Oklahoma Traveler

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About Oklahoma Traveler

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  • Birthday 05/22/1978
  1. Manuel, Cool site! I'll have to look around it more tomorrow.. Mainly, I'm looking for just a few sample photos from each decade, all on one page, if possible. I have close to 400 photos that I have to go through and date so if I could get a few of them narrowed down then that would help with the rest.
  2. I searched around a bit, but didn't find what I was looking for. I figured that there would be a graphical chart that would have the general body styles listed, but so far I haven't come across anything. I just don't have a good eye for automobiles from the 20s to the early 60s. Thanks!
  3. Awhile back, I asked if someone could identify the year of an automobile in an old photo for a book project that we were working on. You guys were an amazing help! I'm back again with a similar question, however, it would have to either start multiple threads or find a handy guide. The next book project is a photo-book that shows how the town progressed in each decade. In order to identify the approximate dates of many of the photos, the only real identifying aspects are the automobiles in each photo. Is there a guide somewhere that I can use to help get the approximate year of the automobiles? Thanks!
  4. That's something that I never thought of.. I remember seeing separate entrances for the train depots and such, but it just never crossed my mind with the hotels. The Central Hotel (also called Commercial Hotel and Hotel Judkins) was a very large two-story Hotel. Directly across the street was another hotel, (the sign reads, "Pats Restaurant and Lodging") although it was much smaller. The hotel occupied the right "unit" of a pretty basic two story house looking building. I don't know a lot about that particular hotel, but it's possible that it could have been something like that. There are a few people I can ask that may know the answer there. If it was, it may give us another clue as to the function of the garage.. This is interesting as well.. I forgot about it, but when I was doing research on Okmulgee I ran across a couple photographs like that. It looked similar to an overgrown pallet jack. With the garage that I've been researching, it seems like there's a lot of things that the "ticket window" could have been used for, but without real proof I don't think I can say definitively what it was. This may be one of those things that will always remain a mystery. I've asked everyone I know to ask, and nobody can tell me anything about it earlier than the 1950's... That's exactly it - it seems as if the town knew no limits until the Great Depression hit, since then there's been very little growth until recently. ..and that's another thing, businesses - and people - here did the same. Once they left Poteau then they simply ceased to exist. That's another thing that I never thought of. I look at cars today and they can very easily survive the winter without any problems. From looking at how cars were made back then, I don't think they would do that well. I'm really going to have to look into that more! That would explain a lot of things, especially why there were so many automobile garages in the area. The time period where most of the garages started appearing was right around 1916 until the mid-20's - which matches with what you've found! You guys have really given me a lot to think about tonight.
  5. Todd, I think you're on to something here! Poteau, compared to the rest of the nation, wasn't ever a really big town, but it was on its way there until the Great Depression hit. The Federal Courts were there, there were two major railroads that passed through town, and for a long time pretty much everything in that part of the country was centered in Poteau. There was a lot of traffic through town, and from what I've seen, a good majority of it was transient. Passengers transferring from the KCS to the Frisco would stop here.. There's a plethora of stories about lawyers coming here.. so what you say really makes a lot of sense. To look at Poteau today, one would never guess how it used to be; I've been very surprised myself. Around 1915, the town had a movie theater, two vaudeville stages, and even an opera house. So far, I've counted six different fraternal organizations, such as the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows. By 1925, I've counted five automobile garages just within the downtown area. I know that Ford was here, and there were two more that I can't remember offhand.. So back in the day, Poteau was a booming town. So with the location of the garage, there was the Central Hotel (Hotel Judkins) that was one block north of it, then another smaller hotel just across the street from that. The Central Hotel was one of the nicest hotels in this part of the country for many years. There was also a boarding house a block to the west. The garage would have been central to all of these. It would make sense that there would be a more "exclusive" garage that functioned as you say. It would take some more research to prove this, but so far that's the best theory that I've heard so far. As for pictures, I couldn't get any. While the owner of the building told me what he knew about its history, he wouldn't let me take any photographs. But, I still have hope - I have a friend of mine that said that she'll go back in a couple weeks and try. She's cute, and has a real bubbly personality, so maybe he'll fall for her charms and let her take a couple. I know, it's slightly devious, but without pictures it's hard to explain.
  6. On the map from 1925, it labels auto-repair garages differently than parking garages. On the one that I'm curious about, the map says that it's a garage. Attached on the south end is another building that is labeled "Auto Rep. G.", which in the key says that that building is an automobile repair garage. Once inside the building, after poking around, it didn't look like any kind of repair garage that I had ever seen. It's a small building, and if it had a capacity of 20 cars, I just can't see any way that they could use it as a repair garage. Going back to the maps, there's a lot of automotive related buildings in the area as well, and each one of them are labeled as to their function: Auto storage, painting, refueling, repair, etc. I can't prove one way or another that it wasn't a repair garage, but from what I've seen I highly doubt it was. The "ticket booth" is attached to the building. I spent quite awhile studying this thing since it was so unusual to me. Originally, this would have been on the outside of the building. To the right of it is a large garage-sized door. Other than the small door on the "front" of the building (modern day), this is the only entrance. After studying the ticket booth, it does look like it was built during the same time that the garage was built; the bricks match and interlock with the building's bricks. In front of, and slightly to the left, there's also a large tile design that was laid into the floor - which again would have been on the outside of the building. Since the "ticket booth" is immediately left of the garage door, the only conclusion that I can come to is that there was an attendant there that took care of everything. While I'm pretty sure that it wasn't a repair garage, it could have been related to the repair garage, since they were pretty close together.
  7. ...on a semi-related note, there was another automobile garage in Poteau that I've been curious about. Outside of the original building, there is what looks to be an old-time movie ticket window. The thing is, there was never any type of theater here. This building would have been built in the early 20's, and had a capacity of 20 cars. I have a feeling that this was a parking garage, and not a repair garage. I've done some searching, but haven't came up with anything on this. Was it typical back then to have ticket windows in automobile parking garages?
  8. Bob, this is some great information here! I've spent most of the week tracking down information on the buildings, and I think we finally have it all figured out. I ran into the new owners of the existing automobile garage and turns out that they had the abstract which they were nice enough to let me view. With the other building that I was concerned with, I was able to get some new photographs of it which allowed me to date it precisely to when it was built. I've been on a tight time schedule, so I apologize about not getting back with you sooner. I really appreciate all of the help here - you've given me a lot of great ideas! After talking with my partner about this, I think I talked him into doing all of the background work like this, which would save me a lot of time.
  9. That's a very powerful statement, and so true... When I was younger, I never cared about history. I remember my great grandmother telling stories of how she came in to Oklahoma on a wagon train, now that I'm older, I wish I could go back and ask her more about that. What appalls me is the fact that there is so much history in these little towns, but very few people take the time to record it. Once it's gone, it's gone.. I've never heard of that before, but it would make sense! Witte Ave, a side road off of the main street, had garage after garage; it looks like it was an automobile heaven, so to speak. I know those early buildings wern't vented that well, so having a hose to vent the exhaust seems like it would work pretty well. I think I'll have to take a trip back and see if I can find anything on this - it would be an interesting highlight to add to our research!
  10. We've discovered that the concrete part that's shown was the old county building. The bricked in areas were windows, and would have been around 4-5 foot off the ground before the back fill was added. The parts of the old automobile garage that remain include the foundation, the sidewalk, and a few inches of the old brick side wall. Some parts of the back fill have been washed away so we were able to see a little of this. The location of this building was between two depots, the Frisco depot to the west and the KCS depot to the east. What I find amazing is how, just within a short time frame, the automobile really changed the face of the town. In 1913, there were only three known automobile owners, but by 1916 there were four garages, "paved" roads, and new "resorts" being built that catered to the driver. It's like the town grew up almost overnight.
  11. I've found Oklahoma to be a little different than most states. Prior to 1907, there were few surveys done (or, not that many left, at least) and most were done either by the railroads or by the Native American nations. I've found a couple that were stored in the Choctaw Capitol, but they were almost illegible. Beyond that, the only maps that I've found have been done by the Sanborne-Perryman company. They are only 10 years off from when the first settlements began, so piecing the information together wasn't too hard. After 1907, beyond the Sanborne maps, I haven't found anything. I've talked people at the courthouse and other county locations but they told me they don't have anything that far back. Still, this didn't surprise me - city tax records from the early days were stored in an old room and looked as if they were about to fall apart. The county building burned sometime in the 80's and a lot of those old records were lost. I've tried this route as well, but without much luck. Adam's Abstract Company does have some information, but most of it wasn't what I was looking for. The courthouse, again, wasn't much help either. It seems that most of the older information from the early 1900's has been lost for good. I have, however, been able to get two downtown businesses to show me their copies, which has helped a lot. This is something that I haven't thought of! I'll have to check the phone book and ask around a bit to see if I can find anyone who would know anything. The unfortunate thing about Poteau is that there was a period of time where the town basically moved into limbo - old buildings burnt down or was destroyed, no new projects were began.. basically there was no initiative to preserve the history. Up until now, no concentrated effort to fully document the town's history has ever been attempted, so this is something new for all of us. With so much lost, it's been hard to fit the pieces back together. Still, we're slowly making progress.. Thanks for the suggestions!
  12. One thing further, as an aside.. there has never been an in-depth historical study of Poteau. We've spent about two years tracing the history of the town from 1875 through 1930. A few years ago, the last of the "old-timers" passed away and with him went most of Poteau's history. Today, not many people know much about the origins of Poteau, so that's one reason why we're having such a hard time figuring out buildings such as this. For example, I went in to the old Frisco Depot (which is now the city hall) to ask some questions about the buildings history. When I asked, all I got were blank stares. There were six people working that day and not one of them knew that it used to be a depot. That just baffled me.. The library has very little information, and the historical society only has the same stories that's been passed around forever. There were Sanborn-Perryman maps made for Poteau, but it took a lot of work to get them. That was where the above maps originated. Since the Sanborne maps are still copyrighted I couldn't post all of them here. Finally, we're just now getting into the time frame around WWI, when automobiles became popular in Poteau. Since I don't know that much about older cars, I may have to come back and beg for more help! You guys have given me a lot of information that I wouldn't have looked at otherwise, and it is all very much appreciated!
  13. We finally figured it out! Thanks for everyone's help here; we would have never gotten it down if it wasn't for you. So by the time that 1930 rolled around, there was an auto garage that ran the length of the block. It was a two story building, but it looked a lot different back then. The business sold the property to the city sometime around 1935, but by this time much of the building was damaged. They kept the foundation and some of the structural elements, but for the most part the building was demolished. They built the county building here, which was a two story mostly concrete building. The building was only used a few years before it burnt down. When it burnt, they brought in a lot of back fill and leveled off the property, leaving the original side wall as a retaining wall. We went this morning to walk around it and get a better idea of things. The road in front of the building was actually almost one foot lower than it is now and was originally a brick road that had a nice sidewalk running next to it. Later, they updated the road by laying concrete slabs over it, then finally by adding a couple layers of asphalt. The road has a very gentle slope to it, and showed us how the terrain used to look before the fill was put in. The bottoms of the windows were, at one time, about four foot above the ground. With the fill, they are now level. This would have been the first floor of the county building. The fill also covered up the sidewalk and many of the other distinguishing elements that was there. Out of everyone that we asked, nobody could remember the origins of the building, but they did remember the county building being there. Now, thanks to your help, we can trace the origins of this unusual landmark back to the very beginning!
  14. Jim, From old maps, we do know that there was a garage there. By 1925, it was a two story building and the garage was located on the bottom floor. The building extended to the left of the concrete corner up to Rogers along Witte; meaning that the building took up about 1/2 of a city block. The garage didn't extend as far back as the wall in the picture, probably 1/3rd of the way, but was most likely connected to whatever was in the rest of the building. That house hasn't been there for long, and if I remember right, it's the child development building. Getting the abstract from them is a great idea. Unfortunately, I have no idea who to ask there about that. Since it's a newer business I doubt any of the employees there would know anything. I think I can probably find something at the courhouse though, which isn't a bad idea either. I'll definitely have to check in to that! Thanks for the help!