AUTO TRAILS Back Roads into the Past
AUTO TRAILSBack Roads into the Past

Waurika to the Texas State Line

Junction with Oklahoma Highway 79 (2.2 miles west of Waurika on U.S. 70)

Side Trip to the Red River (Oklahoma Highway 79 South)

Red River Bridge (3.5 miles south on OK 79)

This bridge was constructed in 1939. Oklahoma Highway 79 and Texas Highway 79 both roughly parallel the route of the Wichita Falls & Oklahoma Railway, which was part of the Burlington System of railroads across the Central United States. The tracks crossed the Red River approximately one mile south of the highway bridge.

 

Junction with County Road N2650 (12.8 miles west of OK 79 on U.S. 70)

Side Trip to Coffee’s Cache Creek Post (County Road N2650 South)

Site of Coffee’s Cache Creek Post (1.9 miles south on CR N2650 at road end)

In 1829, Holland Coffee (1807–1846) and Silas Colville (1804–1844), with other partners, founded Coffee, Colville & Company in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to sell supplies. Confusion surrounds the locations and dates of the company's trading points in Indian Territory. After Coffee took an 1833 expedition (by one account) or shadowed the 1834 Dodge-Leavenworth Expedition into the territory (by another account), he established a trading post.[i] This was probably the abandoned north bank village of the Pani Piques (Taovayas or Wichitas) that Athanase de Mézières had named San Bernardo, across the river from the site of present Spanish Fort. The post housed thirty men and was surrounded by a picket fence. It was considered to be within the Choctaw Nation. Contacts were conducted out of the post that convened the plains Indians for the Camp Mason treaty negotiations of August 24, 1835, held near the site of present Lexington, Oklahoma.[ii]

 

Coffee achieved a reputation as a skilled negotiator with the area's American Indians and helped in arbitrations between the United States and those tribes. He also proved adept at recovering whites captured by Plains tribes. Conversely, James Bowie and others accused Coffee of selling liquor and guns to Indians who were engaged in stealing livestock and raiding settlers. In 1837, Coffee satisfactorily answered those charges at Houston, then the Texas capital, and was appointed Indian agent. In that capacity he initiated a treaty between the Republic of Texas and many of the tribes in north Texas. [iii]

 

Mexican agents tried to force evacuation of the San Bernardo post, and in early 1836 it was moved upriver to the mouth of Cache Creek. Although later proved to be much in error, Coffee contended that this site was in Texas by virtue of being west of the 100th meridian. Various complaints were made that the post's trade encouraged Indian depredations, and members of the Texas House of Representatives recommended that it be placed under surveillance or even suppressed. By April it was moved downriver and located on Walnut Bayou, near the site of present Burneyville, Oklahoma.[iv]

 

Abel Warren built a post here as early as 1839 or as late as 1842. It was abandoned in 1846. On Cache Creek was an old ford, approximately two miles above the creek’s mouth. Below this point and this ford no timber grows on the east bank of this stream and for two miles before emptying into Red River, Cache Creek develops into a deep, wide lake. Warren’s trading post was built on the east bank in a wide, open prairie downstream from this ford and available timber.

 

In 1842, the Comanche Indians asked Governor Pierce M. Butler and Colonel James Logan, tribal agents respectively of the Cherokees and the Creeks to request the president of the Republic of Texas to appoint commissioners to meet the chiefs of their tribe in council at some point on the Red River. Governor Butler evidently interested himself in the matter and sought to bring about such a conference as he and Colonel William S. Harney of the army were selected to represent the Government in a council which was held near the mouth of Cache Creek on the Red River in November of 1843. The Republic of Texas failed to send any representatives to the council.

 

The map and report of Captain Marcy’s exploration of upper Red River in 1852 was found to be marked with "X Warren’s T. H." This trading post had already been abandoned for six years and had probably burned during a prairie fire. His report made specific reference to having camped and crossed Cache at the ford.

 

When the Kiowa-Comanche country opened in 1901, Mr. Todd filed on and improved this piece of land. A great pile of shapely stones was found in the open prairie about the center of the tract of land. The stones were not placed there by nature. Very conveniently were they hauled out and used for foundations under the new buildings erected on the homesteads. In turning the sage grass sod, other things were turned up that showed signs of civilization. The heavy oak logs once set on end in a trench evidently had burned and left their mark in the soil.[v] 

 

Randlett (11.7 miles west of CR N2650 on U.S. 70 at Main Street)

The only surviving town of the five original platted town sites established with the 1906 Big Pasture Opening, Randlett was named for James Randlett, an Indian agent for the Kiowa and Comanche. Town lots were sold by public auction on May 13th, 1907, with an estimated forty-five hundred potential buyers present. John Mabee, soon to be a successful oil entrepreneur, was a pioneer of the new town. Although bids for a railroad failed (a proposed roadbed was graded, but the tracks were never laid), the town prospered by serving the needs of a surrounding agricultural area. In the late 1910s and 1920s, with the success of nearby oil and natural gas fields, a drilling boom occurred near Randlett. In 1964, the H. E. Bailey Turnpike opened, connecting Oklahoma City to Randlett, the last Oklahoma town north of the Red River.[vi]

 

In Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State, on which this guide is based, the travel route of U.S. Highway 70 is indicated as turning south at the junction with U.S. 277 on D1990 Road. 

 

US 70 crosses over a long bridge spanning a wide expanse of river-bed sand and a narrow stream to the TEXAS LINE, 268.5 m., at a point 2.5 miles northeast of Burkburnett, Texas (see Texas Guide).

 

This earlier route of U.S. Highway 70, 277, and 281 connected with Oklahoma Highway 36 at that highway’s current junction with E1990 Road, south of the present Kiowa Casino. That earlier route then continued to the present intersection of Oklahoma Highway 36 and Interstate Highway 44 (Exit 1). The current route of Interstate Highway 44 and U.S. Highways 277 and 281 south from Exit 1 to the Red River bridge follows the earlier route of U.S. 70 into Texas. 

Today’s traveler can follow D1990 Road southwest from Randlett southwest to a point at the east side of Interstate Highway 44. However, that highway bisects the old route and the traveler turns south, parallel to the current expressway, to an intersection with E1990 Road, 0.7 miles east of Oklahoma Highway 36. 

 

On March 3rd, 1945, the route of U.S. Highway 70 from Randlett was realigned to follow Oklahoma Highway 32 west to Davidson, Oklahoma, before turning south with U.S. Highway 183 to Oklaunion, Texas. 

 

Devol (7.5 miles west of Randlett on U.S. 70 at Lawton Avenue/OK 70D)

This town’s name honored J. Fiske Devol, who owned the property prior to the community's development. In 1907 the Wichita Falls & Northwestern Railway Company helped establish the town when it built tracks through the area. The U.S. Post Office Department established the post office on November 30th, 1907. In 1911 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (MK&T) acquired the railroad. By that year, Devol comprised approximately four hundred residents and had a bank, newspaper, a number of retail outlets and restaurants, a hotel, and many cattle brokers. Beginning about 1918, the town’s proximity to the Burkburnett oil field in Texas brought an influx of population and prosperity to the region. Although no significant oil discoveries were found near the town, many refineries were built, including the Constantine Refining Company and the Oklahoma Petroleum & Gasoline Company, which dismantled its West Tulsa plant and shipped it to the site. Several pipelines crossed the Red River to the community, and numerous wildcatters bought and sold area leases. Devol swelled with oil-field workers who, reportedly, wanted to live away from the more rowdy oil towns. The 1920 population stood at 1,936. The oil boom ended about 1922, and the 1930 U.S. Census reported a population of 328. In 1927, the bank failed. In 1932, the Sinclair Pump Line Company still had a pipeline at the town.

 

Devol dwindled after World War II. In 1940 the population was 208, but it declined to 152 in 1950. In 1953 the high school closed, and in 1957 all the grades consolidated with Randlett and Union Valley, creating the Big Pasture School District at Randlett. In 1959 a tornado inflicted major damage in the business district, destroying the railroad depot, Masonic Hall, a service station, and the post office. In 1960 Devol reached its lowest reported population at 117. From 1948 to 1961 the community did not hold municipal elections, and in 1972 the MK&T Railway abandoned its tracks. In the early 1980s the only business was a tack shop specializing in racehorse saddles, selling its product by special order throughout the nation. In 1990 the population stood at 165. In 1997 the town successfully petitioned to keep its post office, which was again threatened with closure in 2002.[vii]

 

The Wichita, Tillman & Jackson Railway operates freight service on the railroad line from a connection at Wichita Falls, Texas, to a connection at Altus, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma trackage on the Altus line is owned by the State of Oklahoma and leased to MK&T then Union Pacific. Short line service started January 14th, 1991.[viii]

 

Grandfield (5.8 miles west of Devol on U.S. 70 at OK 36)

The opening of the Big Pasture area in 1906, the last large region to be settled in Oklahoma, was as colorful and exciting as the famous “Run of ’89”. Prospective homesteaders bid on quarter-sections of land, and these bids were sent to the Lawton Land Office from December 3rd to the 15th of 1906. There were over 100,000 bids on the 1,830 quarter-sections available, varying from $800 to $7,376. 

The land belonged to the Kiowa and Comanche Indians and had been leased since the 1880’s by Texas cattlemen. Before the opening of the area, the Federal Government platted five towns: Randlett, Ahpeatone, Isadore, Quanah and Eschiti. The only town remaining today is Randlett. Eschiti was the official town nearest the present site of Grandfield. Problems arose when the Wichita Falls & Northwestern Railroad missed Eschiti by two miles, and another town was formed along the railroad’s route. It was named Kell City, after the railroad promoter Frank Kell, of Wichita Falls. By 1907, Eschiti had the post office and Kell City had the railroad, and the people of the two towns were in heated competition for new settlers and businesses. 

 

To try and settle the differences, Reverend Andrew J. Tant, a Baptist minister and homesteader, went into partnership with Frank Kell and Joe Kemp and offered free lots to business if they would relocate in their new town on the Tant farm. Since the location was only about a mile from Kell City, people willingly moved. Lots were promised free to all Churches and Schools. Observers at that time wrote that people could look through their windows and see lines of house being moved. According to Mrs. Lawrence Hooks, an early settler, she once cooked breakfast in Eschiti and dinner in Grandfield, without leaving her house. 

By October of 1908, the new town on the Tant land was a bustling community, and was incorporated as the Town of Grandfield on January 10th, 1909. The town’s founders and early residents came from various locations, backgrounds, cultures, and religions; the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas were well-represented, and a substantial number of newly-arrived European immigrants also made their homes in Grandfield. Reverend Tant was Pastor of the Baptist Church, the first church in Grandfield. In December of 1908, the Presbyterian Church was built. 

 

The town’s location was on the Wichita Falls & Northwestern Railroad line. Although it was supposed to have arrived by 1910, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway did not reach the town until the middle of the 1920s. The name of the Wichita Falls & Northwestern, which ran from Wichita Falls to Altus, was changed in the 1910s to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas (Katy) Railway. 

The first oil well tested in the Big Pasture region was on the O.E. Maple farm, one-half mile south of Grandfield, in 1912. These early tests were disappointing. In the fall of 1917, several prominent men of Grandfield joined with others to form the Randlett Oil Company. Two years later, a wooden bridge was built from Grandsfield to the oil fields of Burkburnett by the Austin Brothers of Dallas. The bridge was owned by the Grandfield Bridge Company, with shares purchased by prominent townspeople. The wooden structure was a toll bridge, and the people who owned the land adjoining the bridge saw to it that they also made a profit by keeping the hill watered down and charging 50 cents to haul vehicles through the mud. 

 

The oil boom of 1917 brought the construction of seven refineries to Grandfield. The first was the Twin Six, begun in the late fall of 1918. The Oklahoma-Texas Refinery broke ground on May 23, 1919. The Grandfield Refinery was third, but it was closed in 1923. The Twin Six operated under the names of Union Oil and Bell Oil & Gas Refining Company until 1961, when it was moved to Ardmore. 

One of the significant side lights of the boom era was the relationship of Grandfield to the Southern Boundary of Oklahoma. On April 25th, 1921, the headlines read, “Oklahoma Wins Grandfield’s Greatest Oilfield; Oil Lands valued at $200,000,000 added to Tillman County’s Territory, and Greatly Appreciated.” The State of Oklahoma has won the riverbed south of Grandfield when the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision giving Oklahoma all the territory to the south bank of the Red River, designating is as the boundary line between Oklahoma and Texas.[ix] 

Points of Interest:

Old Grandfield Hospital (211 S. Simpson Avenue)

The Old Grandfield Hospital, built in 1916 and 1917, is a three-story with basement, brick, Commercial style building with a centered entrance. Dr. W. A. Fuqua, Dr. Harper Wright, and Dr. H. C. Harris built the hospital with 14 beds. The operating room, located on the third floor, was down the hall from the Fuqua family quarters.[x]

Tillman County Bank (Southeast corner of 2nd Street and Simpson Avenue)

The Tillman County Bank of Grandfield had its origins in the early town of Kell. Originally named the Tillman County Bank of Kell, the bank was chartered on March 24th, 1908, with a twenty-five-year charter. The incorporators were Charles E. Lawrence of Kell, president; Duval Jackson of Kansas City, Missouri; and Walter C. Thomea of Kell. In 1908, soon after the towns of Kell and Eschiti merged to form Grandfield, the bank moved to Grandfield and changed its name to the Tillman County Bank of Grandfield. The current building, however, was not constructed until about 1910.[xi]

Humphreys Drugstore (106 E. 2nd Avenue)

Humphreys Drugstore Building, one of three drugstores in Grandfield between 1908 and 1941, played an important role in the commercial life of the downtown. Built in 1914, it became a drugstore and jewelry store in 1920 and continued to operate in this capacity until the early 1970s. Originally built as a hardware store, the building operated as a drug store and a jewelry store from 1920 until 1972. Two brothers, Grover and Audrey Teeter, were the pharmacists. Their brother-in-law, Herbert E. "Pete"

 

Humphreys, was the jeweler. The Teeters operated this business until 1972 when they closed. To accommodate the dual business of drug and jewelry store, Humphreys and the Teeters ordered a brand new set of furnishings for the interior when they bought the building in 1920. Especially designed for their business, there were cabinets to accommodate drugs, display cases for jewelry, and a complete soda fountain. The interior was ordered from Kansas City and a factory representative came to Grandfield with the cabinets and soda fountain to supervise the installation. The installation of the soda fountain instantly made the drugstore a local gathering place and a social center for members of the Grandfield community. The cabinets and the soda fountain remain unchanged.

Of the three drugstores located in downtown Grandfield between 1908 and 1941, the Humphreys Drugstore is the only remaining drugstore which has maintained its historical integrity. The First National Bank Building, the site of a drugstore from approximately 1923 until the 1940s, has a stronger association to its original function as a bank and does not retain any features related from the period it served as a drugstore. The third drugstore, which was also located downtown, was destroyed by fire in July of 1930.[xii]

Rock Island Depot (201 S. Bridge Road)

The Rock Island Depot, built in 1920, was the second depot built in the small town of Grandfield. The first depot, built in 1911 by the Wichita Falls & Northwestern Railway Company, connected Grandfield with Wichita Falls, Texas, to the south and Altus, Oklahoma to the northwest. This depot no longer exists in Grandfield. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway (the CRI&P, or Rock Island) , connected Grandfield with Lawton and Oklahoma City to the north, thereby expanding its markets.

 

The Rock Island was in the process of surveying the area between Chattanooga, Oklahoma and Grandfield in 1909. The survey efforts were used in a promotional issue of the Grandfield Enterprise, distributed by town businessmen to other cities in the hopes of convincing people to relocate to Grandfield. The advertisement brought many people to Grandfield, but not as many as the large oil strikes between 1912 to 1925. The town grew rapidly from a population of 830 in 1910 to 1,990 in 1920. By 1920, the townspeople again were soliciting the Rock Island to extend a branch line south fifteen miles from Chattanooga to Grandfield. The town offered to buy right-of-way between the two towns, plus a bonus of $5,000 and a site of 45 acres to be given to the rail company to build a depot. The Rock Island accepted this offer. The official deed to the land was transferred on April 15th, 1920, giving the rail company the surface rights on which to build the railroad.

 

The first Rock Island passenger train arrived in Grandfield on May 8th, 1920. With boosterism common to the day, the Grandfield Enterprise reported in August that the new depot was to be ready by the first of September, stating "While Grandfield is not as large as the depot in Oklahoma City, it will be one of the most modern depot buildings in Southwest Oklahoma, being equipped with steam heat, toilets, wash basins, etc." The extra depot was desperately needed due to the oil- and agricultural-related activity. Between the years of 1912 and 1926 , Tillman County had successful harvests of corn, cotton, wheat, and cattle, boasting of a surplus of agricultural goods. Added to this was one of the largest oil finds in the history of Oklahoma, which brought several oil companies to Grandfield. Many of the farmers of Grandfield sold their mineral rights to the oil drillers, and then farmed the land, becoming very wealthy in the process. During the time of the oil boom, the town was bustling with activity. Many people came to Grandfield on the railroads to work in the oil fields. As rail was the dominate means of shipping and receiving goods, Grandfield citizens were fortunate to have two railroads in their town. It was boasted in an article in the Grandfield Enterprise that more people got off of the train in Grandfield than in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. At the time of the construction of the Rock Island depot, the town was receiving ten passenger trains a day. This made Grandfield a thriving place and its residents promoted the town as "The Hub of the Big Pasture."

The Rock Island depot continued to service Grandfield until 1943. The depot in Grandfield was no longer profitable for the railroad in the early 1940s. The Rock Island sold the depot in 1943 to A.M. McKinney. Later, it was sold to the American Legion for use as a meeting hall for World War II and Korean War veterans. The organization still holds the deed to the depot, although it is used as a school for the local Head Start program.[xiii]

 

Junction with County Road N2240 (17.4 miles west of Grandfield on U.S. 70)

Side Trip to Hackberry Flats (County Road N2240 North, County Road E1890 East)

Hackberry Flats Wildlife Management Area (2 miles north on CR N2240, 0.7 mile east on CR E1890)

The skies over this flood-prone area were blackened with waterfowl as the pioneers arrived on the plains of southwest Oklahoma. President Theodore Roosevelt was intrigued by the area, and even went for a hunt on Hackberry Flat. The well-publicized event occurred in April of 1905. President Roosevelt, accompanied by John R. Abernathy and others, departed from Frederick to the Big Pasture to participate in a wolf hunt. However, it was not the wildlife that drew rugged homesteaders, but rather the valuable commercial potential of the soil.

In the early 1900s, a massive ditch was constructed – some four miles long, 20 feet deep and 40 feet wide – by locals using hand shovels, mule teams and later a steam shovel. The next two generations of area residents maintained the area as farmland instead of the wetland it had been for so many years prior. They had some success in the fertile soil, but the area remained flood-prone so farming was difficult.

 

The Wildlife Department began restoration efforts in 1993 by purchasing land from willing sellers. The Department broke ground in August of 1995 to form what is now known as Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area, a refuge and feeding ground for wildlife and a recreational ground for Oklahomans. The Department built nearly 40 miles of levees and ditches to form a honeycomb of wetland units with the help of many partners. These units allow area managers to flood any part of the area according to the needs of migrating birds. A 17-mile aqueduct connecting Hackberry Flat to the Tom Steed Reservoir was a critical component in the process. The pipeline may be an option for water supply when rainfall events are limited such as during drought years. Managers have a wide variety of management options with more than 35 miles of dikes and canals and 99 different water control structures.[xiv]

 

Junction with U.S. Highway 183 (5.6 miles west of CR N2240 on U.S. 70)

At this junction, U.S. Highway 70 turns south, joining with U.S. Highway 183 to the Red River and Oklaunion, Texas.

Side Trip to Frederick (U.S. Highway 183 North)

J.D. Laney House (6.5 miles north on U.S. 183, 2.1 miles west on CR E1850)

John David Laney, designer and builder of this structure, came to what is now southwestern Oklahoma in 1900. After years of living in a dugout and other crude structures, Laney designed this bungalow, and he and his family constructed it in 1928 and 1929. The structure is best described as "folk architecture". While there are many stone houses in southwestern Oklahoma, the Laney House is quite unique because of its use of a variety of native stones, the letters worked into the gables, the use of light and dark stones for a decorative effect, and the use of round "cobble stones" to cap posts in the surrounding fence.[xv]

Frederick (10.7 miles north on U.S. 183 at OK 5)

Frederick was one of the towns that came into existence when the Kiowa-Comanche reservation was opened to settlement in 1901. It was from Frederick that President Theodore Roosevelt started on April 8th, 1905, on a wolf hunt that became famous because Jack Abernathy, a young ranchman of the region, caught a coyote with his bare hands and Roosevelt wrote about the feat. Later, after leaving his job as United States marshal, Abernathy repeated his coyote-catching stunt for the movies.

Points of Interest:

A.H. Holloman House (421 N. 12th Street)

In the Holloman home was once a collection of fossils and stone implements taken from the Holloman Gravel Pit, which was located north of Frederick. Below is a newspaper article from The Stanford Daily on January 18th, 1929:

 

OKLAHOMA GIVES PROOF OF MAN IN PLEISTOCENE ERA

Fossils Found in Gravel Pit Declared by Scientists Human Artifacts

FREDERICK, Okla., Jan. 17. (AP)— Granting that Asia was the cradle of man, southwest Oklahoma asserts it provided his first toddling ground. Out of a gravel pit near here have come what are declared by scientists to be unmistakable human artifacts. These have been found in strata declared by geologists to belong to the Pleistocene age, or between 500,000 and 750,000 years old.

Pit In Daily Use

The pit, although a veritable treasury of paleontological and geological specimens, is in daily commercial use. It is owned by A. H. Holloman, Frederick contractor and real estate dealer. The most conclusive proofs of human habitation found are arrowheads, pronounced by Harold J. Cook, curator of the Colorado Museum of Natural History, as undoubtedly manufactured by man. In addition, numerous stones suggesting the heads of war clubs, spears and hammers; pottery trays and vessels, and clay tablets suggesting crude attempts at writing, have been unearthed. Carvings Found Among the most interesting are two clay tablets. On one is carved an unmistakable fish; on the other the form of a man. Two small objects closely resembling the hand and foot of an infant were found close together. The fingers and toes are well-defined.

 

Below is an excerpt from the article titled “The Antiquity of Man in America” by J.D. Figgins, published in Natural History Magazine on September 16th, 1929:

 

Having read an article dealing with the question of man’s antiquity in America by Mr. Harold J. Cook, which appeared in the November, 1926, issue of the Scientific American, Dr. F. G. Priestly of Frederick, Tillman County, Oklahoma, wrote Mr. A. G. Ingalls, editor of that publication, briefly describing the finding of artifacts associated with fossil mammal remains in that vicinity. After some correspondence, and with Doctor Priestly’s consent, Mr. Ingalls forwarded this letter to Mr. Cook. Doctor Priestly’s account of these discoveries was of such a convincing nature that it could not be doubted that the Oklahoma material was of great importance. With the view of making studies of both the material and physical character of the deposits from which it was taken, Mr. Cook and the present writer joined Doctor Priestly at Frederick in January.

 

It was at once apparent that while Doctor Priestly recognized and understood the importance of the finds he described in his letter to Mr. Ingalls, it was equally obvious he had followed a very conservative course and the writer was not prepared for the discovery that in addition to the artifact mentioned, several others had been unearthed and no less than five of them preserved.

In his account of these finds, Doctor Priestly stated all had been personally made by Mr. A. H. Holloman, who owns and operates a sand and gravel pit about one mile north of the city of Frederick. To Mr. Holloman, therefore, the writer is indebted for a history of the discoveries, their stratigraphic position, and other items having a bearing on them.

 

As Mr. Cook’s account will cover the geological history of these deposits, and the immediate vicinity, here it is necessary merely to say the sand and gravel pit consists of an open cut on the east face of a ridge approximately half a mile in width and running for some miles in a generally north and south direction. Sand and gravel from an area of about two acres have been worked out near the crest of this ridge, which, with the overlying stratum of clay, silt, etc., varied from ten feet to twenty-five feet in thickness. At the time of our visit, a nearly vertical cut of not less than 150 yards in length and varying from fifteen feet to twenty-four feet in height was exposed, in which every phase of the several strata was clearly defined.

 

Independent of the opportunities thus offered for studies of the exposed formations, it also made it easily possible for Mr. Holloman to point out the horizons at which artifacts and the several varieties of fossils had been found. That a great deal of fossil material has been uncovered since the opening of the pit, there can be no doubt, but not until during the past year was an effort made to preserve any part of it. Accounts are unanimous in showing that quantities of such material have gone into the refuse heap, now comprising thousands of tons; into the surfacing of roads; the cement mixer, etc. Seven known artifacts are buried somewhere in this refuse pile or carried away: a metate and six pestles or manos, but these cannot be considered here. (The Colorado Museum of Natural History has arranged to keep a representative constantly on the ground to search for and preserve all artifacts and fossils hereafter uncovered.)

 

Although fossils are found throughout the entire stratum of sand and gravel deposits, a superficial study of all the evidence suggests the possibility that two faunal and cultural stages are represented.

I

n an abstract published in the Academy of Science for 1930, O.F. Evans of the University of Oklahoma concluded that “This deposit contained the Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils now found in the Holloman pit, while the arrow heads and metates were on the surface where they had been left a comparatively short time before,”.

Site of Holloman Gravel Pit (0.3 mile west of U.S. 183 on Highview Avenue)

The pit covers three acres, but the formation is far more extensive. Here have been found clay balls inside of which, say local reporters, were living frogs. Bones of prehistoric animals and stone age implements have also been taken from the pit. Because of all of the controversy about this site in the scientific community, Mr. Holloman decided to close it to researchers, and little has been said about it in scientific circles after that.

Ramona Theatre (114 S. 9th Street)

Built in 1929, on the site of an earlier theatre named the A-Mus-U, the Ramona was designed by George Kadane. Kadane’s family was considered one of the major independent film exhibitors in the south-central U.S. The funding for the theatre's construction was comprised of stock sales to investors and was built by local bank president James Beard, whose daughter the theatre is named for. At its opening in 1929, the Ramona was hailed as the "Showplace of the Southwest".

In addition to the first run features that were obtained due to their connections, the Kadane family was able to obtain the rights to the "Cotton Queen" pageant in 1930 and the Ramona remained the host until World War II. This pageant was later moved to Nashville and became the national "Cotton Maid" pageant. With the recognized quality of features being presented and special events such as the pageant, a high regard developed for the Ramona and it was frequented on a regular basis by state and regional notables.[xvi]

Side Trip to the North Fork of the Red River (Weaver Road/County Road E1910 West, County Road N2150 North, County Road E1850 West, County Road N2120 North)

North Fork of the Red River (3.4 miles west on Weaver Road/CR E1910, 5.9 miles north on N2150 Road, 3 miles west on E1850 Road, 0.5 mile north on N2120 Road at junction with unimproved road)

Approximately 1500 feet west of this junction is the North Fork of the Red River. During the spring of 1852 an expedition under the command of Captain Randolph B. Marcy, of the 5th United States Infantry, and Lieutenant George B. McClellan, of the Corps of Engineers, was ordered to explore the sources of the Red River. The expedition entered Oklahoma from the south, crossing the Red River near the mouth of the Cache Creek, and thence marching up the valley on the north side of the river to a point near the mouth of the North Fork of Red River (called by the Comanches Mobeetah Hono). The course of the last mentioned stream was followed, through the western spurs of the Wichita range of mountains. During the course of the march up the valley of the North Fork, Otter Creek, Elk Creek, Sweetwater Creek and several smaller streams received the names by which they are still known.

 

After reaching the source of the North Fork, the course of the expedition was changed to the south. Reaching the valley of the Red River, proper, a smaller party followed the course of that stream to its source. Thus, for the first time, the exact location of the source of the Red River was ascertained and definitely located. The narrative of the Marcy expedition, which was written in the form of a daily journal, is even yet a splendid description of the natural features of the country through which it passed. Athough of course, great changes have taken place since that time. The report of the expedition, with accompanying papers, was issued in the form of a bound volume with a separate atlas containing maps, in 1854. An odd mistake was made by the draughtsman who drew the maps of the country through which the expedition passed, the location of the Wichita Mountains and of the principal tributaries of the Upper Red River being indicated one degree farther west than they actually were. This mistake complicated if it did not cause the celebrated Greer County dispute between Texas and the Federal Government.

 

Among the Delaware Indians, several of whom usually accompanied each expedition which was commanded by Captain Marcy, was Black Beaver. One day the expedition met a large body of wild Indians of the Plains. The commander was very anxious to impress them with a proper understanding of the great superiority of the white people. In his interview with them, Black Beaver acted as his interpreter. He told them of the railroads and of the great rapidity with which people might travel by such means. Black Beaver, who had never seen a railroad, interpreted Captain Marcy ’s statements with evident hesitation. The latter then told of the electric telegraph, which was, at that time, a comparatively recent invention. He said that he might be ready to take a seat at his dinner table and send word over the wires to his friend, twenty days’ journey away, what he had for dinner and, before he had time to eat it, his friend would receive the message and send back word what he had for his own dinner. He then waited for the statement to interpreted but, to his surprise, Black Beaver remained silent. “Black Beaver,” he exclaimed, “why don't you interpret that to these Indians?” “Captain, I am a civilized Indian,” replied Black Beaver, “but I don't believe that myself and I can’t make these wild Indians believe it.” Black Beaver was distinguished for his unwavering regard for the truth and was therefore unwilling to interpret to the other Indians what he regarded as an untruth, even though he had confidence in Captain Marcy. In after years, when he had come to know more of the progress of the white people, he often laughed about his distrust of Captain Marcy ’s story of the telegraph.

 

The return march of Marcy ’s Red River expedition was made through the Wichita Mountains, past the site of Fort Sill, to Fort Arbuckle.[xvii]

 

Davidson (0.4 mile south of junction with U.S. 183 on U.S. 70 at Grand Avenue)

Originally called Texowa, the town of Davidson is located in southwestern Tillman County. This area was opened for homesteading by a lottery held in 1901. That year, the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway began construction from Texas north across the Red River into Davidson. Although the city government was not organized until 1916, activity in the town started in 1902. Initially a post office called Olds was established on May 21st, 1902. On June 20th, 1903, the name was changed to Davidson, honoring A. J. Davidson, a railroad director from St. Louis, Missouri. A one-room schoolhouse built in 1902 was used until the first brick building was constructed in 1909. The school system continued to grow and in 1936 boasted the first six-man football team in Oklahoma.[xviii]

 

Junction with County Road E1920 (0.6 mile south of Davidson on U.S. 70)

Side Trip to Abandoned St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Path (County Road E1920 West)

Abandoned St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Path (0.6 mile west on CR E1920)

The track of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway traveled from Vernon, Texas, north along this route, passing through Davidson on its way to Enid, Oklahoma. 

 

Red River Bridge (1.3 miles south of CR E1920 on U.S. 70 at the Red River)

Although owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, this bridge is the longest in Oklahoma, spanning a distance of 5,580 feet. The older highway bridge is still present along the west side of the current bridge. The older bridge was constructed in 1939. 

 

[i] O’Dell, Larry; Coffee’s Post; Oklahoma Historical Society; http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CO015

[ii] Britton, Morris L., Coffee’s Station; Texas State Historical Association; https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dfc01

[iii] O’Dell, Larry; Coffee’s Post; Oklahoma Historical Society; http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CO015

[iv] Britton, Morris L., Coffee’s Station; Texas State Historical Association; https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dfc01

[v] Clift. W.H.; Warren’s Trading Post; Chronicles of Oklahoma, vol. 2 no. 2; June of 1924; pg. 129-140

[vi] O’Dell, Larry; Randlett; Oklahoma Historical Society; http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=RA015

[vii] O’Dell, Larry; Devol; Oklahoma Historical Society; http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=DE015

[viii] Wichita, Tillman & Jackson Railway Company, Inc. WTJR #899; Union Pacific Railroad; https://www.up.com/customers/shortline/profiles_t-z/wtj/index.htm

[ix] Historic Resources Inventory Grandfield Oklahoma; City of Grandfield, Oklahoma; http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/architsurveys/ILSofGrandfieldPt1.pdf

[x] Clark, Neysa; Meecham, Mary Jo; Peck, Brenda; Gabbert, Jim, editor; Grandfield Downtown Historic District; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form; March 1st, 1999.

[xi] Meachem, Mary Jo; Tillman County Bank of Grandfield; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form; November 18th, 1991.

[xii] Meachem, Mary Jo; Humphreys Drugstore Building; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form; November 15th, 1991.

[xiii] Roth, Susan; Rock Island Depot; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form; March 7th, 1995.

[xiv] Experience the Wetlands, Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area and Hackberry Flat Center; http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/education/hackberryflat.pdf

[xv] Northcutt, John D.; J.D. Laney House; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form; March 1st, 1983.

[xvi] Fisher, Paul; Ramona Theatre; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form; April 6th, 1984.

[xvii] Thoburn, Joseph Bradfield; A Standard History of Oklahoma, vol. 1; American Historical Society, 1916; pg. 216-218

[xviii] Oxford, Jay; Davidson; Oklahoma Historical Society; http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=DA014

You have installed an adblocker. This Web App can only be displayed and edited correctly when the adblocker is disabled.

Contact Us Today!

Caddo Publications USA
E-mail: caddopubusa@cs.com

Tweets from Lyn Wilkerson @autotrails
Print Print | Sitemap
© Caddo Publications USA