View Full Version : Long lost OKC legends, history and scandals

01-21-2005, 08:07 AM
I've enjoyed the walk down memory lane about Oklahoma City. Does anyone have any facts about lost Oklahoma City history and legend? I've heard stories of bars with hiding places, tunnels underneath the city used for gambling, that Nichols Hills once had a famous bordello before it was a town, etc. Scandalous in the old days! But finding actual true stories and information is a bit difficult. Anyone know about OKC's hidden, scandalous past?

01-21-2005, 12:26 PM
There is a professor at UCO who really knows the dirt of the area. Mr. Robertson, I think. He made history of Oklahoma a great, fun class. I'll try to dig up my old notes and memories.

01-21-2005, 02:20 PM
Thanks! I know there's a lot of intriguing stories out there. But it's difficult to get the facts separated from the "lore." The story about the County Line once housing illegal drinking and gambling and that the floors in the side rooms lowered into the floor when law enforcement authorities arrived seems to be true. I would love to know the real story, though! --- okcnative

01-21-2005, 02:52 PM
So would I. OKC has been pretty lively for a long time. I hope you'll post some, because I'd love to read them myself.

01-22-2005, 01:18 PM
There used to be a tunnel from the HiLo Club on Classen over to a former boarding
hotel at the Edna's bar location......was used by politicians and VIPs' to make secret connections
etc......saw an article in Vox about it with an interview by the current owner
and even photo of the entrance to the tunnel........I can tell you a totally factual
tale of an OKC funeral home doubling as a house of prostitution......but it's not
long actually was going on as late as 1990.....
The story of the Herschel kidnapping in Heritage Hills is an interesting weave.........
as is the ghost of Pucketts Wrecker Yard......

01-24-2005, 12:37 AM
Obviously, we all know the Haunted House is haunted. They've heard plates rattle and all sorts of weird things happen there.

01-24-2005, 12:38 AM
Well, this thread probably wasn't intended to be about haunted places, but here's some interesting observances. Many of these refer back to our history, and actual events that did occur.

This is from Belle Isle Station after the demolition of the power plant:

Belle Isle Station - The Belle Isle Station was demolished in 1999 to but in a shopping center there. But strange occurrences have begun there. The machinery has been acting up and moving by themselves, such as a crane, and power failures have happened. Sometimes at night you can see things in the form of a floating mist moving about. One day as I was going to Penn Square Mall, which is next to the shopping center, I felt a rush of cold air go right past me, but it was in the middle of August which would be about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even some of the construction workers complained about come things thinking its kids going there at night.

01-24-2005, 12:39 AM
County Line Barbeque Restaurant - The County Line barbeque restaurant is in a building once occupied by a Prohibition-era dance hall, gambling place and bordello. It was also a popular hangout for outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd who was originally from the Sallisaw area. Various employees have heard strange voices while working late at night, particularly up in the old bordello section, which is now used as attic storage space.

01-24-2005, 12:40 AM
Skirvin Hotel - Famous for its supposed entities of a former maid and her illegitimate daughter she killed herself and child by jumping out the window. Female guests have reported being unable to sleep due to the consistent cries of an infant. Many men have seen the apparition of a naked woman while showering. Several men have reported being "propositioned" by a female voice. One man even claimed he was sexually assaulted in the middle of night.

01-24-2005, 12:40 AM
Young America Corporation - Two employees committed suicide after being terminated, and it is said that you can feel cold spells of air pass by while walking through the lunch area, and also hearing loud noises, such as gunfire, late in the evening.

01-24-2005, 12:41 AM
Zoo - In the behind-the-scenes area of the Aquatics building, a ghost of a woman with long hair has been seen at various times, usually at night, by several different people. No one has any idea of who she is or where she came from, much less why she is there.

01-24-2005, 12:41 AM
Mount Saint Mary High School - There is a rumor that years ago a nun hung herself in the convent . Now some nights you can here her walking around upstairs, even though the convent has been closed for years

01-24-2005, 01:58 PM
County Line Barbeque Restaurant - The County Line barbeque restaurant is in a building once occupied by a Prohibition-era dance hall, gambling place and bordello. It was also a popular hangout for outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd who was originally from the Sallisaw area. Various employees have heard strange voices while working late at night, particularly up in the old bordello section, which is now used as attic storage space.

I think this is the place that my mother used to talk about. She was a longtime OKC resident, and remembered the Prohibition area.

It was a dance hall, gambling den, bordello - and much worse. Knifings and shootings were commonplace there. Police were afraid to go near it. It was reputed to be the toughest bar in Oklahoma. The hall was named for its owner - Salathiel, a real hardcase with numerous criminal connections.

It seems that Salathiel was finally imprisoned - for murder, I think, but it could have been for gambling and prostitution. While there, he heard that his wife was cheating on him. He used his connections to have his bar burned down - with his wife inside.

His son, seeking a career in country music, changed his name so as to distance himself from his father. But he finally confessed his real name, and apologized for his father's actions.

Michele Kerby

01-24-2005, 02:07 PM
Hey Michele Kerby, thanks for the input, sharing this story with us from our history! Also, we welcome you to OKC Talk!

01-25-2005, 06:57 PM
Speaking of hauntings, a ghost in a funeral parlor is

The Ben V Hunter Funeral home in Capitol Hill has been
rumored to have the ghost of the longtime manager
who ran it from the 40's up thru the 70' is
said that he died at his desk and still roams the halls
checking on things, just as he did all those years........
I think his name was Sam S?.......

Many former employees who worked at the funeral
home during the years in which someone was there
24/7....reported hearing night..for the people
who worked there for many many years, it was
just common knowledge.....almost a novelty.
There is a picture of the
guy hanging somewhere in the facility.....I haven't
been in there in a decade or more.....but there are
a LOT of people who say they've seen or heard the


02-19-2005, 08:58 PM
I happened tyo hear this legend on New 9 awhile ago. Thought it would be a good topic to add to this thread:

"Urban Legend being told in metro

By Scott Coppenbarger
News 9

Have you ever heard of a story and thought that just can't be real. Or is it???

We find ourselves in that situation everyday, but a weird one came in this week that made us wonder. We sent Scott Coppenbarger to check it out.

With every swipe of the scissors it seems a story is being told.

They're funny, and sad, but some like the one being told at Perryman's on Western plays off our fear.

It's sending chills up and down the spines of customers and it's so hard to believe, we had to get to the bottom of it.

A family in Edmond decided to go out for dinner without the kids.

So they hired a baby-sitter to watch their two children.

Like all good parents, they called back to the house to check on the kids.

Apparently the clown statue was giving the baby-sitter the creeps, and for good reason the family didn't have a clown statue.

The baby-sitter grabbed the kids and got out safely.

When police went into the house to check it out they found the clown. Turns out it was a mentally ill midget, dressed as a clown just sitting stiff as a statue in the corner of the families living room.

If you find it hard to believe, you're not the only one.

So if you hear the story of the clown statue or any other hard to believe tale you may want to think twice before you believe it or pass it along unless of course, you enjoy spreading legends!

We've linked one of the most popular internet Urban Legend websites to ours for more "good stories" look under the link section."

02-19-2005, 09:06 PM
Great thread! I think the most fascinating thing I have ever heard about Oklahoma City is the "lost underground Chinese city." It is said to be under a good part of downtown stretching, at places, all the way up to what is now known as NW 13th street. I heard a radio interview with someone (maybe this Robertson?) who was researching the whole thing for a book-length project. It's wasn't a small deal either, I mean a real underground city with shops, roads, and the whole shebang. The interview was absolutely fascinating. I had heard about it for years, but listening to this man describe the size of the whole thing was breathtaking. I have always wondered why it has never received the attention that something like that surely deserves. Anybody know more about this?
On Edit: If memory serves me right, I am thinking he said a production company associated with the History Channel was using some of his his research for a documentary. I would love to know more!

02-20-2005, 07:04 PM
I'd heard that many of them were unearthed (or perhaps collapsed) during the urban-renewal days of the 1960s and 1970s, although if they extended as far as 13th, surely some of them ought to be intact even today.

02-20-2005, 08:49 PM
These are some interesting stories.

This website aslo has some interesting ghost stories in oklahoma. They have an ongoing research on an abandoned hospital with live web cam feeds. It's kinda spooky.

07-05-2005, 09:49 AM
Great thread! I think the most fascinating thing I have ever heard about Oklahoma City is the "lost underground Chinese city." It is said to be under a good part of downtown stretching, at places, all the way up to what is now known as NW 13th street.!

The underground Chinese City was under what is now the Cox Convention Center. I'm researching more about it, but it wasn't nearly as large as people say.

Below is a clip from a file I have:

buildings in downtown. About 200 Chinese rented
the basement, working there during the day and
living there in the nights. Having worried about the
inspection and over-crowded condition, the Chinese
residents opened up the walls and connected
the basements in case of an immigration raid or
other emergency situation. They dug channels
between the buildings and cross the streets, develOral
oping a subterranean network. This underground
structure extended to three blocks. From the later 1900s
to 1920s, OKC had a Chinese settlement existing
“underground” between Sheridan, California, and Reno
Avenues. The OKC Chinese had a unique experience
which had transformed them in a different way.

07-05-2005, 10:39 AM
Thanks for the responses. I'm still looking for lots of information. It's difficult tracking down the truth on these items, but we're getting there. I'll let you know if I get more information about any of these long-lost legends.

All the responses have been great! Keep them coming!


07-05-2005, 11:39 AM
The "midget clown" is an urban legend that has been de-bunked by

Doug Loudenback
07-05-2005, 02:40 PM
About the old underground Chintatown, there are a few links in my 1920s vintage pages, here:, but I'll quote the main part which includes the links:

For more, see this fascinating article on the Chinese Underground and Oklahoma City resident Willie Hong written by Larry Johnson at the Okc Metropolitan Library System. (Once there, you may need to click your refresh button for the target page to load.)

Also, Xiaobing Li, professor of history and associate director of the Western Pacific Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma, and who served in the People's Liberation Army in China, has written on the topic. He presented his paper, Buried Memories: Underground Chinatown in Oklahoma City,1900-1920, at the 2004 Annual Conference of the Western History Association and another, Chinese Immigrants' Experience in Oklahoma City, 1900-20, at the 2003 meeting of the American Historical Association. According to the Newsletter of Chinese Historians in the United States, Inc. (Spring 2003)

LI Xiaobing (University of Central Oklahoma)'s study of the Chinese experience in Oklahoma and Ling Z. ARENSON (DePaul University)'s study on the Chinese communities in Chicago constitute departures from the much studied major Chinese settlements on the East and West Coasts. LI Xiaobing discusses the "underground Chinatown" in Oklahoma City. This Chinese community, discovered in 1969, was under five Chinese business shops in the downtown area. It was said to be about a mile long, covering two blocks. About 100 to 150 Chinese lived in the basements in this underground Chinese community between 1900 and 1930. By discussing this little known Chinese experience in Oklahoma, Li has argued that although the labor shortage, coupled with a lower level of prejudice and racial discrimination in Oklahoma, especially in the Indian Territory, drew a small number of Chinese from the West Coast as early as the 1880s, this Oklahoma advantage had its limitations. As early as 1890s, constrained by the limited possibility of economic advancement in the Indian Territory, more and more Chinese moved to Oklahoma City, where they lived in basements under Chinese stores and engaged in service occupations, primarily hand laundries and restaurants, as did their counterparts elsewhere. Some of them were believed to have died and were buried there, near where they had lived. Both metaphorically and factually, this underground world was powerful evidence of the wide spread hostility against Chinese during the Exclusion era. Li's study has surely added a new regional and spatial dimension to our understanding of the drudgery and hardship Chinese immigrants had to undergo during the Exclusion era (1882-1943).

What would REALLY be great would be even a single image ... but it seems as though that will not be happening. Maybe some descendants of those who lived there would have them, but ... seems like a lost cause, in that regard.


07-05-2005, 03:23 PM
What would REALLY be great would be even a single image ... but it seems as though that will not be happening. Maybe some descendants of those who lived there would have them, but ... seems like a lost cause, in that regard.


I managed to contact Dr. Xiao-Bing Li.

He (she?) sent me the following in response:

Thank you for your e-mail. I am glad to know that you are interested in the
history of the underground Chinese city. I have been doing a history
research on this topic for years. I'd like to share some information with
you. The best place to start a search is the database of Daily Oklahoman.
They have several articles about this topic on April 9-19, 1969.

Good luck on your research.

Bing Li<end letter>

------------Thing is, they want $8.95 just for ONE day access to those archives.



07-05-2005, 03:29 PM
That's an awesome start for research! What an interesting story.

07-05-2005, 03:46 PM
Dr. Xiao-Bing Li just took my regular mail address. He will be sending me some article on it. I just happen to own a domain, (bricktown-dot-biz) and since no rich OKie wants to buy it from me, I might as well use it for stuff like this, eh?



Doug Loudenback
07-05-2005, 04:32 PM
Great news, Sojourner7!

I can't wait to see the article. If it will have a permanent (so to speak) web home, I'd love to link to it.


Edited P.S. By the way, if you DO get the Daily Oklahoman's stuff, be warned that they are very jealous of their copyright. When I wanted to add some of their pics of the downtown Civil Rights activities, 1958-1961, by using some of thier pics at the Oklahoman's website (I'd post the link, but the one I had is now broken and I've not yet located a replacement), including Charlton Heston in a 1961 downtown march, sit-ins at Anna Maudes, etc.), the Oklahoman declined my request. Actually, although I'd not wanted to "buy" anything, but just requested permission to copy/use, the Oklahoman's reply to my request was that, since my website was considered "commercial", it declined to "sell" me the pics!

Certainly, like 'em or not, the Gaylord family has done much for Okc. But, being magnanamous beyond their own perception of what that term generally means, no, I don't think so.

Dungeon Master
07-06-2005, 09:59 AM
The Legend of the Bricktown Dungeon

As most know, the Oklahoma territory began with the land rush of 1889 with more than 10,000 people settling in and around what is now Oklahoma City. But, some people lived in Oklahoma before that, despite the orders of President Benjamin Harrison forbidding white settlement in the territory. While most were basically law abiding citizens, some were robbers and worse. A few of the stories of those evil people are well known today, but some remained secret and went to the grave with those that lived their evil ways, or did they?

Later in the early 1900s as Oklahoma City was growing, buildings were constructed along the river in what is now the Bricktown area. As ground was broken for a three story warehouse, the foundation of a previous building was discovered- nothing surprising, it happened occasionally. Since building codes were practically non-existent in those days, they simply constructed the new building over the old foundation and moved on to other projects and was forgotten until the Bricktown Canal project broke ground in the area several years ago. What was discovered was so horrifying that the city officials tried to suppress it, but something like this couldn’t remain a secret…at least not a SECOND time!
At first, it was just a small hole in the wall of what was a basement, just large enough to reveal that the basement seemed to be intact after more than a hundred years. Worried about the safety of the restaurants and businesses now occupying the former warehouses above, safety officials soon ordered a complete excavation of the foundation. What they found shocked them.
At first it was a bone or two. Human? They weren’t sure. Some swore they heard the faint echo of screams and the smell of death for an instant as they entered the dark, dank cellar. Some refused to enter. Rumor has it that one worker may not have come back out of the cellar at all.
The more they investigated, the more the discovery became increasing gruesome. Skeletons and grisly, antiquated torture devices were found- dusty, but still serving their purposes after more than a century. What WAS this place? It was quickly concluded that it was a dungeon of sorts, but why? Would they ever know?
Amazingly, a small “treasure chest” revealed the secret to this horrifying place- the “dungeon master” kept meticulous records of his “methods”.

The story of the ”Dungeon” goes back to the early 1800s when it was built underground by a quiet, early settler of the area. The man would search the west for “sinners” who violated his religious belief with the help of his fellow “believers”. If you were thought to be a witch or a thief, you would be forced to see the “Dungeon Master.”
Muffled screams could be heard and the faint odor of death gave passing travelers a reason not to linger in the vicinity and convinced them not to speak of what they noticed for fear of being the next “guest”.
This occurred for many years until the dungeon became silent upon the mysterious death of the dungeon master.
The Dungeon Master’s only son, Luke, buried the dungeon hoping to extinguish the sounds & smells that seemed to linger long after tortures had ceased in the wake of his fathers’ death. Years later Luke died of an unknown illness, taking the knowledge of his father’s dungeon with him to his grave. Sealed and preserved like an ancient tomb, the dungeon was hidden for 129 years.
A few superstitious city officials feared that the discovery of the records and the bones supposed to be that of the Dungeon Master could somehow bring back the spirit of the Dungeon Master. Everything was gathered up and sealed once again in a secret location, but recently the vault was discovered to be empty!

We don’t know what happened to the bones and files, but we do know that a new tenant recently thumbed his nose at the “curse” and reopened the Dungeon (now titled "The Dungeon Haunted Ride in 3D). Once a terrorizing punishment to the sinners of time, the Dungeon was the most feared place for offenders- Now it’s the most feared place for visitors. The Dungeon is a ride-through tour, taking curious visitors back in time, but some visitors have reported the sickening odors and eerie screams. Could the curse of the Dungeon Master and the missing records & bones be the cause for the mysterious occurrences observed in the dungeon? Do you dare to adventure through the darkness in search of, the screams & the scent of death? If you choose to do so, beware. The spirits gain strength from the fear of each visitor as they try to wreak havoc on their souls!

One more thing to ask yourself, could the current tenant be the new Dungeon Master?

07-06-2005, 12:48 PM
Do you have any sources for all of this? This is obviously VERY interesting, but I must admit it sounds a bit bizarre.

I wouldn't mind putting that on my site either LOL


The Legend of the Bricktown Dungeon
A few of the stories of those evil people are well known today, but some remained secret and went to the grave with those that lived their evil ways, or did they?

One more thing to ask yourself, could the current tenant be the new Dungeon Master?

Dungeon Master
07-06-2005, 07:18 PM
How can it sound bizarre? It's all from an era way before our time where torture was the way of life (for some).
There are all kinds of secrets still hidden in the OKC area. You won't find them until you dig.
Especially the story of bones and files missing again and any officials keeping it a low profile. Some of those individuals may be resting in peace knowing everything in question.
It's all a mystery. Or is it?

Dungeon Master

07-06-2005, 08:20 PM
It sound bizarre in the fact that such a thing is not on the news. I would hardly think that something like that would 'hurt' business in Bricktown. It would nore likely draw droves of people from all over the world!

Again, is there any sources on this story htat you know of and where did you hear of it?



Dungeon Master
07-07-2005, 05:40 AM
My guess would be, the reason for keeping it quiet is the missing articles are still under investigation for curses and such. I'm guessing the files that were found are so unfamiliar and so very strange that it has them baffled as well. Kinda like the Roswell UFO thing. It's just a matter of time before the word gets out. That's my guess.
How would it be if Merlin's diary and his secrets were found?

07-07-2005, 08:47 AM
sounds like an "ad" to get people to go ride his ride... but i could be wrong..

07-07-2005, 03:18 PM
sounds like an "ad" to get people to go ride his ride... but i could be wrong..


Let's see what he can come up with first. If it is for his ride either way, (I didn't know there WAS one) then, certainly this would be of great benefit to him/her to find out more about this.!


Doug Loudenback
07-07-2005, 04:10 PM

Any progress report on Dr. Xiao-Bing Li 's article?


07-07-2005, 04:29 PM
It should be coming in the mail any day now!


Doug Loudenback
07-16-2005, 09:27 PM

any news about your 7/7/05 post?

I'm anxious to hear.

07-17-2005, 05:30 AM
Thanks for the 'reminder'. I have some information, but my life has been so busy lately I haven't had the time to sit down and even think LOL.

I will share what i know later this week.

Thanks for you patience.


07-17-2005, 10:09 AM
Surely one of you contributors has the skill and time to write a comprehensive book on this subject. As a new transplant to OKC, I am very curious about the history of the area. It sounds as if there is plenty of juicy history, some fact, some legend. As long as there is a clear distinction between the two they could both be used. Any takers?


Doug Loudenback
07-17-2005, 01:28 PM
Well, I don't know enough to write more than a few paragraphs, though I'm anxious to learn more!

As to the downtown Chinatown underground, the Downtown Guy seems to be interested ... see and the image referenced in that post,,