View Full Version : Springlake Arcadia Book - Help?

Doug Loudenback
04-07-2008, 05:50 PM
It is with a deep deep sense of humility splashed with a healthy healthy healthy measure of vain-glory that I am pleased to announce that I'm preparing a book for Arcadia Publishing Company, "Springlake Amusement Park." The mock cover has been completed by Arcadia (subject to change but it probably won't -- the image and text are pretty much set in stone):


I'm not saying this to pump myself up. That's done, already. :dizzy:

Here's what I'm hoping/wanting to get from this post --
I'm wanting any who are willing to be part of my research for this book:

I'm in the process of writing the final text which I want to have done by the end of April or very soon after, to meet the deadline for submission of the final text and images to Arcadia. I already have done an abundance of research and have a whole lot of images (largely thanks to Norman Thompson), most of them scans from "original" paper images (and credit Buddy Johnson of the Okc Metropolitan Library for allowing me to borrow original photos to make additional scans) ...

... but ...

(1) there may be additional images lurking around in the possession of some of you that would be excellent to include in the book ... if so, I'd need original photos to scan to Arcadia's specifications and your consent to include them in the book ... of course you'd be credited with the images in the text ...

(2) there may be good anecdotal stories, tales, comments that some of you who are old enough to have either (a) enjoyed this park if you were white, or, (b) if you were black, have no enjoyment to recall because you could not gain admittance to the park until after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the park was segregated until then ... but these anecdotal stories are equally important historically and should also be included in the book, as far as I'm concerned. And, since I'm the author, I get to make the call and there you are!

Although its "heyday" was earlier, Springlake closed in 1981, so, as a practical matter, this request will be most appropriate to older guys and gals unless Springlake stories were related to you younger guys/gals by your elders, and that counts, too!

Anyone can reply here, or send me a private message, or send me an e-mail, that wants to. I'd welcome any input that's fit to print.

Old Downtown Guy, are you reading?

04-07-2008, 06:47 PM
wooot woooot Doug! Congrats!

PM me and I'll hook you up with my mom, she talks fondly of Springlake.

Doug Loudenback
04-07-2008, 07:05 PM
PM is done. Send me INFO!

Doug Loudenback
04-07-2008, 07:16 PM
By the way, no need exists to "sugar coat" any anecdotal comments any want to make. Consider this one, left at my Springlake blog article, which relates to the "down side" of Springlake, vis a vis the 1971 racial riot ...

I was 21 years old and was working one of the games that night with another girl. Everything was great as usual, but then we heard people screaming and the next thing we knew, there were hundreds of people running everywhere, carrying boards, hammers, everything they could pick up that wasn't nailed down. My co-worker and I were in shock. We tried to get our door down, and, of course it got stuck ... we were terrified. Just at that moment a large black man jumped over our counter, never looked at us, shut down our door and went out the side door. The girl and I huddled as far back as possible, she with a claw hammer and me with a can of spray paint! LOL! We were going to do some damage to someone if they came in on us! LOL!

We stayed there until someone came to get us. I will never forget the sounds of those riot sirens as long as I live, nor will I ever forget the black man that closed our door for us. We were so scared ... I dont think we even thanked him. The police led us out of the park through two lines of blacks they had lined up. Some of us girls were shaken and crying, some of us were just still trying to figure out what had happened. We were later told some white kids had pushed a black kid from the roller coaster and that it had set the blacks off. I still dont know the truth, to this day. I just knew that was the final blow for my beloved Springlake which I had been visiting since I was 5 years old. I saw so many stars there as a young girl and teen. I still miss it so. I still cant understand WHY people just cant get along. My favorite thing was the penny arcade. I miss it so much.

The young man who came to their "rescue" by shutting their door was black. Now, is that (a) a great anecdotal comment or (b) what? (That's a rhetorical question ... the answer is (a).

04-07-2008, 07:30 PM
Wow, that is a powerful story.

I absolutely can't wait to see the outcome of your 'baby'.

04-07-2008, 09:28 PM
Well now, that's a pretty impressive cover Doug. I think I'll get me one of those for myself...

04-07-2008, 10:17 PM
I love those Arcadia books. Congrats Doug!

04-08-2008, 05:52 AM
Kudos Doug.

I'm of no help. I was pure Green Country in those days. I first heard of Springlake several years after it was closed.

I look forward to learning more about it.

Doug Loudenback
04-08-2008, 06:30 AM
Thanks, guys. Surely someone will have some old stories ...

Kevin, see Doug Dawgz Blog: Springlake ( , not nearly "book" quality but it should give you a pretty good picture.

Doug Loudenback
05-19-2008, 07:02 PM
My draft version of Springlake Amusement Park is now in the hands of the publisher, Arcadia, and, aside from spelling, etc. type errors/corrections, it is now done. Some forum members here have helped greatly in this project ... and some who are not members, did, too. But, I want to give particular thanks to the following, forum members or not, more particularly stated in Doug Dawgz Blog: Springlake via Arcadia ( ...

Norman Thompson, Larry (Buddy) Johnson, Steve Lackmeyer, Judi Jones Kemler, Carla Williams Nofsinger, Kathy Spivey, Cherastina, Papajack, and Joan Ivers ... and anyone else that I've inadvertently left out of this list. I'm very appreciative to all who helped, and, to you I say again, "Thanks!" And, as far as anecdotal comments and recollections are concerned, Papajack of this forum really did "make" Chapter 4: The Heyday Years, and he gets my special thanks!

05-19-2008, 07:38 PM
Doug, forgive me if you've already answered this, but did you approach Arcadia with this or did they approach you?

05-19-2008, 09:23 PM
Congrats Doug!

Doug Loudenback
05-19-2008, 11:43 PM
Thanks, Kevin. Jbrown, they contacted me, because of the Springlake blog article, I guess.

05-23-2008, 10:18 PM
I am looking forward to having a copy of the book. I hope you will have a signing party at some point. I remember SpringLake fondly. My first and only roller coaster ride was there. I spent lots of summer days either there or at Wedgewood.

The Old Downtown Guy
05-23-2008, 10:59 PM
Congratulations Doug. I'm looking forward to the book sigining party.

Doug Loudenback
05-24-2008, 06:42 AM
Thanks, guys.

I'm still waiting on the proofs back from Arcadia ... of course, since sending the draft stuff to them, I've made numerous, a lot, of changes but was told that was OK. I also am told that there is about a 6 month lead time before the book would be available, but I have no knowledge beyond what I've been told. Arcadia handles book signing stuff but I hope that it will be at Full Circle, where else?

ODTG & others, if you have any last minute anecdotal stories I may be able to slip in a few more. Take a look at those that are already included here: Doug Dawgz Blog: Springlake via Arcadia (

Doug Loudenback
09-25-2008, 11:27 PM
I am very pleased to announce that the 1st book-signing of Springlake Amusement Park will be at Full Circle Books on October 30, 2008, from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Many more details and sample pages and lots of acknowledgments are in my updated blog article: Doug Dawgz Blog: Springlake via Arcadia ( Although the book will be available in local stores on October 13, the 1st (so far only) book-signing will be on October 30.

I am especially pleased that Full Circle Bookstore will be doing this. In my estimation, it is the finest bookstore in Oklahoma, and, certainly, it is the largest as well as finest which is locally owned in the state. To mark this announcement, I went there yesterday afternoon and took the following interior images. If you've not ever been there, you really are missing out on an exceptional bookstore.








Whether you buy the book or not, I hope that all here will come who wants to, and I look forward to seeing those of you that I've already met, and meeting those who I haven't.

Special Note To Papajack: Your copy will be ready and waiting! Memo to others: Papajack, forum member here, provided me with some of the most delightful Springlake anecdotes, all of which are included in the book.

Doug Loudenback
09-26-2008, 11:39 AM
Since several in this forum have been supportive of this project, I'll throw in a couple of sample pages that are not shown in the blog article.

Close behind my passion for the NBA in OKC, Oklahoma City & its history, is a lesser known passion for 1950s crappy looking furniture. That passion explains the next pair of pages:

Larger image:

Larger image:

See what I mean about that cool old crappy lookin' chair? It doesn't look half-bad in the above picture, does it? :gossip:

09-26-2008, 11:52 AM
Congratulations, Doug! I look forward to buying a copy when available.

Doug Loudenback
09-26-2008, 01:35 PM
Congratulations, Doug! I look forward to buying a copy when available.
Ha! :) They are available for pre-order now (release date is 10/13):

Doug Loudenback
09-26-2008, 02:27 PM
I should add this detail about the chair/babe pic which is not discussed in the book.

When going through the "box" of old photos (that photo was not included in those that Norman Thompson, my principal image benefactor, gave me on a CD) ... Norman gave the original photos to the Okc Metro Library and Larry "Buddy" Johnson there allowed me to see all the original photos and scan what I wanted.

I found the "babe pic" in the very bottom of the plastic storage box which Buddy had placed all of the images which Norman donated to the MLS. The photograph of Miss KOCY was not intact ... it had been torn in half, apparently deliberately (there were no "bend" creases on the 2 halves of the photo which would account for a more "natural" tearing). The inscription on the back of the photo was to Marvin Staton, then owner of the park. As you might have noticed in the text describing the photo, it had 4 thumb tack marks, one on each corner, so it had clearly been stuck on someone's "bulletin board" before its removal and defecation!

Marvin Staton never married so the "tearer" wasn't his wife ... so who could/might it have been ... a girlfriend ... who? Marvin who had an unrequited interest in Miss KOCY? Someone else?

The answer will never be known.

But, happily, I'm not bad at restoring and piecing together old photos ... can you detect any "damage" in the one that features Ms. Shipman? Of course you can't! :D A little research in the Oklahoman's archives completed her identification.

Just a little tidbit that's not in the book for OKC Talk Junkies! ;)

Doug Loudenback
09-30-2008, 07:40 PM
BOOK SIGNING DATE CHANGE: It has been moved forward one week from its original date (Thursday, October 30) to Thursday, October 23, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Doug Loudenback
10-09-2008, 09:37 AM
Just got my 1st real book review -- from the Gazette at Images of America: Springlake Amusement Park - Douglas Loudenback | OKG ( AHAAPQAxADIANwA0ADkA) and I'm feelin' (taking a clue from Sarah Palin) pretty excited now!

Aside from a couple of small mistakes (ads in the book weren't from the Oklahoman, they were from the Oklahoma News; and I didn't conclude that Springlake's swimming pool was converted into a sea aquarium "out of spite" I mentioned that as one of three possibilities), I would be hard pressed not to be very pleased with the review and Mr. Lott is completely correct I did miss a step and should have dug just a bit more to see if photographs were available of the 1981 arsonist's fire which caused $200,000 damage to the park and/or images showing its dismantling after the park was purchased by Metro Tech. If an opportunity exists to do that in later editions (should that event happily come to pass), I'll certainly see what I can find.

Doug Loudenback
10-19-2008, 07:12 AM
Doubtless, it is painfully difficult for many of you to wait for the Springlake book signing this Thursday, October 23, 6:30 - 8 pm at Full Circle Books!

So, for those who are not getting kids ready for school, or getting ready for work, or not reading the morning paper, or not cooking breakfast, or not having absolutely anything better to do, I will be on Talk Radio KOKC 1520 AM Tuesday, October 21, at 7:15 a.m on Randy Renner's Sunrise News show for about 10-15 minutes, promoting the book and the Full Circle event.

I have it on good authority that Joe the Plumber will be listening!:wink:

Doug Loudenback
10-22-2008, 02:30 PM
Ok, OK! Last call! Book-signing tomorrow at Full Circle! I hope to see and meet lots of OkcTalker's!

10-22-2008, 04:30 PM
Arggh - I can't believe I'm seeing this thread for the first time today!

I have fond memories of Springlake - we did our Senior class trip at Springlake in 1973. I'm not sure you could have put my anecdotes in the book and kept it a family publication. I was rather a wild child.

Doug - sorry I can't make it to the signing - it's past my bedtime. But I will buy the book.

(Sigh) - Can you ask Full Circle to put a branch in Midwest City? :bright_id

Doug Loudenback
10-23-2008, 10:55 PM
I want to thank the members of OkcTalk who attended the book-signing this evening ... conversation was great and I surely enjoyed myself as I hope did all. Here are a few pics ...

Cover girl Judi Kemler, a rider in the coaster pic on the book cover, and Norman Thompson who donated most of the photos used in the book

Steve Lackmeyer & other friends

My son & grandson, and grandaughter Sophia -- the book is dedicated to her

My daughter & cool son-in-law, with Sophia tugging on my ear, me feigning pain :)

And a close look at Sophia who may like my whiskers just a bit

Thanks again to OkcTalkers who attended the event. I enjoyed it a bunch and hope that all who attended did, also.