Connected successfully  The Okie Legacy: Vol 11, Iss 6 March 1935 - Alvan's Celebrate Good News

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Volume 11, Issue 6 -- 2009-02-08

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We forgot to mention last night at the strike of midnight, MST, how much we are thankful for the impact you have had on our lives here at the OkieLegacy [more]...
 ~NW Okie (a.k.a. Linda Wagner) regarding Okie's story from Vol. 7 Iss. 52 titled UNTITLED

I didn't even know that Jade plants bloomed. What a beautiful plant.
 ~SBW regarding Okie's story from Vol. 8 Iss. 45 titled UNTITLED

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Chimney Rock In NW Oklahoma

Have you ever been to Northwest Oklahoma's Chimney Rock in the earlier years before it collapse to weathering and nature? That is one place that this 60-something NW Okie has never experienced. AND ... It was in my own backyard! Here is a satellite map of the area that Chimney Rock was located, in Northwest Oklahoma - NW Oklahoma's Chimney Rock.

I did a search online at The Oklahoman and found this 1937 picture of Chimney Rock in Northwest Oklahoma, The newspaper was dated 05/16/1937, page 72, with headlines over the picture that read: "The Kingpin of Chimney Rocks."

Anyway ... What brought this search for Chimney Rock up was because Sandy Wimmer, chair of The Freedom Museum, emailed me and said, "We are putting together an exhibit focusing on Chimney Rock in Northwest Oklahoma. The Freedom Museum would like to preserve photographs and stories from those who remember anything about the Rock."

If you have photographs, stories and memories of the "Rock," you may contact the Freedom Museum in Freedom, Oklahoma ... OR ... You can Contact: Sandy Wimmer, Museum Chair, at her following Email:

We are told that the exhibit will center around a 16-foot painting which used to hang in the Cattlemen's Cafe in Freedom, Oklahoma. The painting has been moved, restored, and donated to the museum by the Walker family.

We have been told that the Freedom Museum will be having an open house to view the exhibit later in the Spring. We will try to keep you posted when we have more information!

AND ... The Freedom Museum, Inc., is always happy to have any visitors come their way. Admission is always free!
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March 1, 1935 - Castle On the Hill Burn

If you would have read the headlines on March 2, 1935, in The Oklahoman, on the front page, the headlines might have read, "Teachers College building at Alva Goes Up in Flames."

The photo on the left shows the fire at its peak. The administration building of the Northwestern State Teachers college at Alva was a mass of smoking ruins on the Friday after flames, supposed to have started from defective wiring raced through the structure in the early morning hours.

This picture shows the blaze at its height. Plans already were under way to obtain funds to rebuild the structure. meanwhile, classwork was going on as usual.

Action Starts Quickly
U. S. May furnish half of the funds and Governor Marland parley set for Monday.

Plans were underway to obtain $450,000 for the rebuilding of the administration building of Northwestern State Teachers College, in Alva.

Following a survey, J. M. McCollom, State Rerpresentative from Medford, and Charles Albright, Capron Senator, drew a bill to authorize the rebuilding.
Abandonment Fought
Before it was submitted the legislators held a conference with Governor Marland. McCollom said he had information about 50% of the money might be obtained from the federal government.

Both legislators said any action upon a reported move to abandon the school would meet with opposition. McCollom pointed out that attendance at the school had been gaining as an argument for its continuance.
Budget Officer Visits Alva
Louis H. Ritzhaupt, chairman of the senate committee on education, said such a move was not practical insomuch as the school was the only one of the type in the wide territory. A similar view was held by Carl Twidwell, head of the house education committee, who reported that he had heard of no such move.

In anticipation of the legislative action, R. R. Owens state budget officer went to Alva, Friday to get firsthand information.
Classwork Resumes In Churches
Alva, March 1, 1935 -- Northwestern State Teachers college, its administration building destroyed early Friday by fire, made plans Friday night to resume class work work Monday and open a campaign to have the state replace the burned building.

At a mass meeting of 1,500 students and citizens a petition urging the replacement was pasted and was sent to the board of affairs and members of the legislature.
Work Not Interrupted
W. P. Marsh, registrar reported that classes were held Monday in churches and other buildings which had been turned over to the college. The new schedules had been prepared and there would be no interruption in the work. citizens had donated the use of typewriters, pianos and other equippment so that they classes could go ahead.

The huge administration building, the largest educational structure in the state, was damaged beyond use is what R. R. Owens, state budget officer, told Marsh.
Loss is $500,000
Mr Owens looked over the building and said that the walls, the only part of the building left standing, could not be used. Owens said he would confer with the board of affairs and the legislators and see what could be done about replacing the building.

The fire loss was estimated at $500,000. The structure, which was built in 1898, housed the college library, music department, the museum of fine arts and industrial arts departments.

The library of 60,000 volumes, valued by L. A. Ward, librarian, at $150,000, was destroyed as were music instruments, valued at $10,000. The building itself was listed as worth $200,000.
Three Students Rescued
Three student employees who were sleeping in the building when the fire broke out at 3 a.m. were rescued, partially overcome by smoke, by firemen. The three boys were: Floyd Anthis; Clyde Friend, Cashing; and Tony Anderson, Pitcher, were on the top floor and made their way to the roof, from where they were taken by firemen.

A nearby ten-room house was set afire by sparks from the school blaze and burned. Several other nearby houses also were damaged. The origin of the fire had not yet been determined.
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Northwestern Prairie Folk Mourn - March 10, 1935

We did some searching online at The Oklahoman archives for "Castle On the Hill" in the year 1935 and found a couple of articles. One of those articles was dated March 10, 1935, page 59, with the following headlines: "Northwestern Prairie Folk Mourn Loss of Pioneer College Structure at Alva," written by Jone Sartin.

There was an Editor's Note written before the article -- it was so light that I could only make out bits and pieces of it. It read something like this: "Mrs. Jone Sartin, who wrote this story, has lived 37 years. She obtained her life certificate at the teacher's college at the Alva. She graduated with higher honors. The story herewith represent the sentiment of the people of the northwest.

-- "Calamity stalked northwest Oklahoma faces disaster with confidence both of worthy achievement has latest disaster is shared by the whole southwest. On March 1, the administration building of Northwestern Teachers college yielded to fire. A surly wind fanned a fire that lighted the country side for miles.

"Years have wrought little change in the valiant spirit of Oklahoma's prairie folk. It took courage to come to the plains. It takes courage to stay. Memories and yesterdays ghosts are quickly dismissed by demands.......

"In 1898 Alva, that had begun as a tent town, saw completed a building soon known as the most beautiful building west of the Mississippi river. Dictated by foresight; and dedicated to education it represented the ultimate of pioneer purpose. Half-measures or relinquished hopes were not tolerated.

"Plans submitted by territorial architects for the building were rejected. Among Alva's pioneers was one widely traveled, James E. Ament, now president of National Park Seminary, Washington, D.C. During his travels he was impressed by the rare beauty of a Normandy castle. He was ambitious that a reproduction of this castle should be erected as northwest Oklahoma's contribution to the territory's educational buildings.

Alva was only a village, but the earnestness of Doctor Ament's desire inspired 80 of the pioneer business and professional men to pledge $1,000 each, on private notes, for the erection of the building. Among these were the late Jesse J. Dunn and S. L. Johnson. Five of the signers still live in Alva. They are: J. W. Monfort, W. F. Hatfield, Anton Shafer, Geroge Crowell, "Cap" Carrico.

"Their courage drew only condemnation from the territorial press. it protested that they had underwritten the project for the purpose of defrauding the territory. The building was called a castle from Spain, the prairie prince's plight and the enterprise was generously sneered at. Thus the territorial legislators were dubious when a request for $68,000 was checked to them.

"Alva had been named in honor of Alva Adams, Colorado governor, who was attorney for the Santa Fe railroad. Through Mr. Adams' interest a special train was provided and the legislators were brought to Alva. A banquet in their honor was served in the upper corridor of the much discussed building. Sneerers became cheerers. The distinctive architectural design, the richness of detail, and the perfect completeness of the building impressed the law-makers. They returned to Guthrie and passed the requested appropriation increasing it to $110,000.

"This was the beginning of a dream of a great temple of learning. Doctor Ament envisioned a building of which the structure now destroyed was to be but one wing. The blueprints were prepared by Joseph Foucart, French-born architect. A copy of the original plans will be found if workmen pierce the cornerstone in restoring the venerable ruins.

"Ament was first president of the institution. His faculty consisted of two teachers, Sarah Bosworth and Mrs. Mary DeLisle. The school opened with an enrollment of 63. Today Northwestern has a faculty of 45, an enrollment of 1,184, and is expanded to five buildings. In its 37 years of service 3,483 students have graduated from its courses. Since 1919 the school has operated as a fully accredited college conferring bachelor degrees. The 1934 degree class numbered 92 graduates.

"Alva stands as the gateway to the panhandle. Northwestern college is the gateway through which the youth of this vast territory enters American enterprises. Hugh Johnson of NRA fame, graduated from Northwestern. Oklahoma's State university has six N. S. T. C. graduates on her faculty -- Maurice Wardell, Ralph Records, Dean Ray Johnson, Floyd Bingham, Ralph Beagle and Della Brunstetter. Among her writers are Edna Brockway-Muldrow, who does book reviews for the Oklahoman; Dorothy Calloway, whose poems appear in Good Housekeeping; and Pearl Johnson, writer of philosophy.

"There is not a state in the union that does not hold some person formerly of Northwestern. Harvey H. Niminger, curator of the Museum of Meteorites of the Colorado museum of National History, Denver, graduated from Northwestern. Frank Ingles, sculptor, formerly associated with Lorado Taft, has a studio on the west coast. Dr. Wyman Green is head of the zoological department of Drew university, New York. Misses Edna Perry and Ruth Waring are missionaries to India and Bulgaria. Lemira Whent is directoress of a girls' school in India. Delbert Mann heads the American Boys' School at Istanbul, Turkey.

"Northwestern is pre-emiently a poor-man's college. Ten classes had graduated from Northwestern before statehood. Only one other teacher's college is older. In 1897 the territorial legislature appropriated $3,000 for the operating expenses of a school at Alva but it made no provisions for a building. For the first two years the school was held in the Congregational church. It is wrong to think of it as just another teachers' college. This school is northwestern Oklahoma's university. Students who attend Northwestern would be denied educational advantages beyond the high school except for the nearness of this great institution to their homes.

"The majority of her students elect to come to school at Alva because it is less expensive than attendance at other state schools. Yet the courses and equipment are often superior. From farms and small towns students bring produce, canned fruits and vegetables in exchange for board and room, and often as some portion of a small tuition.

"Moving today in the shadow of crumbling ruins they are not possessed by loss but are proudly aware of what they still have.

"The mother-building watched the growth of additional buildings on her 40-acre domain -- the Science Hall, Wyatt Gymnasium. Herod Hall (designed after Oklahoma City University), the stadium on Newby Field, and the picturesque building that houses the central heating plant. Six magnificent structures but not one vieing in beauty with the old Castle on the Hill.

"But institutions are more than buildings. They are the spirit interwoven in the background of a community. Boys and girls of the short-grass country are entitled to opportunities afforded youth in other parts of the state. This conviction is uppermost in the minds and hearts of builders of Oklahoma's commonwealth. Justice to these youths will not be forgotten. Their record, free from stain, is their greatest assurance."
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OkieLegacy Crossword Puzzles

We have added a couple more Crosswords linked in the right column. The crossword dated 2-5-2009 concerns information about the "Castle on the Hill." For more clues and information for 2-5-2009 puzzle this week, this weeks newsletter answers some of those clues. You can also use the following links as possible clues to answers of this week's puzzle. -- Northwestern Normal School & NTN 1897

Th other puzzles are not OkieLegacy data related, but just regular crossword puzzles. Look for more OkieLegacy puzzles in the future issues.
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Memories Of Castles At Alva OK - April 1935

The picture on the left shows Dr. James E. Ament, father of the normal school at Alva; the building at the far right was the administration building (Castle on the Hill -- or -- Old Main) of the Alva normal school which burned, March, 1935; and the big picture behind Dr. Ament shows Ament's dream building for a school he hoped to head and the castle idea for the original Alva building.

On April 7, 1935, Sunday, on page 59, this photo and article took up the whole page 59 of The Daily Oklahoma, that started with a letter that the Daily Oklahoman, Walter M. Harrison, managing Editor, wrote to Dr. James E. Ament, President, National Park Seminary, Forest Glen, Maryland, March 9, 1935. The headlines read: "Father of the Alva Normal Speaks."

"Dear Dr. Ament: Destruction of the grand old Normandy castle in Alva by fire last week reminds me of the important part you played in the development of the Northwestern State Normal School.

"It has been a long time since your old friends in Oklahoma have had any direct contact with you. I wonder whether you might not be willing to make the passing of this famous structure the occasion for writing in reminiscent vein of the trials and tribulations undergone by yourself in making this great achievement possible. I should be happy to have a manuscript from you, small, -- short or long -- and assure you that anything you might care to write would be received with a great deal of interest by the people of Oklahoma. With best wishes, I am Yours Sincerely, Walter M. Harrison, Managing Editor."

What follows is an article written by Dr. James E. Ament, first president of the Normal School at Alva and in 1935 was president of the National Park Seminary at Forest Glen, Md.

Dr. Ament wrote, "If it will be of any interest to the people of Oklahoma, I am very willing to tell of my part in founding and building the Normal School at Alva. It will be, however, but a brief tale and the difficulties that I underwent will, I think, disappear with the telling of them. Here I must reproduce what Prof. John Davis, the Central State Teachers college at Ada wrote you, and which you published in your paper, March 7 (1935) that it may be before your readers' eyes, and be further expose for my writing:

"Your editorial on the passing of the administration building at the teachers college in Alva is most timely, as those of us who were on the spot in those early days can attest. I was a member of the faculty at Alva when this building was first began in September, 1899 (sic), and for six years thereafter.

"While giving credit to those to whom credit is due, there is one man who should not be overlooked, the first president of the college, Dr. James E. Ament, the president of National Park Seminary, Forest Glen, Md. It was through his vision and energy and will that Northwestern came into being. He planned the building and personally supervised the laying of every brick.

"With a niggardly appropriation of $5,000 he built this magnificent structure costing more than $100,000 and furnished it like the palace of a king while everybody knew it could never be. During the first year of operation he filled this plant to overflow with prospective students, who came flocking from -- nobody knew where. After about a conservative estimate will rank it as the greatest school man who ever moved into Oklahoma."

Dr. Ament's Memories of Normal School
"In telling about my part in relation to the Normal school, I shall have to be personal and I hope that a seeming ..... (could not make out the next few words) will be pardoned, for I'll have to tell some things of myself to show why it was easy for me to bring about the building of the Alva Normal. I have an interested quality that enables me often to ..... (unable to read a couple of words) make everlasting friends but I deserve no credit for this than for the fact that I was born with brown hair.

"I want to say that it would have been difficult to fail with such men back of me as those of Alva. I had never seen a group of men like them, nor have I ever with one since. There was Sam Johnson, my right-hand man, and there was Hatfield, Captain Stein, Monfort, Noble, Crowell, Shafer, and I suspect a hundred others. There was no dissension among them. They were simply united to accomplish one end and I ask you, how could they have failed?

"As to the success of the school itself, I wish to say that I gathered about me a faculty such as few schools have ever had. There was Lisk, who is still with the school, and, in my judgment, the finest teacher of physics and chemistry in this county. Then take Captain De Blumenthal of the Imperial University of Russia, his father was the chief counsellor of the state to the czar and Mr. De Blumenthal had been brought up in the court. His gracious manners were so natural that the young people did not take offense at him, but admired them and the man. Most teachers of modern languages cannot speak the language they teach. Not so with De Blumenthal.

"Captian De Blumenthal now does translating work here in Washington, but does not like it. He told me, not so long ago, that he would infinitely prefer to teach. He liked Oklahoma, and it is a pity that Alva or some other school in the state does not secure him. He would take any school popular.

"Then among the faculty were such men as Henry Fel...., John Davis, Charles Locke, Robert Clark, Frederick Abbot, and many others. A school would simply have to succeed with teachers like these, the most devoted group that I ever knew to the cause of education.

"As to the way in which I got the money for erecting the building, I have said enough to show that my personal contacts helped me out. I conceived the idea of writing a sort of bond and having my friends in Alva sign it. I think something like a hundred of us appended our signatures and I took this bond with me to Illinois to ask a friend that I felt would never refuse me anything to come out and build the school. That friend was John Volk, of Rock Island, Illinois. Mr. Volk's lawyer said the bond was of no legal value, since Mr. Volk would be putting up a building for Oklahoma, instead of for this local group of men. I begged Mr. Volk to put up the building, and trust me to get his money. This he consented to do.

"I left the bond in his hands but he never had occasion to press the matter for let me say also that the legislatures Oklahoma in those days were composed of far-seeing men, and then I had the support of the governor, Cassius M. Barnes, a man who always had the courage of his convictions. He believed that the Alva people should have the school they wanted and he went his length to secure it for them. So, you will see that my difficulties really amounted to little. Circumstances and marvelous friends were back of all that I did.

"As to the building, I have been asked why I made a castle of it. I think it is due to the fact that, in my youth, I lived in a castle. I hope that the present legislature and board, will not make the mistake of thinking that a building composed of four walls and a roof that keep out the wet and the cold will afford just as food a place for a school as a building of a castle; that is, the merions and crenels, do not add greatly to the cost of the building. Any one looking at the plans of the old castle will find that I did not use machicolations where I could avoid it. I simply corbelled out instead of using the regular castle forms, excepting on some towers were machicolations looked best.

"You will be interested to know how I became the architect of that building. The board had employed Mr. Joseph Foucart as their architect. Mr. Foucart was a very good architect but he had no sort of idea of the functioning of an American normal school. He could no more have drawn the plans for such an institution than I could have drawn the plans for a brewery. I was a trained architect and I suggested to Mr. Foucart, that if he would let me make the plans, he could have his fee and the honor of being the architect, for I cared nothing for either of these things. Consequently, I was the sole architect of the building at Alva.

"I should be glad to know that the building will go up on exactly the foundation that I made, making any desired changes in the interior, and may I say, in this connection, that had I remained president of the school at Alva and needed more room, I had a plan for enlarging the old castle practically to any extent, and adding thereby to its actual beauty.

"Separate buildings scattered over the campus look smart but they are not good. Such versity where there are different schools, such as a school of medicine, a school of law, etc., but not for a normal school. It is well to have the entire institution under one roof, if possible.

"I want to say that, owing to the enthusiasm of the people, Mr. Volk and I were able to secure our help at such wages as helped us greatly. Infact, that building at the time it was turned over to Oklahoma was actually worth about twice what it cost the territory. Our men worked from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,br />
"Professor Davis speaks of my furnishing the building fit for the palace of a king. That is true; but, unfortunately, I have forgotten just how I managed it. I think the furnishings cost something like $35,000.

"I am getting innumerable letters from all over the country from my old boys and girls expressing their sorrow at the burning of the old castle.

"I do not know whether you saw the reference made to me by General Johnson in his article, entitled My Early Days and published in the April, 1935, number of the Redbook. The reference is on page 105, and for fear you did not see it, I am reproducing it here:

"That president of the northwest normal school was a godsend to me. I was 14 when he came and opened his college in the second-hand church, awaiting the new building on the hill. The haphazard and fragmentary education on which I have touched was wholly disorganized. He was a scientific educator, and took a very special interest. He built where it was weak, and guided where it was not so weak, and enabled me to get through West Point four years later. His name is James E. Ament, and he presides now at the National Park Seminary in Washington. I have never known a teacher to compare with him. I proudly hold the diploma of that little college, although by an unorthodox route -- two years credit for my four years at West Point. Later I got credit for three years at West Point to add to one on a B.A. degree at California -- which made pretty good use of four years at the military academy."

"Of course, it is a great pleasure for me to have Hugh say, After he had gone through West Point and the University of California. 'I have never known a teacher to compare with him.'

"I received a very interesting letter from Mrs. Maud A Drake-Bingham, of Norman, Oklahoma. In this letter Mrs. Bingham said, 'If we could, we would call you back from that world of your choosing and say to you, Build it back for us. All the future youth of that more or less submarginal land need that inspiring structure as we needed it in the past.'

"Of course, it is idle to talk of my returning to Oklahoma, much as I should like to do it. There would be too many ties to break here at the national capital where I have lived for 18 years. Still, if I can help in any way to replace the old castle, I should be pleased to do it; for in my judgment the castle, down to the day of its destruction, was, perhaps, the most beautiful school building in the world.

"In closing her letter, Mrs. Bingham said, 'You may not remember me, but you once called me a brick.'

"Here is one of the morals that I wish to speak of. Of course, I do not remember calling Maud a brick, but the thing that I want to drive home is that a teacher, if he has influence with his students, is always teaching, whether he knows it or not, and he has got to be absolutely and always careful.

"W. C. Hall, writing from out in Idaho, said in his letter, 'I feel like general Johnson, that you were not only a godsend to me but to so many other young people.'

"In another paragraph he says, 'A few years ago I was visiting our mutual friend, T. Dudley Nash, who was our neighbor at that particular time, and I asked him this question: Was President Ament as big a man as I thought him to be, or was that just my immature judgment? To which he replied, 'I have never met his equal.'

"Nash had a good joke on me. For some reason I thought his parents were German, while in fact they were Irish. Meeting him on the street one day and stopping for a little chat, I asked 'Strechen Sie Deutsch?' I saw from his blank look that he did not understand and I went on to berate his parents for not teaching him German. I called it a shame that they should let him grow up without teaching him German. The poor fellow had not the remotest idea of why I took this stand, and for more than a year he pondered over it, when by a chance remark of another person he learned that I thought his people were German.

"Leslie Salter, one of the lawyers in the Insull case, wrote, 'One of the earliest recollections of my childhood was to watch the building of the castle from an upstairs window of our farm house.' How far flung was the influence of that old building! It is really beyond one's imagination.

"In an intensely interesting and amusing letter, Mrs. Anna Brown Moore, of Chicago, a relative of former President Hoover, wrote, 'You may have forgotten me but I could never forget you and Mrs. Ament. To my mind as a girl she was a goddess, and you had the power to frighten me speechless.'

"Of course, those were my salad days in the management of great institution. In fact, I was but little more than a youth myself, and I suspect I assumed a dignity to which I had no natural right.

"But how gratifying it is to receive all these letters from men and women now from 50 to 60 years of age, assuring me that my influence over them was not ephemeral, for it has been with them for good throughout their lives. Again, what a tremendous responsibility it argues!

"I remember Dennis Flynn visited the normal, and made a fine talk touching upon a very similar point His talk to the student body was helpful in several ways.

"Now I want to refer to just one more of the many letters, all practically in the same vein. The letter is from Mrs. W. G. Baer of Enid. Her letter covers a little more than three pages. In it she says, 'I believe my greatest success is in my home. I remember some advice you used to give us to the effect that if we wanted to know if a woman was a good housekeeper, go to her back door.'

"Now I do not remember ever making this statement but please note how it sticks through more than a third of a century, and again I say we teachers are always teaching, consciously or unconsciously, and should ever bear that fact in mind, though we should not let it make us stilted or unnatural.

"I do not know whether my friends would be interested in the things I have done since I left Oklahoma, or not. In the first place, I should like to say that Mrs. Ament and I spent a year at the University of Michigan, I, not matriculating as all as a student but simply living there in order to study the ways of the institution's great president, Dr. James B. Angell. I was privileged by Doctor Angell to be in his office on any occasion that I desired, or wherever I pleased to be in the institution. I had earlier made a briefer study of the work of William Rainey Harper, president of Chicago University, who was then spending the Rockefeller millions in building up that institution. So far as I know, no other man in the history of education ever did this kind of thing. It was my desire to know how other men worked and not be be simply a copyist of the president of the institution from which I had graduated.

"I spent a few years as president of the Missouri State Teachers college at Warrensburg and then answered a call to go to Pennsylvania where I became the head of the state normal school at the town of Indiana. Here, I think, I did my greatest work as an educator. The school became known as one of the most beautiful of its kind and achieved a national reputation. It was distinguished for having more men students in it than any other normal school in the United States had.

"I have had a few honors of marked distinction conferred upon me in these latter years of my life. I was made a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher, the oldest knighthood order in the world. Each knight receives a gold cross about three inches long, which opens and inside, preserved in wax, is a small splinter of what is supposed to be Christ's cross.

"In 1926 I received the diploma of the Academy International at Naples. At that time, i understood that but three other Americans held this diploma: They were Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University; Chief Justice Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

"I am also a Corresponding member of the Academie Latine, of Paris.

"I believe I am in every type of Who's Who that has ever been published in America, such as Who's Who Among Educators, in Finance, in the East, in the National's Capital, etc., etc., etc., as well as in Matthews's Blue Book of England. Sometimes doubts creep into my mind as to whether I really deserve such honors, but let us hope that I do.

"About 20 years ago I became imbued with the idea that I wished to become the head of a private school. After visiting quite a number of such schools, I felt that I would like to found a school de novo, and proceeded to make plans for such a school. I am a born dreamer and when I get started on anything of that kind, I am very apt to go a little too far.

"The building was made in the form of a great castle. There are 27 towers, I think, upon this building, and may I say that I went abroad several times, studying the crenelations on castle towers that I might not have any two on my castle exactly alike.

"Had my building been constructed, it would have been the largest building ever made by mankind. For instance, Windsor castle, one of the largest buildings in the world, covers about 13 acres. My castle would have covered 27 acres. It had many unique features, such as intra-mural passage-ways, etc., but which I cannot ask for space to describe. For instance, the cloister walk going around three sides of the inner of great court, affords a covered walk for inclement weather, more than a mile in length.

"I made this building so large so beautiful, and so perfect that the cost of its construction would have been about $12,000,000, so my millionaire friend who was back of me persuaded me to buy a going concern, and, consequently, I became the president 18 years ago of National Park Seminary. I never hated to give up anything so much in my life as the building of my great castle. It was the greatest dream of my life, and, of course, I was sorry not to realize it as I ever had done in other cases; but it may yet be built by some one. I would, in a way, be a joy for the whole world.

"I have found the work at National Park Seminary delightful and much easier on me with the passing years than the work of running a great state institution. Mrs. Ament is my right-hand man here in everything. Her abiding faith in me and her never-failing support have been the foundation of every worthwhile accomplishment of my life.

"I am sending you a photograph of myself taken but a few years ago, which you may want to use, since, excepting a very few, my Oklahoma friends have not seen me for more than a third of a century."
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1935 -- Walls Can't Be Used For Alva School

This article appeared in The Oklahoman, April 12, 1935, page 5, with headlines that read: "Walls Can't Be Used For Alva School."

"Walls remaining after fire destroyed the administration building of the Northwestern State Teachers college at Alva cannot be used in reconstruction of the building. Paul Colvert, member of the board of affairs, announced Thursday, following an inspection trip.

"Colbert's announcement shattered hopes of Alva citizens that walls of the classic castle building left standing could be used to build out of the ashes again.

"The walls will be torn down and material used as far as possible in a new building provided by an emergency appropriation by the legislature," Colvert said. Construction will begin when architects' plans are completed.
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1935 Rebuilding of Castle On the Hill

According to The Oklahoman, dated September 16, 1935, Front page, the headlines stated, "State;s Work Plan Speeded" - "Alva College Buildings To Be Replaced at Once."

"Sufficient funds to put more than 10,000 men to work at once on Oklahoma works progress administration (WPA) projects was assured Sunday when notification was received by W. S. Key, state administrator, that $5,271,707 was on the way.

"With this augmenting the original $5,307,878, key showed much optimism for the program and held the funds would roll in fast enough now to increase the number of men at work daily until the entire 112,000 persons on the relief rolls are employed.

"At the same time Key was notified of approval of the $265,000 building fund for the Northwestern State Teachers college, Alva. The fund will be used to replace the buildings destroyed by the fire during the early summer.

"Tabulation of Oklahoma projects approved by the state office showed the projects would cost nearly $112,500,000."

Alva Before Washington Board
On August 21, 1935 there was an article in The Oklahoman, Front page with the headlines: "Alva Plea Before Washington Board."

"Washington, Aug. 20 (1935) -- (AP) -- The works progress administration said Tuesday an application by the Northwestern (Oklahoma) Teachers college at Alva for a grant of $244,995 for new buildings had gone to the allotment board.

"Harry Hopkins, works progress administrator, disapproved the project tentatively because the per-man-year cost exceeded his limitation of $1,140 but the application was not discarded because the rest of the $500,000 project will be in the form of a loan and that fact, WPA officials said, would counteract Hopkins's objections."
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1936 - Alva Pioneer Dies In East

According to The Oklahoman, dated July 23, 1936, page 5, there was the headlines that read: "Alva Pioneer Dies In East" - "Doctor Ament Was First Head of State School."

This was over a year since he wrote an article for the Daily Oklahoman that appeared in the April, 1935 Issue concerning the burning of the Castle on the Hill, in Alva, Oklahoma.

This July 23, 1936 article mentions, "Dr. James E. Ament, 68 years old pioneer Oklahoma educator and first president of the Northwestern State Teachers college at Alva, died Wednesday in a New York hospital.

"At the time of his death, Dr. Ament was president of National Park Seminary at Forest Glen, Md. He had served there 15 years, having been appointed to the presidency of the school for life.

"Dr. Ament was one of Oklahoma's outstanding educators during territorial days 37 years ago. he designed the castle-like structure, which housed the Alva school and completed plans for a building which would have surpassed Windsor castle in size. The structure he designed was destroyed by fie in March, 1935.

"Many of Dr. Ament's student distinguished themselves nationally among those who studied under him was Gen. Hugh johnson, former Chief of the NRA.

"After leaving Oklahoma, Dr. Ament headed normal schools in Missouri and pennsylvania. he studied school administration at some of the largest universities in the United States and Europe."
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Westview - A Waynoka Connection

We found this next item of interest in one of our packed boxes. It came from my husband's sister, Joan (Wagner) Hodgden. The name of the Journal was Westview - A Journal of Western Oklahoma, Vol. II, No. 4, a published quarterly by Southwestern Center for Regional Studies. It was published, Summer of 1983 by the executive committee of Southwestern Regional Studies Center.

It included Treasures, Horse Cents, Connections, Poetic Glimpses, and other stories of Western Oklahoma. One of those connection stories that I would like to share with you concerned The Waynoka Connection, page 20-21, written by Phil Ewing Gafford.

It goes something like this ... "Waynoka rates only an asterisk on Oklahoma's Great Plains package. But this Woods County community deserves higher acclaim. It was the hub of a stranger-than-fiction connection that marked a revolutionary transition in transportation history.

It goes on to state, "Waynoka was the mid-point of the 1929 honeymoon of two unusual partners in marriage, a tin goose and an iron horse. The union gave birth to a transcontinental travel dream, New york to Los Angeles in 48 hours.

Passengers flew by day in an all-metal Ford Tri-motor, the historic "Tin Goose," and rode by night in a Pullman behind a coal-burning locomotive, the legendary "Iron Horse." The Waynoka connection was half way in the coast-to-coast route, home of an evening plane-to-train transfer for westbound passengers and a morning train-to-plane transfer eastbound.

Born in July, 1929, the baby lived only 15 months. Waynoka's vision of becoming the world's transportation center died with it. History, however is likely to look kindly on this little town. It was part of the leading edge of an unprecedented avalanche of aeronautical development that exploded in a short seven-year span, 1929 to 1936.

Will Rogers and Charles Lindberh played prominent parts in the imaginative plane-train venture.

Rogers made a least one test flight on the transcon route as well as frequent other trips. Although never employed by Transcontinental Air Transport airline or Santa Fe railroad, Rogers was an active "ambassador" in support of the service.

Lindbergh was employed as chairman of TAT's technical committee by the line's founder, Clement M. Keys, financier and former editor of The Wall Street Journal. Keys sought to capitalize on the aviation boom that followed Lindy's 1927 Trans-Atlantic flight.

Lindbergh directed selection of routes, equipment and pilot personnel. He specifically chose Waynoka as the central office for the bold experiment, supervising investment of almost $1 million in TAT's base five miles northeast of town. TAT was dubbed the "Lindbergh Line," and his picture was included in advertisements.

Colonel Charles Lindbergh and wife visited the Waynoka airport on a Friday and inspected the field while his plane was being refueled and made ready for their further flight westward, bound on an inspection tour of the TAT, Maddox air route, as reported by the Woods County Enterprise issue of January 10, 1930.

While the Waynoka paper occasionally noted Lindbergh items, his visits became too frequent to make news.

An area native, Garold Whitlaw, a prominent Oklahoma executive, recalled that he saw Will Rogers and Charles Lindbergh often on the streets of Waynoka.

Whitlaw also remembered, "Just out of Waynoka high school, I was part of the town's boom. I remember the crowds at the Fred Harvey House. My senior class had its prom there. It was a place for the 'elite 400' with more silverware and big heavy napkins and table cloths than I've ever seen anywhere."Whitlaw remained very much a part of the Waynoka connection, spending most weekends at his plush home on one of two large Whitlaw-owned ranches.

First trip of the Tin Goose-Iron Horse marriage began at 6:05 p.m., Saturday, July 7, 1929. Passengers departed New York on a Pennsylvania train, leaving it the next morning after breakfast at Columbus, Ohio. They crossed the tracks, climbed into a Ford Trimotor and took off for the Waynoka Connection with intermediate stops at Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City and Wichita.

Arriving Waynoka 12 minutes ahead of the 6:24 p.m. schedule, Sunday, July 8, the passengers were transported by bus to the Fred Harvey Home restaurant at the Santa Fe depot. Following dinner, they boarded a Pullman attached to the railroad's "Missionary" special to Clovis.

Clovis arrival time was 7:20 the next morning. Passengers breakfasted at the Harvey House there before being driven six miles to Santa Fe's Gallaher Station, now site of Cannon Air Force base, for an 8:10 a.m. departure to Los Angeles. The day's flight included stops at Albuquerque, Winslow and Kingman before its scheduled arrival in Los Angeles at 5:52 p.m.

The eastbound trip was by air from Los Angeles to Clovis, Pullman from Clovis to Waynoka, air to Columbus and pullman to New York.

P. Hicks Daniel, Santa Fe retiree who in 1912 was the railroad's first agent at Heman, six miles southwest of Waynoka, remembered this later work as traveling agent out of the Amarillo general offices.

Hicks, said, "I went monthly from Amarillo to St. Louis and back in the '29 - '30 period. My return was on the Missionary, meeting the air-train-air passengers in the evening at Waynoka. The train conductor or brakeman inquired in advance how many passengers wanted meals at the Harvey House, and that information was 'wired' ahead so the meals could be ready wen the train arrived."

Hicks went on to say, "Supper at the Harvey House was real good. I think it cost $1.52. With stops at all stations for mail, Wells-Fargo express, baggage and passengers, plus flagstops at blind sidings, the 310-mile run from Waynoka to Clovis was an overnight schedule. Pullman fare was $2.00."

Total cost of the transcon journey in 1929 was $351.94, about twice the price of luxury train all the way. A headline in the January 17, 1930 issue of the Enterprise reported, "Air travel rates greatly reduced." The article listed new fares, including rail ticket and lower berth to Clovis and air beyond, from Waynoka to Albuquerque, $26: Winslow, $38: Kingman, $49: and Los Angeles, $63.

A week later, the Waynoka newspaper told of a TAT Trimotor crash in California, noting it "marked the greatest disaster in American Commercial air transportation." The accident claimed 16 lives, including 2 pilots, six other men and eight women.

Despite the tragedy the air-train combination carried capacity loads in early 1930. On Sunday, January 27, TAT planes counted 79 passengers between Columbus and Waynoka, posting a record 75,075 passenger miles in one day.

Most issues of the Enterprise included stories of famous people making part or all of the coast-to-coast trip. Amelia Earhart was on the inaugural trip. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the "Czar" of baseball, was on one flight into Waynoka. Chick Bale, nationally known comedian and author spent a night in Waynoka enroute by TAT-train from St. Louis to Los Angeles. Anne Morrow Lindbergh made many trips, the paper of January 3, 1930, noting that "He (Lindbergh) usually was accompanied on his flights by his bride."

Helen Chapman is another native Waynokan with vivid memories of the great experiment. Chapman said, "I remember Colonel Lindbergh and Will Rogers coming in often. The crews stayed at the big, new Eastman Hotel. Being just a year out of high school, I thrilled every time I saw the pilots. Maybe it was their uniforms. They wore dark suits with white shirts and dark ties. Their caps were something like train conductors: but more flashy, cocky, jaunty."

Chapman also mentioned, "There was no security. Crowds walked right up to the planes. Lindbergh sometimes sat on a bench near the plane, casually visiting with the public."

Wayne Carson, treasurer and past president of the Waynoka Chamber of Commerce, was born North of town in the year of TAT's glory. He stood across the tracks, looking at the imposing Fred Harvey House building.

Carson said, "There's a historical monument. I think there should be much more of this important history preserved for future generations. I'm dedicated to seeing that it is."

Waynoka's dream ended in October, 1930. On October 17, 1930, just 12 days before the first anniversary of the stock market crash, the Woods County Enterprise carried a story of the last TAT plane to arrive on a regular run. It was empty. Passengers had chosen the new all-air route with Tulsa and Oklahoma City stops between St. Louis and Amarillo. Transcontinental Air Transport soon would become Trans World Airlines (TWA).

But a collapsed economy and massive $3 million deficit didn't kill this baby born of an experimental marriage; rather it succumbed to progress, fading into history as an indelible chapter in the story of technological advance.

In less than six more years, aerodynamics and cooperating sciences counted invention unrivaled in any other similar short span of time. Advanced wing and body design, drag reduction, skins smoothed with flush rivets, retractable landing gear, increased engine efficiency, 100 octane gasoline, radio guidance, automatic pilot and other instruments were among the innovations.

The Douglas DC-3 emerged as a product of this super creative period. Following its first flight in July, 1936, exactly seven years after the TAT-train honeymoon, the DC-3 established unmatched records for dependability and service.

Commercial aviation came of age in that dust-bowl year, 1936. The baby born of the mating of the Tin Goose and Iron-Horse played a brief but important part in making it possible. It all came together at the Waynoka Connection.
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1936 Miss Alva

It was July 25, 1936 that this news article appeared in The Oklahoman, on page 14, with the headlines reading: "Miss Alva, 1936."

The Winner was Miss Cleo Bailey, Alva's representative in the state beauty contest during the state fair, having won the title of "Miss Alva, 1936" in competition with 45 other girls.

Cleo at that time was a senior at the University of Oklahoma. Miss Bailey was brown-haired, blue-eyed, weighing in at 110 pounds and was 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Miss Lorna Walker, Miss Coila Studevant, Miss Virginia Cavett and Miss Carlene Copas, took second, third, fourth and fifth places in the order named.

Some of you northwest Oklahoman's might remember Cleo Bailey later as Cleo Bailey Gruber, married to William Gruber, of Alva, Oklahoma.
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1934 - Volcano Ashes Found Near Alva

The Oklahoman, dated November 14, 1934, page 16, had these headlines: "Ashes of Volcano Found Near Alva."

Did you know that Alva even had a volcano nearby?

Evidently, ashes from that long extinct volcano amid the permian beds of western Woods county, where volcanic activity hitherto had never been suspected, was discovered during a biological survey the week of November 13, 1934.

Volcanic ash was found in sufficient quantities near Winchester to indicate that commercial development there is possible. It was used in commercial cleansing and scouring substances.
Winchester had a post office in a small community northwest of Alva, Oklahoma -- located seventeen miles northwest of Hatfield Park and the town of Alva. During 1903 the Pilgrim Bard, Scott Cummins, resided at Winchester, Oklahoma.
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1934 - Alva Lawyers Face Disbarment

Here is an interesting article that appeared in The Oklahoman dated February 24, 1932, on the front page, with headlines that read: Alva Lawyers To Face Disbarment."

Disbarment of Robert L. Hadwiger and suspension of Gus Hadwiger, his father, in an Alva law firm, was recommended to the state supreme court Tuesday by the sate board of bar governors.

The voluminous report cited Gus Hadwiger for alleged misconduct. His son was alleged to be wholly lacking in understanding of rules of professional conduct.

Charges were filed against the attorneys before the bar, the petition showed, involved allegations of fraud upon clients and upon the county and court.

I do not believe anything ever came of supreme court disbarment case, but it does sound familar concerning Hadwiger attorney stories that I have read or heard about. Does it ring any bells with you?
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McCarrick Alva Memories of 1944

Homer says, "Check out McCarrick's Alva memories of 1944 at Northwestern State Teachers College with the Air Cadets.

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Warwick Sketches & WV Homestead

Michele Hankins (mg_hankins @ says, "I just found this site. My husband and I would very much be interested in the sketches of the Warwick family. We have actually inherited the property belonging to Jacob Warwick in West Virginia and he is a direct descendant. We are currently refurbishing the house (the third on this foundation, others being burned by Indians). Please contact us if you would like any further information." - Vol. 7, Iss. 10 - Sketches of John Jacob & Mary Jane (VANCE) WARWICK

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Star Theatre & Other Theatre Memories

Roy says, "I probably have more information about the Star Theatre in Minco, Oklahoma than ANY other living person because I'm the one who bought the theatre equipment from Noah Standifer and operated that theatre until the day it closed (after I'd bought the Perry Theatre and moved to Perry, Oklahoma).

I won't go back to my very beginning, but will say that I was first introduced to 'screenings' by my boss and his wife at the Ritz Theatre at Britton, Homer "Pug" Hawkins, back in the late '40s. Those first screenings were at the 20th Century-Fox screening room at 10 North Lee (while I was still in high school) and I think that the first movie premier I attended (also with Pug and Mary) was at the Center Theatre in OKC -- Saturday's Hero which introduced the new young stars John Derek and Donna Reed and they appeared in person after the movie. The boss had taken me to these 'special' movies because I was a projectionist at both the Britton Theatre (the "B" house) and the Ritz (which was the "A" house across the street).

After I'd graduated, I went to work in the daytime at John A. Brown Company where my grandfather, Orville Lewis, was in charge of maintaining all the display equipment and the remodeling of a part of the store. I continued to work also at the theatres at night. My brothers and I attended screenings when possible and also (probably) made a nuisance of ourselves at the theatre supply houses where we'd go by and check out every projector and other pieces of equipment that we were allowed to touch.

Oklahoma Theatre Supply had displays of Brenkert (RCA) equipment like we were accustomed to at the Ritz. National Theatre Supply was showing all the latest Simplex equipment which included the new model XL (which I later found at the Star Theatre in Minco), and W. R. Howell's Motiograph displays also held our attention.

The little 'Britton Theatre' had Motiograph Model K projectors and Mr. Howell even showed us how the projectors were constructed. He and the 'mechanic' working there were fascinating and took the time to teach us much about the inner workings of the equipment.

A 'side' note: A few years later, the RCA service engineer, Byron Savage, who took care of the theatre equipment there at Britton also taught me some things about the sound system, and then he was FIRED by RCA because he had invented a miniature radio that could fit into a 'pop' bottle and he sold his invention to a rival company, Philco, who used the idea to create the Pepsi-Cola Bottle radio. He then started his own projector service company and still later bought out the Motiograph Supply Company from W. R. Howell.

When CinemaScope was first introduced, he again made the RCA Company angry by creating his own Stereophonic Sound heads that could be used with any and all theatre equipment without having to pay the license fees from RCA, 20th Century-Fox, and other "licensed" manufacturers (I have a pair of his magnetic 'penthouses').

I decided not to go to college after high school and joined the Airforce. My basic training was at Lackland Air Force Base and one evening while attending a movie at a base theatre, I was so caught up in the plot that when I saw a "cue mark" (in the upper right-hand corner of the screen) I jumped up from my seat thinking that I needed to make a "change-over" (from one projector to the other) and my buddy sitting next to me asked what was wrong. So ... I had to explain a little bit about what I'd done in civilian life.

After basic, most servicemen are transferred to a school to train for the job they'll be doing for most of the rest of their tour of duty but about eight of us were sent to train some new guys on the stuff we'd learned in basic. My 'job' at this point was to 'run' 16mm projectors to screen training films until I was transferred to my next base at Alexandria, Louisiana where I was assigned to an aircraft control and warning squadron (ground radio and RADAR), but since they really had no place for an (as yet) untrained radio operator and technician, I was re-assigned to base supply!

I had been at the base only a day and a half when the projectionist I had known in OKC, Jim Stemen, contacted me and said he needed me to work nights at the base theatre as a projectionist.

Wow! I walked into that booth and saw that I'd be running Simplex XLs, the same new projectors that were being used in America's greatest theatre, the Radio City Music Hall!!! Back in high school I had checked out a book in the library that had described the projection booth at the Music Hall and it's every projectionist's dream to be able to walk into that booth and work at least one night there, but only the top-ranked guys in the New York division of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatre and Stage Employees) union are even allowed into that booth. I was thrilled beyond understanding at being allowed to operate projectors in this booth.

At the base theatre in Louisiana, it was required to have a projectionist for each of the two projectors at all times (however, each of us would sneak out the upstairs exit door at times to go get snacks from a nearby NCO club to bring back to consume during the movie).

There was no snack bar in the theatre. Only a single vending machine with candy bars and snack crackers. No soft drinks were allowed in the auditorium, and all trash had to be removed after each performance.

We had only three projectionists usually and would rotate 'shifts'. When Jim Stemen was transferred out, I became in charge and when the Assistant Manager went on leave, I took over that job. It was the same as being a manager (taking care of the bookwork, etc.). Then I got orders to transfer to Shaw AFB in South Carolina. The local officer in charge of the theatre wrote me a job recommendation just like in civilian life and a copy went into my permanent '201 file'. I doubt that many airmen got papers like that.

I never set foot in another booth until my first experience as an owner a few years later. Jim Stemen and I kept in contact and when he came back from overseas, he was assigned to Tinker AFB while I was being a ground radio operator at a little hidden base called Congaree (near Sumter, South Carolina). We were there guarding the Savannah River Project (the H-bomb plant that wasn't known about).

After discharge from the service, Jim and I talked about going into partnership as theatre owners and looked around here in Oklahoma but found nothing we could afford and I remembered an ad I'd seen in a Strout Realty catalog from Rolla, Missouri. The theatre was still for sale and the price had been dropped. It was in a little railroad town 8 miles west (and down the mountain) of Rolla, called Newburg. I drove there to check it out.

The theatre was across from the Frisco Depot and was a converted vaudeville house with pre-WWI projectors that had been converted to sound in 1931 (even older than me). We borrowed money from Jim's dad for the down payment. The projectors were un-enclosed Powers model B made in 1916 and used Strong low-intensity lamps and the very first model Western Electric sound heads ever made.

The motors which drove the sound heads were mounted on the floor and used universal joints to drive vertical drive-shafts up to the sound heads which were connected with a gear to drive the formerly hand-cranked projectors. The projection booth was about 20 feet above floor level and there was a hardwood floor in the auditorium with 232 very old cushioned bottom seats and wooden backs to them. The screen was 8 ft. tall by 10 ft. wide.

The tiny concessions stand consisted of an ancient popcorn machine and an orange drink dispenser. There were no rest rooms. Folks were accustomed to walking across the street to the railroad depot when necessary.

I didn't make enough money to support the place so took a job at the Rawlings Sporting Goods Factory there and worked at an antique industrial sewing machine making footballs and baseball bases at 75 cents an hour until I started turning them out fast enough to get "piece work" wages (so much per dozen finished pieces per day).

During my 'off' days I went hunting and explored the hills and valleys there in the foothills of the Ozark mountains. It was almost like a year round vacation but eventually I decided to quit -- come back to Oklahoma and go to college.

My brothers had been working as projectionists at the Lakeside Theatre at North May and Grand Boulevard in OKC and the owner of the theatre came to Missouri to see his son stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood (just a few miles west of Newburg) and the two of them came to my theatre to meet the guy who had trained their projectionists.

When I'd decided to return to OKC for college, I first took a job with Byron Savage (the former RCA engineer I'd mentioned previously). My job was to check the miniature electronic tubes that he'd bought at surplus auctions so he could use them in his servicing operations. He had also invented what he called a pedestrilator and was gone a lot of the time trying to sell his idea to cities like Dallas, Ft. Worth, etc. He carried a miniature working model with him for demonstration purposes, and it was to use moving sidewalks with escalators so that foot traffic could easily shop in large downtown business districts utilizing two or three stories of business locations (this was before shopping malls became popular).

I worked there until I enrolled in college at Oklahoma City University (majoring in electronics engineering) at which time I got a job with my youngest brother Allan in the projection booth at the Lakeside Theatre.

The projectors at the Lakeside Theatre were Brenkert BX 60's as I recall and I worked there until a former projectionist and assistant manager told me about a job opening at KWTV as a film editor. I applied immediately and went to work there in July of 1957.

A short time later, Jim Stemen called and wondered if I'd be interested in another partnership to open a long closed theatre at Tuttle. Yes, I was interested. The theatre there had Century model C projectors with Strong Low Intensity lamps and RCA sound. There was no screen. It had been destroyed. We went to Oklahoma Theatre Supply to ask Eldon Peake if he knew of a used one that we could afford. There was a big one that had been replaced in a theatre in Miami, Oklahoma and he told us how to cut it down to use in our smaller 'house', and he even arranged for us to borrow a grommet tool from Video Theatres and sold us the grommets and tape (similar to duct tape) to re-size the huge screen.

When we finished it, it stretched from ceiling to floor and almost the entire width of the theatre. Then we bought new lenses and had the projector sprockets re-cut for CinemaScope film. We only ran two features and on weekends only. A Friday-Saturday picture and then a Saturday Prevue-Sunday matinee film. This kept our costs low and we were able to have a reasonably good crowd at each performance. I checked out the competition at Minco where George Walje was operating the Star. I considered it a major competitor."
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March 1935 - Alvan's Celebrate Good News

It was March 16, 1935, The Oklahoman stated on the front page that "Alva Building Fund Bill Becomes Law."

Governor Marland signed the bill appropriating $300,000 for building and equipping a library and classroom building at Northwestern State Teachers' college in Alva, to replace the one that burned a few weeks earlier.

The emergency clause attached funds for construction that would be available immediately and that were appropriated out of the public building fund."

March 17, 1935 - Alva Celebrates
Here is an article from The Oklahoman, the next day, dated March 17, 1935, page 31, with headlines that stated, "Alva Celebrates Bit Of Good News."

"Alva, March 14 (1935) -- Special -- "When the news was handled abroad that the house of representatives had passed the bill appropriating $300,000 for a new building at Northwestern college the city broke into a celebration as riotous as anything seen since the armistrice.

"Whistles blew, fire sirens screamed, church and school bells rang and school children from every building in the city spilled from classrooms."
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