ‘leader film’ into the main film at those precise locations.  The timing was done by using a mechanical footage counter that each film was run through by hand (3 feet of 16mm film equals 5 seconds, which means that 36 feet equaled one minute, etc.) as I put the film through a ‘viewer’.  I also sometimes used a mechanically operated electronic ‘sound reader’ to make certain that I didn’t make a cut in ‘mid-sentence’.  This was a dream job for me because I was such a fan of old movies anyway, having been a movie projectionist in theatres; plus in the field while in the airforce; and having owned and operated my own movie theatres.  I stayed in the movie theatre business for more than 30 years (even during the 9 years as film editor at Channel 9, KWTV). 
   I know that I haven’t given you the answers that you were looking for, but perhaps have enlightened you a little bit on the inner workings of television ‘back stage’ so to speak.  It’s not all the glamour as seen by the eye of the camera, but it was still lots of fun. 
   Also, the local folks didn’t make those fabulous salaries that you hear of ‘Hollywood” stars making.  My salary at the end of those nine years was only $90 per week and I quit because it just wasn’t enough to support my growing family (our second baby was on the way) and the place that I went to next (National Theatre Supply) hired me at a starting salary of $125 per week and that was increased to $135 (plus commissions) after just 30 days on the job.  I was still operating two small-town theatres (at Tuttle and Minco, Oklahoma) at night and then later, my wife and I added the management of the popcorn stands at Frontier City to our ‘jobs’ for a season.  Following that summer we leased the theatres at Perry, Oklahoma and moved here (making a longer ‘commute’ to the OKC job and also to the theatres at Tuttle and Minco, but it was an exciting time for us and the income was reasonable).” -Roy Kendrick
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“After operating the Corner Grocery at 2nd and H Street NW, Thurman and Lois Loughridge later opened the Loughridge TV store on Commerce and west of G Street NW.”
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Museum Memories – Contributed by Melinda Taylor
Extracted from the Lone Grove Ledger archives (originally taken from The Daily Ardmoreite)

85 years ago:
Aug. 5 – Hewitt.  The work on the new Methodist church is progressing nicely and the building will be ready for occupancy soon.

Nov. 18 – The Methodist Church, South, people will no doubt be the first to have a church building in Wilson, although it will be a close race, between that denomination and the Christians. Rev. Dr. W. U. Witt of Ardmore, presiding elder for this district, has closed a contract with the Wilson Townsite Company for two lots on which to put a church building and parsonage immediately. The South Methodists now have a church structure in the course of construction at Hewitt and it will be moved to the Wilson site. Rev. H. B. Thompson, now located at Lone Grove, has the circuit including Wilson, and will preach there after the church is located. Rev. Witt intends making Wilson a permanent charge with a pastor stationed there regularly. The Christian Church at Hewitt will also be moved to Wilson in the near future.

Dec. 2 – The Methodist Church has been moved from here to Wilson.

March 31 – The Methodist Episcopal Church announced the following appointments: Lone Grove and Wilson, J. C. Sessums; Woodford, Charles Mann

The Wilson Historical Museum has a collection of church notebooks filled with histories, news articles, records and pictures. All churches from Wilson and the surrounding communities are represented.
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When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become. -Louis Pasteur

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Ardmore, Oklahoma

https://oklahomahistory.net

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Oklahoma History Website #2 (backup website)
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Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
https://oklahomahistory.net/viciousdogs.html
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm’s Cemetery Database
http://www.usgwarchives.net/ok/carter/cartercm.htm
American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
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Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
https://oklahomahistory.net/airbase/
Carter County Government Website
http://cartercountyok.us

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