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Vol 27 Issue 1,360 February 23, 2023

The Great Fire of 1895
It was in Harper's livery stable on North Caddo, that the Great Fire of 1895 started, wiping out or damaging all buildings in Ardmore's business district. Forty-six structures were destroyed and nine others sustained damage. The fire burned through the area bound by A Street northwest, North Caddo, Broadway and Main Street, taking with it the city's best buildings, including the Anderson-Burch Opera House, the First National Bank, which was the first brick building to be built in Ardmore, the Klosky Opera House, the Ardmoreite Building and the Pennington Building. Prisoners in the Federal Jail on Mill Street were moved to the Broadway Baptist Church and then to a second house near Santa Fe tracks. In the first hour of the conflagration, the three public wells on Main Street went dry.

Although the cause was never identified, the great fire began in Harper's livery stable on North caddo street. High winds caused the fire to spread south, attacking the back walls of businesses on Main street. It was the Ardmore Board of Trade's night watchman who discovered the flames and alerted the town with several revolver shots, the usual alarm for fire. Scores of people rushed to form bucket brigades, but the wwlls on Main Street emptied too soon. When it became evident there would be no way of extinguish the flames, store owners tried to save some of their stock by moving it into the street. The fire jumped Main Street and destroyed several businesses on the south side of Main Street as well as buildings south of Mill Street. The Ardmore State Herald ran a story the next day stating that "Ardmore has been almost licked clean of buildings." The Alliance Courier, the Wind Bag, and the Daily Ardmoreite were destroyed. The Daily Ardmoreite printed its April 26th edition through the Purcell Register. -Courtesy of Ardmore Main Street Authority

Below is a picture of the Harper’s Livery Stable.

The picture below was taken about 1890, and shows the buildings that were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1895. Every building on the left and nearly every building on the right side of the street were destroyed. The three-story brick building at left is the T. N. Coleman drugstore. It is believed that the last of the fire was smothered when this building collapsed. -Courtesy of the McGalliard Collection, Ardmore Public Library

Ardmore’s Franklin School in Feb 2016 when demolition began.

My 2nd cousin, Sue Cole Phillips, in Gainesville, Texas ran across a video of my 1st cousin (her mother), Carol Carmon Cole, of Hurst, Texas (a Ft Worth suburb) the other day. Carol Jean was born in Ardmore and in 1956 married Sam Cole and they moved to Hurst. Carol became heavily involved in the Hurst, Texas development in those days which continued throughout her life. She mentioned some of the things she was involved in when she visited here from time to time, but I did not know just how big that involvement was until I saw this video. My cousin could sure be called a mover and shaker in Hurst, Texas back in her heyday.

HAM Radio Talk
I’ve HAMed it up with 10 new contacts the past 7 days using Echolink on my computer. One HAM (who I’d talked to before) was in South Dakota. Jesse invited me up to help him shovel snow that was coming town as we spoke. He already had about 6 inches of snow with more on the way. He said he had 5 snow shovels. I kindly turned down his invitation. lol

180. 2/16/23 7:30pm RQ4FWN Ray in Goodlettsville, TN

181. 2/16/23 7:45pm KD2RPP Philip in Buffalo, NY

182. 2/17/23 7:30am CS9ABS Rui in Portugal

183. 2/17/23 8:10am KB4DAD Jerry in Middleburg, FL

184. 2/17/23 3:15pm W3AGE Mike in Dover, DE

185. 2/17/23 4:00pm WA6BEF Dave in Visalia, CA

186. 2/18/23 11:55am W4SRD in Sunny Isles Beach, FL

187. 2/18/23 8:55pm KY4SM Lawrence in Vinton, VA

188. 2/19/23 6:15pm WA3VSO David in Jupiter, FL

189. 2/21/23 10:25am N9AIM Bob in Brownsburg, IN

190. 2/22/23 9:35pm VO1HL Larry in Fall River, Nova Scotia

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG….

”MUSEUM OF LOST MEMORIES” – Butch, be sure to click on this video story from PBS and read my note to Daniel Gibbs.  It touched a nerve with me.  Perhaps you can use your newsletter to somehow spread the word of what I talked about with Dan.  Your newsletter is a big help to preserving our past and what impact it has on our future.  The preservation of the contributions that The Greatest Generation made for our America is of great importance.  Your good work through your newsletter is a big help in preserving our history so that it WILL NOT become a LOST MEMORY.  -Steve Miller
Museum of Lost Memories

Hey there Butch, hope all is well.  Vince Freeman here.  The Healdton Chamber Banquet on Saturday the 25th of this month.  The head of Oklahoma museums is a guest.  I’ve been asked to speak at the banquet about early Healdton area before oil and continue afterward.  Thought I’d let you or anyone else know if interested. -Vince Freeman

Below is from my Vol 4, Issue 149 February 25, 2000 newsletter:

Last December I visited a Choctaw Indian lady just west of Davis, Oklahoma who has the original bell from the old Presbyterian church of Davis in her front yard. How she came upon the bell, was the church and property belongs to her and when the church closed down many years ago, she moved the bell to her house near Camp Classen. Boy, I wish I had this big beauty in my yard!

Talking about Camp Classen, it’s a camp for kids, nestled in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains just west of Davis, Oklahoma. The camp has a couple of bells too. Here’s one that’s mounted in front of the kitchen there on the camp grounds.

On Caddo Dtreet here in Ardmore is a business that is almost a legend. It’s name is Key Feed Store and its been there for many years. I was in there last December and snapped a picture of their pecan crackers (they have 3). I would imagine many people have never seen a pecan cracker, watching those pecans drop from that chain picker upper and then down that cracking shoot. Quite a noisy contraption.

Here’s a picture I took of the old scales Key Feed and Seed still uses to weigh things in their store.

I have a PDF file of a 111 page book on the history of Springdale School southeast of Ardmore. The pages were compiled by Bobbie Miller, teacher at the school from 1963-1989. There are many pictures Ms Miller includes in the book. The PDF file is 9 megs in size and I maybe able to email it to you.

The old Colston Building here in Ardmore was built in 1917 at the southeast corner of Main and “A” street SW. It’s where the Citizen’s Bank is currently located in the lobby of the building. When built in 1917 a humongus steam driven electric turbine was installed in the basement to provide electricity for the building. Here’s a pic of that monstrosity of a machine.

“Butch, I got the ZoneAlarm fire wall as I am always on the net with adsl and after doing the check it said that it could not find me on the net so I feel safe with my data as a mortgage broker I have sensitive client information on my drive this is a big relief to me”

“Since I don’t have graphics I can’t look at the photo, but that curve is etched in my mind from the many times I drove it before I-35 was built. It was an even more terrifying experience coming upon it from the south (going downhill) when it was covered with ice. I believe it was marked 25 mph even before World War II and still is– and if anything that’s a little faster than it’s comfortable to take it even in dry weather.”

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” -Albert Schweitzer, 1875–1965

See everyone next Thursday!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, OK