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 A Brief Stroll Down Memory Lane

Memories of Tulsa

This section began as an exchange on the Tulsa County, OK e-mail list and I thought it might bring back memories for you. Several people have read this section and shared their memories. Please feel free to send me yours to share. Thanks Linda

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 Memories from Earnie: The Hawks ice cream dairy that was on 11th street just east of Lewis? They had really good ice cream and there was a dept. store just across the 11th street bridge called Franks that my mom use to take us kids to all the time.

More Memories from Curtis Reynolds: About the attached message on Tulsa Memories. This one about diaries. I remember the Hawks dairy on East 11th street. I also remember two more. There was a Glenclift (SP) Dairy downtown about 6th and Madison, not quite sure of the street. But it was just west of Peoria. I think there is a railroad track very near by. They had great ice cream and malts. Another dairy and creamery was the "Pure White Dairy" on west third street. This dairy was just over the old viaduct, going west on third street over the old Sand Springs railroad line, on the corner of 3rd and Lawton, as I recall. They also had creamy ice cream and malts. I loved them both. Glenclift and Pure White both had branch dairy stores throughout the city. At one point in time, about 1950-51, there was little dairy store near the corner of Pine and Cincinnati that was a Pure White branch. I am not sure but I also think it was a Glenclift store at one time as well. The memories just flood back once you open the gates. There at least two VHS videos of Tulsa memories, downtown buildings, landmarks, etc. Do you have those? I have them. They will be good research tools to help verify locations of the memories that come in. By pattern, as we age, we are able sometimes to remember 30-50 years ago better than we can remember last week! You may not be there yet.
     Note from Linda: The videos that Curtis is talking about were made by Clayton Vaughn for one of the TV stations and can be found at the Tulsa University Video Center. Someone out there told me they can be ordered through inter-library loan. I went out one day and watched them and they are really great. So many of the old buildings in the films are now gone.

More Memories from Curtis Reynolds: Forgot to mention about "Franks". I don't remember a Franks department store near the 11th street bridge but it did trigger another old memory. At the corner of 15th and Boston there was a "Frank's Pig Stand", drive-in type restaurant. They had a particular kind of hot dog, it was a wiener on a rather square like roll, if I recall. We used to order it because it was the cheapest item on the menu. We could get a hot dog, I just can't remember the exact name of it right now, and a coke for less than a dollar. Besides Frank's the other drive-ins I remember were Weber's Root Beer stands and those wonderful root beer floats. And of course there was Pennington's Drive-In on south Peoria. They had a chicken basket dinner that was to die for, if you could afford it. Oh, across the street from Frank's Pig Stand there was "filling station", the building is still there, next to a flower shop, that one of my cousins owned. I think it was like a Mobil or Texaco, I can't remember which. If you look closely at the building you can still see the foundation where the old pumps were, sort of diagonal to both Boston and 15th street. Up 15th street a block or two there were some "expensive, fancy" apartment buildings for the day. And of course at the corner of 15th and Peoria there was the "Cross-town Grill". I remember it well. And across the street from the Cross-Town was the Plaza, I think it was the called the "Plaza", theatre and next to it going north was the old "Byrnes" Hospital. Wow, never thought I would remember that one. More later

     Tulsa World. May 5, 2004. Scene (Section D) by Ashley Parrish, World Scene Writer: The main article was about the discovery of a recipe book from Pennington's. Some brief memories found in the article.
Coleman Davis: ... All of us young guys fell in love with every one of the carhops.
Fred Wightman ... You turned around on one side of Brookside - the kids called it Furbar's for "fouled up beyond all recognition" - then cruised by Pennington's to look for a spot on the cool side.
     Ashley - Readers for decades have been writing in about the tea room that was part of downtown's most famous department store. "Brown-Dunkin became Dillard's years ago, but in the '50s, it was the place for the fashionable lunching ladies. Back in the late '50s and early '60s people dressed up," says Joyce Powell who sent in a tattered copy of a Brown-Dunkin Tea Room cookbook. "It was part of the experience. You wore hats. Shoe stores had pretty high heels. It was recreation shipping." There was always the option of eating at Bishop's or Piccadilly while strolling downtown's many stores, but "for ladies, we liked the tea room. A little lighter food, I think." Downtown was booming back then, she says wistfully. "Not like New York City, but it had a lot of vitality to it."
     Linda - the recipes printed from the Brown-Dunkin Tea Room cook book are - Green Apple Pie, Apple-Nut Pudding and Pumpkin chiffon Pie.
     Ashley continues .... Although the Brown-Dunkin Tea Room was the elegant choice for lunch, Bishop's was more famous. It's been decades and people are still requesting the recipe for Bishop's Brown Derby with Diablo Sauce. (recipes given for both).
     Linda - There was an announcement not long ago in the Tulsa paper that Bishops was closing. I went to Bishops for my very first "grown up" date. I remember Mama checking to be sure my nylon seams were straight, that my white gloves were spotless and my hat wasn't "too old for me" <g>. We seem to be losing a lot of the old landmarks.

Memories from Joyce: We had a theater in Turley, in the 50's. Wasn't it named the Grotto? I know we went several times. I had my first date there with Darrel Beller. We walked from our place on 75th St., and Mom and Dad picked us up.
     Linda - Joyce lived down the street from me when we were young - I also had my first movie date at the Grotto - went with Jerry Roberts. We watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Mama and Daddy sat up behind us to be sure we didn't do anything except hold hands <g>.

Question from Linda: On Sat night Jan 29, 2005 a bunch of us "kids" got together after 40+ years at Bobbie Sox's in Tulsa. We were all members of the old "Y" Record Hop and we had a great time. It brought back a lot of memories, including memories of "Teenation". If you were ever a member of the Y Record hop or Teenation would you please contact me? We'd like to put together a history of both Record Hops.

Movie "Tulsa" (from Don Goswick) Linda, I have the movie Tulsa on DVD. It says the movie was made in 1949, Starring Susan Hayward, Robert Preston, Pedro Armendariz, Ed Begley and Chill Wills. It was written by Curtis Kenyon and Frank S. Nugent and Directed by Stuart Heisler. Anyway, it is a Great Movie and I enjoy watching it every once in awhile. It always brings back a lot of old memories of Tulsa when I was young.

Memories from Phillip Whisenhunt I remember the Beards Cold storage and the restaurant, and also down where Ollies' is at now, there used to be, back before the overpass for the train track, Kempers Restaurant, where we would go for lunch while at Clinton Junior High. A hamburger, french fries ,and a cherry limeade was one of my favorites. Across the street There was also a Crown Drug with a soda fountain too.
     We use to have to take the school bus to Clinton J H and be there before the building opened so we would walk around Red fork and the Cove Confectionery was open and we spent our Penny's and nickels for "Junk sweets" and play the pinball machines for three cents.
     Also some mornings we would go across the street to Smiths bakery and buy Queen Ann cookies from Tana Smith, who worked there before school each morning.

Memories from Edward J. Bryan I went to kindergarten at Lincoln Grade School in 1928 and then to Irving Grade School until 1934. On to Horace Mann Jr. High, (Briefly to Roosevelt because the school binderies were revised , Two weeks later they were changed back) and to Central the last half of my Sophomore year in 1938. I lived in the Glass Apartments, next door to the Tulsa Public Library, for many years while in Grade and Jr. High. Later I worked at Douglas Aircraft from 1942 until 1944. Served overseas, finished college, went to work for H. L. Pray Mfg. Co. (Old Tulsa Winch owner.) for two years and then back with Douglas when they came back to Tulsa on the B-47 Program. I was a Tool Engineer and later Tool Design Supervisor. Worked for Douglas for ten more years, married at First Baptist Church, went to work for NASA in Houston, and two years later came back as the local NASA Plant Representative at Air Force Plant #3. Had to move to Huntsville when the NASA work at Air Force Plant #3 terminated. Been in Huntsville ever since, but my heart will always be in Tulsa.
     Thank you for your Web Site. I have visited it three times and each time I have enjoyed reading the postings. You do good work.

Linda: Thanks for the kind words Edward. (Dec 2008) I've been working downtown for a month or so and am enjoying it. I often arrive at work just as the sun is bathing Tulsa's tall building with light - what a truly lovely city Tulsa is!
     The old area of about 3rd street over to Brady has (and is) undergoing renovation. I well remember how seedy 1st street used to be. A friend of mine's grandfather owned Willy's Donuts and we often visited that area. How different it is today.
     The renovated building at the corner of Archer and Elgin (the old ice house, built in 1927-1928 after the Race Riot) has little plaques embedded in the sidewalk in front of the building giving the name of the shop that was there prior to the Race Riot. What a nice thing to do (not to mention interesting).
     I've been exploring all the small delis and restaurants that have sprung up in that area. Although pricey most have a lot of character and good food.
     I drove down Greenwood the other day and the underpass to the north still has the murals that were painted in the early 70s - a bit worn, but still looking nice.
     We went to a performance at the Jazz Hall of Fame not too long ago. Great show and lovely building. I didn't realize Tulsa produced so many famous jazz musicians. I'm more familiar with the kids who played Rock 'n' Roll - now grown up and famous and spreading the "Tulsa Sound" around the world.
     Cain's Ballroom has been renovated and is packed most weekends. It's good to see it alive and well again - even if there's no parking.
     Several of the old buildings in the area are being turned into lofts. I don't know how many of them have been sold, but there must be a market for them since the change over is still going on.
     The old gas station (yellow brick with a blue dome) on 3rd & Elgin is still standing and the area is called the "Blue Dome District". I remember that station when you bought gas for a quarter (or less) a gallon and some high school kid pumped it for you. (now that's a thing long gone).
     After I got out of high school I lived in an apartment at the corner of 11th and Denver. It's gone now - as with a lot of places in Tulsa - it's now a parking lot. The old Fondilite club across the street is also gone. I remember when Charlie Daniels was an unknown playing Rock 'n' Roll there. (Boy was that a lot of years ago!) West across Denver is a new set of red brick townhouses/apts/condos. I think if I was young and single I'd be living there.
     The roommate I had when I lived at 11th & Denver was back in town during the summer and we spent a couple of days roaming Tulsa and taking pictures. I'll get them all on-line one of these days. Talk about a trip down memory lane - those two days were one! We talked our way into the old Cosden building (Mid-Continent) and went up on the roof to take pictures of Tulsa's skyline. How strange it was to look down on Atlas and his globe (on the Atlas building).
     I think the thing that surprises me the most is how quickly you can get from downtown to other places. Yesterday, on my lunch hour, I zipped from downtown to Barns & Nobles (on 71st street), picked up a book, grabbed a McDonald's Happy Meal, ate it in the parking lot while reading the first few pages of my new book and was back to work within the hour.

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