"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back roads, no chain stores journal--Part III

Have you heard of Greasy Steve's restaurant or Ugly Fixer Liquor? If you get off the chain store main roads, and drive through Pond Creek, Oklahoma, population 856, you will.
I'm sorry I didn't stop and take a photo of those establishments, for they tell you a lot about the independence of living in rural Oklahoma. 
Straddling the center line of US 60 was a sign in front of the school announcing a bean and stew supper that night.  Everybody in rural Oklahoma knows of those Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, volunteer fire departments and other clubs' pancake breakfasts and bean and cornbread suppers, raising funds for local events. 

I did turn around and snap photos of the water tower, an abandoned gas station, and two brick buildings with the distinctive arches of late Territorial and early statehood architecture. Such craftsmanship and care, instead of the plastic, all- look-alike facades of today's urban world.  No wonder we call them "Big Box Stores."
Distinctive arches of early Oklahoma archtecture
Pond Creek was originally named Round Pond, post office established in September 29, 1893. It was the county seat of Grant county from statehood till June 9, 1908 when it was moved to Medford. I bet there are all kinds of stories about those early day Oklahoma politics on the northern edge of Oklahoma, repeating a story about Waurika and Ryan in Jefferson County, at the  southern end of the same U.S. 81.
Oh, the stories to be told.
The original town site is now at Jefferson, four miles north, and Pond Creek is actually located closer to the Salt Fork River, on the intersection of US 60, 64 and US 81, which follows the old Chisholm Trail.
Oh, the stories to be told. There is a book, Trails to Old Pond Creek, by Jim Fulbright,  copyright 2006, that tells lots of stories about the Kansas connections.


(Information on Pond Creek from Oklahoma Place Names, by George Shirk)
  • Next:  the "goose hunting capital of the world."

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