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Vol 26 Issue 1,350 December 15, 2022

The Daily Ardmoreite
Sunday, October 19, 1930


Ardmore Masons Have Realized Dream
of Many Years in Building Home
That Will Make Ardmore the
Masonic Center of Southern Oklahoma

For 30 years Masons have lived in hopes that some day the fraternity in Southern Oklahoma, particularly in Ardmore, would have a home to which the entire district would point with pride and interest. They dreamed of a time when Ardmore would rightfully rank as the Masonic capital of the entire southern half of the state. They worked as they dreamed – ceaselessly, always buoyed up by the vision before them.

On Wednesday night, October 22, the realization of this dream will be duly observed and fully celebrated here in Ardmore. On that night the magnificent new Masonic temple, which has risen skyward on Broadway, will be formally opened to the public, and everyone in all Southern Oklahoma will be invited to inspect the building from basement to roof.

Preparations for a tremendous crowd are being made. Interest in the building has spread from one end of the county to the other. People have paused in their busy day’s work to gaze with admiration on the graceful structure and to query the workmen as to when it would be ready for the public to see and commend. The Masonic organizations – the two blue lodges, the two Eastern Star chapters, the Knights Templar, the Chapter, the Council and the Grotto – all will cooperate in the big public opening. Many members will be needed at the building to escort the visitors and explain the features of the fraternity’s new home.

Triumph in Design and Construction
The Masonic temple has five floors and basement. It cost close to $300,000 and represents the apex in modern architectural design and construction. Its graceful lines loom large on the city’s skyline and add much to the attractive view the stranger gets of Ardmore as the city first comes in sight.

Main entrance to the building is on Broadway. Huge double doors open into the lobby which in turn connects with the Grotto auditorium. Show windows of the Oklahoma Gas and Electric company, occupants of the ground floor, part of the basement and a section of the second floor, face onto this lobby. Elevators, two in number, of smooth, noiseless type, convey visitors upward.

A modern soda fountain also is operated in the lobby
The entrance to the O.G. & E. quarters, likewise opens off the lobby. The main entrance to the company’s commodious new home, however, consists of double doors centering a long expanse of show windows giving the passerby a sweeping view of the well lighted and tastefully decorated interior. The lobby of the O.G.& E. division of the building represents the most modern in artistic and efficient office designing and provides the patron with ample opportunity to inspect the accessories on display at their best advantage. The business offices of the company, including the entire district organization, occupy much of the available floor space. Offices are divided by Walnut panels. Connecting doors join the offices into an endless chair adding to the efficiency of the staff. Especially designed chandeliers bathe the entire floor in white light.

On the second floor, the company has a specially arranged suite of rooms to care for the booking and auditing departments. The basement houses a workshop and a completely equipped club and demonstration room. Club meetings will be held there in the future.

O.G.&E. to Cooperate
Charles Fahrney, district manager, has announced that the Oklahoma Gas and Electric company will cooperate whole-heartedly with the Masons in making the opening night all that it should be.

In the basement of the big building in addition to the space occupied by the electric concern, is housed the heating plant, water system and other engineering features.

Abundance of room is left and this will be eventually transformed into a club room for the members of the several fraternities. The Grotto will probably have charge of this feature. Pool and billiard tables, bowling alleys, domino tables, and other equipment is to be bought in the near future for this important division of the temple.

Auditorium Beautiful
On the first floor is also found the new Grotto auditorium seating 890. This new theater with its broad stage, comfortable seats, expensive equipment and exceptionally fine acoustics fill a long fill need in Ardmore for an extra public gathering place. This division of the temple was formally introduced to the public two weeks ago when the Ardmore Little Theater used it for the presentation of “Fast Workers.” It will be used regularly here-after for the presentation of special entertainment features requiring a modern, up to date, theater. It is under the direct use and supervision of the Ashmes Grotto.

Offices Well Designed
On the second floor the balcony of the auditorium and the projection booth will be found. The latter is not yet equipped but is designed to meet modern motion picture requirements and eventually may be placed in service, it is said. Surrounding the balcony are suits of offices, many of which are already occupied. The office suites are well designed, carefully arranged for convenience, lighted in modern fashion and tastefully finished. The third floor is devoted to offices and it seems quite likely that they will all be filled by Ardmore firms before the end of the year. This floor in particular is designed to serve needs of physicians and surgeons. One room is especially designed for x-ray purposes.

Rooms for Lodges
Fourth floor of the building is the first of the floors primarily designed for the use of the fraternity. Home of Ardmore Lodge No. 31, A.F. & A.M. and Eastern Star of that lodge occupy the Broadway frontage of the floor. A mammoth lodge room beautiful in the extreme, tastefully furnished and lighted, will serve this blue lodge and its auxiliary organizations, throughout the coming years. Beautiful carpets, draperies and furnishings make it one of the most interesting lodge rooms in the country.

On the A street wing of the building is found the room of Bruce Lodge No. 506. Just as beautiful and commodious , this lodge room is an entirely fitting part of the big temple. Use of different drapes different rugs and different lighting fixtures as well as furnishings provides Bruce with an individual and attractive lodge home equal to the best in all the southwest. Initial use of this magnificent lodge room a few nights ago attracted a record breaking crowd of Masons who were loud in their approval. Mattie Bruce chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, will share this comfortable home with the Masons. Attached to this and the other assembly hall is a small dining room and kitchenette suitable for small banquets and other entertainments. There are suitable ante rooms, supply chambers, offices, preparation rooms and lounge quarters as well as ample restrooms and other facilities. Wide hallways, elevator and stairways connect the floor with the rest of the building. Hardware especially designed for the Masonic fraternity is used throughout.

Knights Templar Room
On the fifth floor is located the Gothic hall of the Knights Templar. This is one of the most beautiful rooms in the entire temple. As large as the blue lodge rooms on the lower floor, this magnificent division of the temple with its peaked ceiling, arched windows and doors gives one the feeling of entering into a medieval castle. The entire room is built with an eye to the needs of Knight Templar ritual and should inspire a general reawakening in that organization. Adjoining it to the west are ante rooms, also planned to fill requirements for initiatory work in the Council and Chapter, interesting organizations in York Rite Masonry.

Large Banquet Room
The B Street wing is devoted to a huge banquet room which will also fill a long felt need. A modern kitchen is attached and it is the plan to equip this in every detail to provide Ardmore with a place where huge dinners can be adequately handled.

The room, too, will serve as a ball room. The floor is ideal and the size sufficient to care for almost any crowd and it will be much in demand for this purpose it is said.

Ante rooms, hallways and other quarters for the housing of the extensive properties used by the fraternity in carrying out its initiatory work consume the remainder of the space on this floor.

The entire building is fire-proof, built to stand the wear and tear of the centuries and designed for comfort and convenience.

117 West Broadway, Ardmore, Oklahoma

Ardmore’s Tenpin Bowling Alley opens on Grand Avenue – 1957

My old webpage listing nearly 100 pavers I sandblasted for Carter County employees who have retired since 1970 needs updating. I have not worked on it since 2015 when I retired. I will get busy and bring the webpage up to date. I just need to figure out how to convert the file from HTML to my new WordPress format. Kalub Miller in maintence said he’d love to help get this accomplished, so together we will get it done. If you’re at the courthouse stop by and look at the pavers in the walkway at the front entrance.

After an 18 year hiatus from HAM radio I have renewed my (expired 2004) HAM license with the FCC. This week I created a new webpage dedicated to HAM radio. Plenty of history and photos of local area HAM operators starting in the 1990s.

Click/Tap here for My HAM Shack webpage

Q. What county in Oklahoma touches 5 states?
A.  Cimarron is the only county in the United States that touches five states: Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and its own, Oklahoma. Kenton, in the far northwestern corner, is the only Oklahoma community on Mountain Time. 

Q. When and where was the highest recorded wind speed in Oklahoma?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG….

Payphones. Found a website documenting pay phone locations in Ardmore, and thought about the context of how pay phones and small businesses used to be intertwined.  Sign o’ the times – not sure how many are left, and the trend lessens traffic to these locations

Below is from my Vol 3, Issue 139 December 18, 1999 newsletter:

“I wish you’d stop talking about pecans! They are one of my favorite nuts, and I walked all over them while researching in OK cemeteries. In California, they cost an arm and leg but I guess I’m going to have to break down, take out a second on the house, and go to the market and get 5 lbs. to hold me over for a time.”

“I have a BIG pecan tree in my back yard. It was prolific this year. I got 5 FULL grocery bags of Big, Full pecans. I didn’t know how to shell them. After the feeble attempt with a little hand nutcracker. I called a local ‘Pecan and Gift Store” and asked them how the heck you shelled all those pecans. The lady told me to get an ‘inertial’ nutcracker. I didn’t have a clue as to what that was. I looked on INet and saw some photos. Then I started in, here in Houston. SOOOOO final results, I went to a fancy kinda upscale kitchen and hardware store (Bering’s) here in Houston. I found one. “Reed’s Rocket” ($17.95 and well worth every penny) !! YES .. it’s wood with a metal lever thing..you put the nut in there and mash down on the handle. It works. You soon develop a technical slant on the easiest way to do it. I started getting 75% of the meat out of the nut in one fell swoop and then dug out the little pieces that were left with the pointy end of one of the little gadgets that you hold an ear of corn with,to eat. Bottom line, I shelled all 5 bags of pecans, and got at least 20 lbs of shelled pecans. I have most of them away to my kids to use for Xmas. At the going rate of $4.99 for 8/10 ozs. I figured that was a darn good present :))) AND I finally learned how to make pecan pie.”

This week I received some sad news from a friend in Davis, OK. Last July a sweet lady and the “unofficial historian” for Davis took me to where “Seven Springs” was located at the SW edge of Davis, Oklahoma. No one else I talked to really knew exactly where those springs where. She was 92 years old and took me right to those springs. Last Monday night there was a dedication in Sulphur, OK for their new book, “History of Murray County”. She was one of the main authors of this new book and one hour before she was killed in a two car crash, she was given the first book at that Dedication Ceremony. Opal Hartsill Brown will be sorely missed by many. A piece of Murray County history died that night.

Charlie Durie, west of Marietta, Oklahoma called me the other day. He has the Love County Courthouse clock running almost perfectly. He found a major problem with the swing of the pendulum, fixed it, and now its right on the money. He does have to adjust the timing on the bell, but its working better then it has in many years.

Our high school friendships we soon must sever,
And fade as the dying day,
Our closest bonds must all be broken,
As through the world we wind our way,
But yet, whatsoever be life’s fortunes,
We love thee still, OUR ALMA MATER,
Dear Ardmore High so true.
-1936 Ardmore High year book

See everyone next Thursday!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, OK