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Thread: Oklahoma City Memories

  1. Default Oklahoma City Memories

    I'll be 26 in September. I was born at Edmond Memorial Hospital in 1978, and my first home was right across the street from the hospital (now Edmond Regional Medical Center). My earliest memories of Oklahoma City go back to when Quail Springs Mall first opened in 1980. My mom bought me the General Lee matchbox car from Kay Bee Toys. To a toddler, Quail Springs was freakin huge! Today, I can traverse the mall in less than five minutes.

    I remember when I-44 was being widened between Broadway Extension and I-35 to six lanes in 1984, and the construction of Remington Park Racetrack in the late 1980's. I watched the construction crane raise steel beams for 'The Tower', then the Bank IV Tower back in 1983. I remember the oil bust, and the effect it had on many people in the late 1980's, and I can still see that damn piggy bank icon that once graced the facade of 50 Penn Place, once known as the powerful Penn Square Bank.

    But I also have these fond memories of Oklahoma City... popping fireworks in the empty streets of abandoned housing developments back in 1989. My cousin and I walked a hundred yards out on the dry bed of Lake Hefner in 1990 while construction continued on the Lake Hefner Parkway. Hell, I remember camping where the freeway now sits! I met Mayor Ron Norick in person during an NHL rally held at the Myriad 8 years ago. I watched the Oklahoma City 89ers bat it out at All Sports Stadium. I took a tour of Summit Middle School in Edmond in 1988 before I was supposed to go there for 5th grade. I watched a cover band play YMCA after an Oklahoma City Cavalry game. I met Mr. Roloff, the architect who designed Leadership Square and originally designed it as a single 60 story glass tower. I saw the renderings. He was my grandmother's neighbor.

    I was there to see the Belle Isle Power Plant come tumbling down. I was freezing, and laughed MAO watching the OHP chase parked cars off the Belle Isle Bridge, shouting over their loud speakers "Okay people, let's move it! Let's go!" But more than anything... and this may be cheesy, but my most fond memory of Oklahoma City was riding my first roller coaster at Frontier City- the Orange Blossom- before they moved it indoors and called it the Nightmare.

    Any interesting historic memories of Oklahoma City?

  2. #2
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Hmmmmm. What a wonderful thread!

    Let's see. Where should I start?

    I'll be 24 in August, so I remember much of what you said. I was born at Deaconess Hospital. Back in 1980 the hospital was 4 floors and much smaller than today. I think the hospital has two wings......west and north.

    Here are some additional memories:

    I remember as a young child, looking off the Belle Isle Bridge (I-44) and seeing Belle Isle Lake below. I sure miss that lake....it was a lot nicer than the strip mall that's there now.....sure wish it would've been left! Would've made a nice city park!

    I remember anything north of Northpark Pall being mostly farmland. Quail Springs, when it was built, was kind of out there, as was Mercy. Now they seem to be right in the middle of newly developing residential and commercial areas.
    Funny thing, but my dad can remember the same about Penn Square when he was a kid...he said Penn Square and Belle Isle Power plant were on the outskirts of town. Nichols Hills was by itself, as was the Village.

    I remember when the Myriad Gardens was being developed, shortly after the demolition of the 24 story Biltmore Hotel. I remember us school kids getting together to raise money to complete the Crystal Bridge. Actually, the city had funds for the building itself, just no money for plants. Originally the Crystal Bridge was supposed to be two cylinders....one with tropical plants and one with desert plants, but the city had to scale back the original plans due to finances.

    I remember when members of the Lakehurst addition faught the city tooth andnail to try to prevent the Lake Hefner Parkway from being built.....I don't blame them because the lake used to come up close to their back doors, and a lot of wetlands were destroyed when the highway was put through, but I couldn't imagine May Ave. today if the Parkway hadn't been built.

    I remember when Builder's Square was built at NW 36th and May Ave. This was before the days of home improvement mega stores, and this store, owned by K-Mart, was a first!

    I remember when Shepherd Mall was booming! It was such a large mall that it had 2 J's Hallmark stores! Anyone remember the Pet Store at Shepherd Mall! I loved hanging around in there!!! Anyone remember Stones Grocery Store? Sometimes I miss old Shepherd Mall. It had 3 anchor stores, JC Penney, Dillards, and TG&Y.

    I remember Penn Square adding on a second level and adding two department stores making the present day mall. That was 1986-1988.

    I remember back when Crossroads was a destination. I'll let floater describe this one. He should put a nice spin on it!

    Remember Lynn Hickey Dodge? I'll never forget Tom Park and them shooting commercials from a crane in the sky. And them blowing up Ford and Chevy pickups!

    I remember when Lake Arcadia was first built! It started out as a hole in the mud, and still pretty much is one to this day.

    I still remember the old Cowboy Hall of Fame....it's still under there somewhere!!! Remember when the western town used to be in the basement along with the John Wayne memorbilia? And the End of the Trail Statue was in that separate building where the children's area is now.

    Anyone remember going to Enterprise Square USA as a kid. Can't forget the doughnut factory!!! That place isn't even there any longer!

    I remember when the State Fair was actually an annual event worth going to!!! Had to throw that one it! Remember when the International building was first built? I thought it was a unique building! And it still is!

    I remember watching Steve Balboni hit homerums for the 89ers.......one homerun helped the 89ers stay alive in the playoffs and go on to win the American Association championship.

    I remember when the Blazers had to play at State Fair Arena, because the Cavs had first dibs on the Myriad! Actually the Blazers drew a larger crowd!

    I'm sure I can think of more....I'll add more later.

  3. #3
    Joe Schmoe Guest

    Talking Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I just read a fun site by a guy in California that grew up at about the same time I did, so I've been thinking about this... May I indulge?

    Let's go into the wayback machine to a time when your impressions are of black & white but my memories are in full color.

    I remember when Edmond had one stoplight at second & boulevard. I have friends who were born in the clinic above the movie theater (I think it's now Grafield's) in Downtown. We used to go to the Broncho Theatre on Saturdays for 25 cent movies! You could watch the nurse upstairs through a hole in the bathroom.

    I remember when the Broadway extension was a two lane blacktop.

    Further back, I remember watching 3D Danny & later, Forman Scotty & Superman after I walked home from school each day. I remember carhops at the Sonic wearing rollerskates. I remember getting expelled from school because my hair was over my ears & touching my collar! That averted social chaos I'm sure.

    I remember making hotrod models by Big Daddy Ed Roth, popping wheelies on my cool bicycle while listening to Jan & Dean, it had a banana seat & wicked sissybar. My dad & mom listening to Jerry Lee Louis. My uncle David had a basement full of Playboys & lots of Ray Charles records, I spent many hours there every summer. He was my cool uncle.

    The animated neon pig eating hamburgers at Hollies drive-in where the McDonalds is at first & Classen now. Driving a large delivery truck around the Classen Circle in rush hour traffic. Mom buying me blue jeans at CR Anthony's & reminding me to buy 'em big so "they'll have room to shrink."

    Racing slot cars & making Aurora models of Frankenstein, The Phantom & Superman. Reading Prince Valiant on Sundays & marveling at Hal Foster's mastery of ink & anatomy.

    Watching Connway Twitty & Roy Orbison at Springlake.

    Riding the Tornado at Wedgewood.

    Heckle & Jeckle

    Mighty Mouse,
    Captain Kangaroo,
    Woody Woodpecker,
    playing "Army"
    Monkeymen machine guns & land mines,
    Johnny Rebel
    Rodan & Godzilla late at night with Count Gregor,
    The summer that comic books went up to 12 cents!
    Far-out, Bitchin', Boss, Outasight, Cool, Right on!
    The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix,
    Bridget Bardot,
    The first time I watched a guy play bottleneck slide,
    The Draft & the lottery.
    Getting caught in a street riot when they caught people "recycling" tickets for Jethro Tull
    Sophia Loren
    Montey Python
    After that the memories get too sordid for this forum...

  4. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Like Joe, I remember Forman Scotty, but also Ho Ho the clown, Miss Fran from storyland, and, unfortunatly, Danny Williams' talk show and saturday night wresteling ("watch out for flying chairs).

    Also, drive in movie theaters out the (well, you know). Sooner Twin, Hillcrest, Twilight, Winchester (still in business), Rivera, Fourteen Flags. Never liked them, but I remember them. Plus, yes, Wedgewood and Springlake.

    Also, being the "mascot" at the TG&Y at what is now I-240 and Pennsylvania. I even saw my first celebrity there... Buck Owens. He played the grand opening in the early 60's.

    Penn Square as a shopping arcade and not a mall. Also, A&W drive in, plus skateorama, and Golf Acres.

    The Mathis Brothers Show (we got them far blazin' prawces at Mathis Brothers fur-nit-ure), Jude n' Jody show and Evans Furniture show. The Mathis' showcased a lot of people who are now world famous. Buck Owens, Charlie Pride and others. I even remember living down the street a bit from Conway Twitty.

    I even remember the houses across Pennsylvania from me being fields. My school opened in 1963. I remember that first day.

    I wish a lot of those still existed as well as the simplicity of the times. People trusted people more, they were nicer, and kids respected their elders.

    Well, those were the days...

  5. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    This was indeed a great thread to start.

    My first impression of Oklahoma was a vision, really. When my dad said we were moving to Oklahoma (we were living in Cleveland at the time) when I was seven, I thought we might see Bobby and JR Ewing hacking wheat. Seriously. This was 1980.

    I remember the first time we went downtown. What is now the Westin, I saw as the Sheraton. The four of us, nicely dressed, took pictures in Kerr Park. We still have those pictures. Back then, what made me know I was downtown was the smell of freshly baked bread from the Wonder bakery.

    It's amazing I'm such an unabashed urbanist now, because I have few memories of downtown until my last years of high school. As far as I was concerned, downtown was nonexistent and a place you only went to for events at the Myriad Convention Center.

    One memory of downtown at that time was a group of us performing a native Filipino folk dance for Opening Night at Leadership Square. It was then, and still is, a slick skyscraper. The other memory was my high school band performing at the Myriad (the Westmoore band was honored as the best concert band in the state). We celebrated by dining at this new restaurant called Spaghetti Warehouse.

    Since others have brought it up, the first figures I remember were Linda Soundtrack and the Trusthouse Jewelers couple. Bella Shaw was a correspondent for KTVY (whatever the call letters were before KFOR). Roger Cooper and Patti Saurez were at KWTV, and Channel 5 was known as 5 Alive.

    Patrick must remember my previous posts about Crossroads. When I was in high school, it was THE place to be. All the cool kids had jobs there -- J. Riggings, Chess King. I actually took piano lessons there, when it hosted an organ shop. Before Foleys was SangerHarris. It was still fairly busy when I worked in JC Penney's Mens department as an undergrad.

    Well, MAPS and my travels to other cities changed everything. The only remarkable event before MAPS was OK 89, the hosting of the U.S. Olympic Festival. It was fantastic, topped off by an awesome Closing Ceremonies on Owen Field. Ray Charles and Roy Clark performed. The former was his legendary self, but the latter really impressed me. The man could manipulate the guitar!!

    MAPS got me thinking about OKC. The proudest I have ever been of OKC was the opening of the Bricktown canal. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been living in Arkansas when I first joined Patrick and his merry men we called The Renaissance Group on the Oklahoman MAPS forum. I was frustrated that by the time I left, only the ballpark was in construction.

    By the time I returned, the canal was a ditch. A couple of months later, after work at night, I hurriedly drove downtown to catch the opening. As I approached what had been California, I couldn't believe my eyes. Water taxis floating. Night lights. And the crowds, on different balcony levels. I didn't remember smiling so widely since I got my drivers license!!!
    Continue the Renaissance

  6. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I wish I could still edit my last post. I forgot the Buck Owens show which was taped at then WKY-TV and syndicated nationally.

    Plus the business of yesteryear. CR Anthony, my local pool hall, Gerald's donuts, Carnation ice cream, the Jolly Rancher ice cream guy, Knob Hill, Yale and Redskin theaters (later were Oklahoma Opry, a latino theater and a skin flick theater respectfully). Plus giving the 7-11 guy down the street notes I said were from my dad so he would sell me Playboy. And my first job... TG&Y (thanks to the late Gerrell Johnson).

    Also when Oklahoma City was THE springboard to the networks for television reporters and anchors. Lola Hall at KWTV, viva la Weba at KOMA, and a lot more.

  7. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I also recall some other great childhood memories of Oklahoma City. I do remember TG&Y. The store manager always gave me a piece of butterscotch candy after we checked out. They also had the coolest toy section.

    However, you are definitely an Oklahoma Cityan if...

    - You remember word for word the lyrics of the Tall Paul commercial and the telephone number... 524-1541

    - You know the address of Mathis Brothers Furniture... 3434 W. Reno

    - You know the history of the milk bottle building

    - You know the unofficial Oklahoma Christmas Carol, the BC Clark Anniversary sale song

    - Your biggest family fued involves OU and OSU sports

    - You know how many times a year the city used to mow the river before its transformation... three times a year

    - You know who the five most recognized music and movie stars from the Oklahoma City Metro... Color Me Badd, Flaming Lips, James Garner, Toby Keith and Vince Gill

    - You've been at least once to one of Gary England's events- "Those Terrible Twisters"

    - You know that Oklahoma City was born a city and stayed a city

    - You remember Linda Soundtrak

    - You can point out every movie flop in the motion picture film, 'Twister'.

    And finally, you are definitely an Oklahoma Cityan if-

    - You're the only one in the car that knows you're getting close to Oklahoma City by seeing the large cluster of TV towers on the horizon after dark and you tell your fellow passengers, "Well, we're about there," and they don't have a clue how you know that other than guessing you read a highway sign.

    Continue the Renaissance!!!

  8. #8
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Hey Joe........I know the building you're referring to in downtown Edmond. It's actually now Othellos Italian Restaurant! Went there just a few months ago in fact! It's pretty cool to go in there, and try to imagine how the place used to be as a theater and a hospital!

    Boy, hasn't Edmond grown!

    Just look at the growth of UCO, or should we say Central State College....or how about Oklahoma Territorial Normal School!!! That campus has expanded into a mini OU!

    Last I heard, they're up to 15,000 in enrollment and looking at possibly getting NCAA I status!

    Yup, I remember the Tall Paul Commercial! You could forget that one? Don't see that commercial anymore. I'm guessing they're still around....Paul Meade Insurance that is!

    Yup okcpulse, I've definitely had to explain the TV tower story before....especially coming to OKC via Tulsa! On I-44, it's like you're out in the middle of nowhere, you start to see those TV towers, and all of a sudden you say, well, we're home! And people in your car from out of town are like.....huh??? We're out in the middle of nowhere!

    Mr. Anderson, you have any idea what the Red Skin theater is now? Does it house the OKlahoma Opry, or are they located somewhere else? I haven't been down there in awhile!

    floater, I definitely remember that new restaurant Spaghetti Wharehouse! I remember the 1st July 4th event they had down there. The first time I heard them say Bricktown on the news, I was like...what? Is there another town called Bricktown? By dad told me how it was an old warehouse district that a new restaurant had moved into! We went to the 1st July 4th festival! Wasn't much back then!

    I remember when Spaghetti Warehouse and Bricktown Brewery were the only two restaurants down there! I was like 12 or 13 and in middle school! Then came Chelinos!

    Anyways, thanks for the description of Crossroads. I knew you'd do a far better job than I would've. I still wish they had the fountains and ponds in the concourses. Although the carousel is okay, it made me sad to see them removed the last center fountain/pool in center court!

    You sound like me in regards to the Bricktown canal! We went down there the 1st July 4th it opened, and I was extremely impressed. I couldn't believe how nice it looked.....even with only one restaurant open on that opening weekend, it looked fabulous! I must say, it looks far better today than it did then, but I was still impressed and definitely saw the potential! Seeing the movie theater beig built today, and all of the other buildings being built in Lowr Bricktown, I must say, Bricktown has made OKC what it is today! I know Jim Brewer gets a lot of criticism at times for trying to make a killing off of the properties he owns down there, but you have to hand it to the guy! Without his vision, it all wouldn't be there today! He and a few others are the ones that sold the idea to Spaghetti Warehouse and the owners of Bricktown Brewery! That's what got the ball rolling!

  9. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Here here, Patrick, about Mr. Brewer.

    I, too, felt somewhat the same way, when I went back in December. Lower Bricktown is coming into its own!
    Continue the Renaissance

  10. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I also remember the cursive "kwtv 9" logo back in the 1980's. Every news anchor from what was newsline 9 is gone... except for Gary England.

    mranderson, those personalities are before my time, but I have read about them, and the roles they had in our community.

    I'll never forget some of the more impressionable names on local television... Uze Brown Washington (KFOR-TV 4), Jerry Bonds (KOCO-TV 5) and many others whose faces graced our TV sets for five or so years at 5, 6 and 10PM.

  11. #11
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    "The Strength of Oklahoma, 4- Strong!!!"

    "The Spirit of Oklahoma, The Spirit of Oklahoma, T...V....9"

    Anyone remember those songs?

  12. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Yeah. Speaking of commericials, one those I remember was of Jim Varney's Ernest character doing one for Channel 4, that had him speaking of Linda Cavanaugh, Jane Jayroe, and Jerry Adams. He was the pitchman for Braum's at the time, too...
    Continue the Renaissance

  13. #13
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Yeah, wasn't that where Jim Varney got his start....Braum's commercials?

  14. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I'm not sure, but that was the first time I saw him...
    Continue the Renaissance

  15. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    The Redskin may be an empty lot now. The Oklahoma Opry is in the old Knob Hill theater, and the Yale is a junk pile. I guess I miswrote. The later use was in the order of the theater. Yale-Latino, Knob-Oklahoma Opry, Redskin-skin flick.

    Here is an Oklahoma City trivia question for you. Who sung the Sprit of Oklahoma theme song for KWTV?

  16. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Quote Originally Posted by mranderson

    Here is an Oklahoma City trivia question for you. Who sung the Sprit of Oklahoma theme song for KWTV?
    Oh oh, I saw the commercial of the lady singing it in a studio...but it passes me...
    Continue the Renaissance

  17. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    That's an easy one... Toby Keith

    Continue the Renaissance!!!

  18. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Okpulse: No. Keep guessing. A hint. It is an Oklahoman, however.

  19. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Reba McEntire
    Continue the Renaissance

  20. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Floater wins the prize. Yes. It was that nice looking hick redhead from Stringtown. Reba McEntire.

  21. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Wow! I completely forgot about Reba McEntire's Spirit of Oklahoma song! Toby Keith's 1993 gig is the only one I could remember. Of course, there was about a five year stretch when my family watched nothing but Channel 4 news. Before that, they always watched 5 Alive back in the 1980s. Speaking of 5 Alive, you can catch a quick two-second glimpse of 5 Alive's old logo in the motion picture "Rain Man" when Dustin Hoffman's character 'Raymond' threw a fit on the front porch of an Oklahoma household when he was about to miss People's Court. The camera took a brief shot of the lady's TV set, showing the 5 Alive logo. In addition, while Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman were in Guthrie looking for a psychologist, Hoffman stops right in the middle of the street when the sign said "DONT WALK", I noticed the old Oklahoma Inspection Sticker on the windshield of a pick-up truck that belonged to an irate driver. It's wierd... that was ages ago... seventeen years! Well, I guess you can't beat the clock!

  22. Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I guess we got each other. I was out of state in 1993, and had no idea who Toby Keith was, let alone that he had been singing a television jingle.

  23. #23
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    Back to Oklahoma Memories....I remember back when I was a kiddo and there was a grass median (not Kilpatrick turnpike) in the middle of Memorial Road! I sometimes miss that median!

    I also remember when Northwest Expressway was only 4 lanes! I notice they're repaving much of the 6 lanes that was poured some 10 years ago! Anyone think they'll ever replace the May Avenue bridge.....it's aging!

    My parents told the other day that where Shepherd Mall now sits used to be the old Shepherd Farm....it had a few lakes on it....wish I could've seen it!

  24. #24
    TulsaTV Guest

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I just added a picture of Ho Ho to the comments of Mike and Patricia Birchall in Guestbook 110 (see What's New page for the link, and see my profile for the link to my web site, Tulsa TV Memories.)

  25. #25

    Default Re: Oklahoma City Memories

    I was born in 1979. Like many have said here, some truly great things have happened in our city in my memory. I remember when I was in Cub Scouts, my father (a former Oklahoma County Judge) took me down to the Court House. Another current judge gave me a tour of the then jail which was housed on the top floors of the courthouse -- hard to imagine it was ever that small.

    When he was a Judge (there were certain days when I had to 'entertain' myself in his offices. I remember visiting the concourse. That place at the lunch hour was more busy than any shopping mall I've ever been in. I remember how cool and futuristic I thought the carpet and paint were (now old, ugly and held together with duct tape).

    I recall visiting Martin Nature Park quite a few times -- back when the owl (which I believe is now stuffed and in an office) was still alive. I watched them feed it a couple of times.

    I recall a time, not too long ago when the area around Quail Springs Mall was basically rural.

    I remember when Edmond was just a small town of maybe 20,000 or so people. Our addition out there was definitely in the middle of nowhere. Across the street were fields with cows in them. Now, it's all big houses and subdivisions.

    I started taking private lessons (violin) at UCO around 1991-1992. I graduated with my BA there in '03. Amazing how much that school has grown. It went from near-Rose State status to being the state's 3rd largest school (and highly underfunded) boasting an enrollment of around 16,000 students. I doubt that 10 years ago they even had half that many students.

    Anyone remember going to the Myriad and watching the Blazers play there? How about the Cavalry (basketball team)?

    Bricktown has been a long-time coming, but well worth the wait. I don't think I actually realized how great it was going to be until I attended the 2000 New Years Eve party at the Petroleum Club on the top floors of the Bank One building. I watched the fireworks and the crowd below me. Was an incredible sight. Not even the Sooners losing to Southern Miss in the Independance Bowl could spoil it for me.

    Since then, I've chosen to relocate to the downtown area so I can be closer to all of these things. It's wonderful seeing project after project turn out to be successful. I think that businesses are noticing. I think that our state's two big cities are setting themselves up very well for future growth.
    Last edited by Keith; 12-20-2004 at 01:32 PM.

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