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Vol 26 Issue 1,334 August 25, 2022


Just 40 miles south of Ardmore, across the Red River into Texas, is Gainesville, Texas. In 1880 my mother’s grandparents moved from Altoona, PA to Gainesville and that was our start in this area. Gainesville is the county seat for Cooke county. The Cooke county Courthouse has an original working clock still in their courthouse. In February 1920 the people of Cooke county started a fund to purchase a clock and put it in the courthouse as a memorial for those of that county that gave their lives in World War I. In April of 1920 county commissioners award a contract of $2,800 to the E. Howard Clock Company in Roxbury, Massachusetts to install the clock as a memorial to those of the great war. In December that same year the clock arrived at the courthouse. In January 1921 the clock in the dome of the Cooke county courthouse started ticking. Here are several pictures I took in 1998 of the historical Gainesville, Texas courthouse clock.

Close-up view of the copper clad tower dome, spire, and clock face

View from farther away

View of the E. Howard Tower Clock

Close-up view of the tower clock

View of the gear box that drives the four clock faces

View of the two pulleys attached to the top of the dome in which the chains run for the weights before the clock was converted to electric

View from atop the dome looking east down California Street

2005 view of courthouse during remodeling phase.

2009 view of courthouse

Nearly everyone knows what MASH is, the TV series. But do you know what MAST is, Military Assistance To Safety And Traffic.

Back in the 1970s when there was not readily medical helicopters in Ardmore, we had to rely on MAST out of Ft Silll at Lawton. When Memorial Hospital or Adventist Hospital needed to air evac a patient to OKC or Dallas the ER doc would call MAST in Lawton.

One evening, just about dark, I heard on the PD frequency MAST was coming to pick up a patient, so I drove to the landing zone to watch. It was quite an advent for little Ardmore back in the 70s.

I arrived at the landing zone east of the Adventist Hospital and OHP Trooper Ralph Gibson was already on the scene. The OHP was the only agency that had radio communications with a MAST helicopter.

In a few minutes Ralph’s radio came alive, “We are at your hospital and about to land.” said the MAST pilot. Ralph radioed, “We do not see you.” The pilot said, we are right above you with our landing light on. Ralph looked at me and asked, “Do you see a helicopter?” I replied no.

In a couple minutes the MAST pilot radioed, Sorry, we are above the Madill hospital and will be at Ardmore in a few.

Our ER docs never thought much of the Army medics and MAST for transporting patients. But when its all you had in those days, you used what was available.

Below is a map of the hospital complex showing the location of the helicopter landing zone just east of the Adventist Hospital.

A Reader sent me the picture below last week of a friend’s grave in hopes someone knows what the inscription at the very bottom means. Frank Stribling was one of the 4 first employees hired when Ardmore’ Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service started in January 1962. All of Frank’s friends just called him Chief since he was a full blood Mississippi Choctaw Indian.

Often Chief would tell me of his early day experinces at the ambulace service. One incident happened on an emergency call in northeast Ardmore. Frank said he was going too fast when he crossed over the railroad tracks on East Main, and when he looked in his review mirror, there was the ambulance’s gas tank sitting on the railroad track.

Before starting work as an ambulance driver, Frank ran for, and won, the office of Constable for Lone Grove. Frank was a big man, and if he said, “I’m taking you to jail,” you were going to jail. Since he was so big, Frank worked at area night clubs as a bouncer too.

But I guess people back in those days will remember Frank for mainly his bowling turnaments. He was quite the bowler. He was recognized probably a 1,000 times in the Ardmoreite for taking this trophy or that trophy at the bowling alley. The Ardmore Osteopathic Hospital, or Texoma Office Supply, and others businesses sponsored Frank at the bowling turnaments.

Back to the original reason for this post, does anyone recognize the lettering at the bottom of Frank’s grave marker and their meaning?

Located at Cheek Cemetery south of Lone Grove

The memorial above is located at the Cheek Cemetery south of Lone Grove. But Frank Stribling is actually buried at the Pruitt Cemetery NE edge of Ardmore.

Located at Pruitt Cemetery

January 31, 1962
Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service, Inc., rolled on January 31st as planned. A new 1962 Ford ambulance had been outfitted with first aid supplies and oxygen equipment. Bill Lewis, manager-driver. Drivers include Cliff Easley, Tom Wallace, Frank “Chief” Stribling.

Q.  What town in SW Oklahoma is named after a creek?
A. Medicine Park in which Medicine Creek runs through the middle of town.

Q. What was the first city in Oklahoma to have electricity?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter

God was with me again. Five days ago, August 15th, I was east bound in Ardmore, turning left onto Michelin Road from Highway 70, heard screeching of tires, the person slamming on their breaks, and narrowly avoided slamming into me who nearly ran a red light (all caught on my dashcam).

Now Saturday August 20th at 12:20pm , I’m stopped in the left turn bay red light at Highway 70 and Meridian Road. The left turn light turns green for me, I start moving out, and the person traveling east on 70, turned around, fighting with their son in the backseat, he doesn’t see his light turn red, and took my front bumper off. I am lucky, that’s the only damage to my car and both front turn signals were taken off. Even my headlights were undamaged. He told the officer it was his fault, fighting with his son in the backseat, and him not noticing the light changed on him. Glad I have my dashcam that recorded it all and how the signal lights were leading up to the accident.

I’ve had a dashcam in both vehicles for several years. To me it’s a must have. About 3 weeks ago I was behind a motorcycle in front of the Dodge place going east into Ardmore. A pickup, who had a red light, turned right to go east from Plainview Road and the motorcycle had to move way to the north side of the east bound lanes of 70 to keep that pickup from hitting him. Had that happened, it would have all been on my dashcam.

“Elections are like a horse race, you don’t know the winner until after the finish line.” -Sheriff Robert Denney circa 1978

Spome mail from this week’s MAILBAG….

Well Butch here I go again, I would like to know if is possible to find out if there is a film of Ardmore baseball games of the years 1950 and 1951? I know for a fact that there at least one person that talk by radio about the games (he has a problem with his legs) he show a film and told me there is a film of this game, also in McAlester (they belong for the Yankees ) in the playoff with us 1951). I am sure they have some films If is very hard Butch don’t worry, but I am 92 now and I would like to my grandchildren if they can see at least one game. -Ernesto in NJ

Below is from my Vol 3, Issue 123 August 28, 1999 newsletter:

“Hi Butch: Really enjoy “This and That”. My wife and I were married in the First Baptist Church in Ardmore June 1, 1950. That same summer I took this picture of Turner Falls. It was a favorite swimming hole in those days. Haven’t seen the falls in years. We always take the I-35 cutoff these days. I well remember the old “hairpin” curve. It was tortuous if you got behind a long-haul truck going up the hill. I’m impressed with the work you are doing for the county.”

“This is a photo taken the summer of 1950 of “2 Lakes Skyway Courts” located at the SE corner of Lake Murray State Park. My in-laws, Bert and Mabel Paschall, operated the courts for years. It was built in 1948 when there was very little activity over on the SE side of the lake. The paved road in the park stopped at the state cabins then. That’s where the lodge is these days. Few people came over to the SE part of the lake then and we pretty well had that part of the lake to ourselves most of the time. When 2 Lakes Skyway Courts first opened for business there was an airplane landing strip in front of the store. After two plane crashes within the first three years which killed some people, Bert closed the air strip, changed the name to Paschall Village, and planted peanuts where the air strip was. When the state finally paved the road all the way around the lake more and more people came to the SE part of the lake and frequented the store. Weekends during the summer were really busy. My wife and I would sometimes come to visit for the weekend and would end up working most of the time. If you ever came over to that part of the lake and stopped at the store, I probably at some time gassed your vehicle or sold you some minnows. Bert and Mabel sold the store and cabins in 1972. They are no longer with us and the store has long since burned and been torn down so we haven’t been there in years.”

“When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.” -Alexander Graham Bell

See everyone next Thursday!

Butch and Jill Bridges
236 Timber Road
Ardmore, Oklahoma