Originally sent July 10
LHS grads - Charles ( class '63) and Jackie Darling ( class ?, younger than Charles) - of Pasadena, CA, found themselves in possession of one of the Medicine Park Centennial cookbooks. They sent me a letter - not email, a real, snail-mail, letter - talking about the cookbook and sharing memories and other recollections that were stirred by reading of the book. I think all of you will enjoy their comments:
"Among the tidbits that were news to us are 1) Medicine Park is the first such resort in Oklahoma; 2) the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was the first wildlife refuge in the US (and second most popular); 3) the annual Easter Sunrise service is the longest running passion play in the country; 4) the old skating rink began as a dance hall; 5) Elmer Thomas was the founder of the community [and I am adding - he had grandchildren who were LHS grads, gw]; 6) Bonnie and Clyde and Pretty Boy Floyd and Al Capone were visitors along with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans; 7) the Hutchins family link between Medicine Park and Doe Doe Park. Lots of history to digest."
Charles went on to say that he had a family connection to the Park also as his dad in the early to mid-fifties, opened a 'funky' retail store that sold 'curios' and picnic supplies to tourists. Charles thought it had been in a building that was next to the old hotel. Unfortunately, huge throngs of visitors did not materialize and the life of the store was short lived. The building where Charles dad had his store was destroyed by fire several years later.
Interject: On a personal note, my dad, also ran a 'business' in Medicine Park in the '30's in a building called the Apache Inn. It was (I believe) a little south of the old hotel and was also destroyed by fire (I think in the 40's?) There is still a very small part of a foundation (or steps?) where it is supposed to have been. gw
Charles goes on to share...."some of my fondest boyhood memories are of Medicine Park. The cobblestone buildings, skating rink, swinging bridge, and the Dam Cafe all held a special fascination. While parents manned the store, I would explore the narrow streets of this nearly magical place that looked like nothing I had ever seen. This was at a time Medicine Park was in one of its periodic economic slumps and there were signs of decay and abandonment. One transformative moment occurred when a jukebox in the hotel cafe boomed out the first "rock and roll" music I ever heard. Things have never been the same. There would be other firsts, but this one stuck for me.
Lake Lawtonka, Mt. Scott, Craterville Park, and buffalo herds just added to the exotic images that formed in my young head. Word that Medicine Park is being successfully revitalized is very welcome. I hope it prospers and is celebrated by generations to come."
I really enjoyed the letter and thank Charles and Jackie for sharing their thoughts on a historical and quaint part of our 'home-town' heritage.
The class of 1958 - 50 year reunion is having their Friday night event (Aug. 15) at the old dance hall/skating rink/Music Hall at Medicine Park! Be a great opportunity to see first hand what is going on at the Park while rekindling friendships with former classmates. For info on reunion:
There are quite a few '58-er's that have not been found. You might check this list and see if you have any info on any of the missing ones.
List at: <http://www.lhs58reunion.com/directory.htm>
From the cookbook: "When you have helped to raise the standard of cooking, you have helped to raise the only thing in the world that really matters anyhow. We only have one or two wars in a lifetime, but we have three meals a day!"
From Will Rogers' 1931 introduction to the Beverly Hills Women's Club Cookbook.
It is said that Will Rogers visited Medicine Park several times in the 1920's with his friend Wiley Post.
btw......if you have interest, the cookbooks are still available at the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton. I do not know if they will mail but the address of Museum is: 601 NW Ferris, Lawton, OK 73507. Phone (580) 581-3460.
Regards to all........Georgia