View Full Version : Okc Trains & Trolleys History

Doug Loudenback
08-13-2007, 08:02 PM
I've started a new post ... Trains & Trolley History ... Doug Dawgz Blog: Trains & Trolleys ( ... but it's not nearly done, even though the "1st part" pretty much is ... it contains the following pics taken on Saturday 8/11 between 1 and 3 p.m., and, man, was I sweatting before it was done! (I didn't take the google pics or the mural pic from the state capitol).

The 1st part is intended to be a sobering introduction before waxing nostalgic. After the initial image which notes that horses, buggys and wagons weren't the only ways to "do" the Land Run ...

... I begin with the section, "Trains in Okc Today" as a reality check.

At S. Classen Blvd. Between SW 6th & SW 7th

On The Ground Looking South

Same Location Looking North

Something Left Behind, Looking Southeast

Further South Looking South

Looking At Abandoned Track Curving Southwest

On the Tracks Looking Northwest Toward Classen

On The Tracks Looking East

At Walker Looking North Across The Tracks

Looking Northeast Across The Tracks

A Google Image of the Union Station Area

Looking Northeast At The Robinson Crossing

On Robinson Looking North

On Compress Street Under I-40 Looking West

On South Side of Deep Deuce Apartments Looking Southwest - Harrison Bridge

Same Location Looking Southeast To the Bricktown Police Station

You Can Almost Not See Them, Now

I took a few more this afternoon of the old 39th street bridge which, I think, was the crossing for the Yukon/El Reno Interurban Line north of Lake Overholser ... they are in the same vein as the above but aren't in the blog yet. I'm double-checking to make sure that this bridge was the one used for the Interurban route. It's certainly old enough, and is in the correct location, and has some "thingies" which could hold the electric line, but the road surface is layered with multiple levels of asphalt and, where the concrete begins at the west end of the bridge there are no signs of former rails. So, I'm checking ... if anyone knows for sure, one way or the other, please chime in!

Doug Loudenback
08-21-2007, 10:40 AM
I've done the 2nd installment of the series, Trains Part 1: Doug Dawgz Blog: Okc Trains Part 1 (

Largely, it traces the early (through statehood) development of trains in the city. Small versions of the images are below, but little text which is in the post.

Trains At the 1889 Land Run - Okc Was a 1-Track Town

Trains At Statehood

Santa Fe In 1891 (initially, "Oklahoma Station" was thought to be called, "Seymour" Station! Can you say, "Seymour City?"

Day Before Land Run - Santa Fe in Background

July 4, 1889, Parade Viewed from Santa Fe Station

Prefabricated buildings shipped here on the Santa Fe by Henry Overholser

An early stock certificate of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Ry

An 1898 Sanborn map showing location of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf (to become part of the Rock Island Ry)

A close up section showing the terminal and 2 hotels that the Skirvin would replace

A 1922 Rock Island Rail Map

The Frisco - 1898 Map

Frisco Depot at 300 NW 1st

The Katy in 1904

Katy Depot on E. Reno just east of the Santa Fe Ry

The Importance of Rail, e.g., the 1898 Cotton Compress located south of the Katy depot - it would move to Reno & Eastern in 1923 following a fire

Coming next: Okc Trains Part 2 (1920s-1930s, pics of trains, the current day) and Okc Trolleys.

08-21-2007, 09:07 PM
So when I walk from my office in the UMB building through Couch Park to the Broadway/Kerr parking lot... I'm looking east through the park across the street to the north side of the Skirvin... is that where the Frisco depot was? Good stuff here !

Doug Loudenback
08-21-2007, 11:24 PM
No, the Frisco Depot was at 1st (Park Ave) and Harvey. This will show up better in Trains Part 2. What you're thinking of (I think) is the Rock Island Depot which was immediately north of the Skirvin. Here are a few images on the last day of that facility in December 1930:

08-22-2007, 12:03 AM
thanks doug, i "thought" i'd seen a pic of a train north of the skirvin before! i notice in an old post card there is an oil derrick between the UMB building and the one just north of it (petroleum building?) --- was it operational or just for looks?

Doug Loudenback
08-22-2007, 06:16 AM
Just for looks. When the Petroleum Building was constructed in 1926-1927 the derrick was on its top ...

As I said in Doug Dawgz Blog: Petroleum & Petroleum Club Buildings (

A large (48 to 50 feet – reports vary) oil derrick illuminated by colored lights sat on top of the building, and, according to Edwards & Ottaways' Vanished Splendor (Abalache Book Shop Publishing Co. 1982), it could be seen for 15 miles.

It was eventually removed for safety reasons and it sat on the ground for a time before it was removed altogether. I've read the date but I don't recall it right now.

08-22-2007, 01:29 PM
Doug, thanks for those shots of the old 39th Street Bridge. I used to live right near there in the Stonebridge Cove development across from Lake Overholser. Ah, good times.

Doug Loudenback
08-27-2007, 08:40 PM
For those interested, Okc Trains Part 2 (roughly 1920s forward) is done: Doug Dawgz Blog: Okc Trains Part 2 (

08-29-2007, 09:27 PM
Excellent page Doug, love your whole site !

Doug Loudenback
09-05-2007, 02:08 PM
I've added an expected page ... Trains 3: The Dean Schrif Collection ... great stuff from the Corporate Secretary of the Greater Okc Chamber of Commerce: Doug Dawgz Blog: Trains Part 3: The Dean Schirf Collection (

As you'll see when you read the post, I only met Mr. Schirf on 8/28 ... he's a train nut, glad to say, and he shares, too!

09-06-2007, 11:58 AM
Beautiful Doug!

Keep it up.

-- you really ought to consider writing a book.

09-06-2007, 06:05 PM
I've never really stopped to think about it before. How quickly this city developed from nothing more than a train station. In little more than 40 years, an impressive skyline where there had been open spaces. Has any other metro area grown that fast? I'm familiar a little with Tulsa's development, but what was the DFW area history during this time... how did we miss being an aviation hub, as we once were a major rail hub? I wonder when did it all start going "from" Oklahoma instead of "to" Oklahoma. Amazing what was "here" in the 1930's and in the next 40, "poof". Great work Doug, simply outstanding.

09-06-2007, 06:28 PM
Well said.

Doug Loudenback
09-07-2007, 06:20 AM
Thank you, both! Yes, it's fascinating (at least for me) to research the various topics that come to mind and the "trains" series has been a real eye-opener for me, as well as just plain fun to do. As to writing a book, Midtowner, chances are about 100% that what I write in the blog is as close to that as I'll get! Besides, the "style" of book writing is a bit more "strict" than I'm wanting ... the casual approach which blogs afford is more to my liking!

Next up (and intended earlier until I got sidetracked by Trains 3, as stated therein): Okc Trolleys & Interburbans! I'm hoping that it will be done over the weekend. If you like the train series, you're gonna love (I hope) all of the old trolley & interurban pics I'll be showing!

09-07-2007, 07:01 AM
As to the book, I hope you reconsider someday. I'd love to have a book full of these pictures and all that history sitting on coffee table.

But yeah... you have just a few other things on your plate :)

I understand.

09-07-2007, 07:06 AM
Doug, you always amaze me with your attention to detail and well thought out blogs/posts with awesome pictures. I love reading your blog .. you do such great work.

Doug Loudenback
09-07-2007, 11:11 AM
Thanks, Karrie! I love it when you talk pretty to me!:dizzy:

Doug Loudenback
09-11-2007, 10:06 AM
I've added a new Trains post, Trains 3A - Dean Schirf Collection (cont.): Doug Dawgz Blog: Trains Part 3A - Dean Schirf Collection (cont.) (

This one's written by Dean with several vintage and contemporary trains pics which he generously contributed.

09-11-2007, 11:22 AM
Once again excellent work Doug I have been using your site for reference when ever I get into a discussion on Oklahoma City historical facts.

Doug Loudenback
09-19-2007, 03:30 PM
It took longer than I expected to research, but OkcTrolleys Part 1 is now up.

Doug Dawgz Blog: Okc Trolleys Part 1 (

It covers the early days ... the interurbans, the 1911 trolley strike and other items will be covered in Trolleys Part 2.