Wednesday, August 27, 2008

History can be fun

This will probably be my last post until after the weekend, since I'll be working in Afton Fri., Sat., and Sun., and in fact I'm staying up there Fri. night at my favorite motel, the Chelsea Motor Inn.  I'll come home Sat. night, but will be pretty tired and in need of rest before driving back to Afton on Sunday.  I managed to get my dialysis changed to tomorrow night in order to free up the whole weekend, especially because I'm expecting that big motorcycle tour from Springfield (MO) on Friday.

Yesterday Betty gave me a copy of an article in the Afton newspaper from 1980.   It lists all the businesses that were in Afton at Christmas in 1913.  It's a pretty impressive list, proving once again that Afton was a vibrant and "happenin'" place.  Among others businesses, there was a jewelry store, two banks, three doctors and one dentist, a barber shop, a shoe repair shop, two department stores, a theater (The Electric Theater!), a harness shop, a livery, a newspaper, a hardware store, a seed company, and, most surprisingly, it's own electric light and power company!  It was the only town around with it's own power company in 1913.  The article goes on to talk about the decline of the city during the '40s and '50s when passenger trains were also in decline, but doesn't mention how much of the decline was attributed to the building of the interstate, thus diverting traffic away from Route 66.

The top postcard is postmarked 1916 and shows a big crowd scene in downtown Afton.  I don't have any idea what the occasion was, but folks seem to be dressed up in Sunday finery.  The second postcard is from the same time period and shows that the railroad station was big and bustling then.  It's gone now. 

This afternoon I attended a talk by my dear friend Marian Clark at the Tulsa Historical Society.  She's the author of three food-related Route 66 books (most well known being "The Route 66 Cookbook") and is considered the authority on restaurants and food all along Route 66.   Today she was talking about turn-of-the-century food in Tulsa.  It touched on subjects such as the feeding of the oil field workers during the oil boom, early grocery stores in  Tulsa, and the very earliest restaurants to open in the growing city.  It was illustrated using PowerPoint, and it was obvious that Marian spent untold hours doing the research. 



Anonymous said...

One of the saddest things to me about the construction interstate was how so many towns were bypassed. It really destroyed a lot of livelihoods, and in some cases, the towns themselves.

Sounds like a busy weekend, but I hope you get to meet all kinds of travelers! Hope you're feeling better.

All my best,

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be there to help you greet folks on this upcoming holiday weekend. I'll be thinking of you. Although I'm not even near Route 66, I did visit and have lunch at a really neat old, restored diner in Oakley, UT today. ---Ron (McCoy)