More stuff that's gone

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First, Doug Loudenback has a story and lots of vintage photos about a place that's been gone a quarter of a century: Springlake Amusement Park in Oklahoma City, which had its origins as a spring-fed swimming lake in 1918. In addition to a big wooden roller coaster and other rides, there was a swimming pool and a ballroom.

A sad and recent loss: Ron of Route 66 News reports the demolition of a local literary landmark, the native stone tourist cabins north of Kellyville, just southwest of the OK 33 junction. The cabins were built by Max Meyer and described in his son Lewis Meyer's bestselling and hilarious bio of Max, Preposterous Papa. I'll try to post an excerpt from the book later tonight.

(Here's a link to a different excerpt, about the time that some of Max's friends came to ask him to join the Klan.)

UPDATE: Please read Doug Loudenback's update in the comments. He makes some worthy points about the way a newspaper owner's business interests and personal animosities may affect the paper's coverage of a story, as it appears to have done in the Oklahoman's coverage of racial strife at Springlake Park. (Also, he mentions that he has some more photos up in his Springlake story.)

Also, on the way back from OKC on Wednesday, I drove past the old Max Meyer spread. There is one other natural stone building still standing -- part of the dairy barn? -- as well as two of his three impractically tall silos. But there were backhoes and other heavy equipment busy in the vicinity, and I expect that they will fall as well. The other natural stone building is on the south side of a metal building back from the road. You probably wouldn't notice it if you're headed westbound on 66; I spotted it (for the first time ever) driving eastbound.

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In memory of Max Meyer and the natural stone tourist court he built on Route 66 north of Kellyville, an excerpt from Preposterous Papa by Lewis Meyer (pp. 99 - 102, 132-135): Papa was a compulsive builder. he went on building binges the way an alcoholi... Read More

2 Comments

Jeff Bigby said:

Michael,
Having grown up in OKC, I enjoyed seeing the Springlake photos. With the departure of Bells, the old time amusement parks are going the way of old drive-in movie theaters. Riding the Big Dipper roller coaster in it's last days in the late 1970's was truly the scariest roller coaster ever. The seats on the cars would slide around as you were riding, it seems many parts of the track were unlit on very dark night rides through what seemed like dark wooded parts of the park, and you always wondered if the old rickety wooden track was going to give in on your ride! Nothing but good memories of the place are in my head.
-Jeff

Michael, I'm not trying to self-promote, but there is something I think is important to say since I made my "original" Springlake post and since visitors sometimes just come "once" but don't come back to see any updates which I make from time to time.

My blog is a bit different than some ... it's topic oriented by a particular history topic, and, as I'm inclined and get new info, I'll simply modify the topic, not make a new post. That keeps my "index" "clean", and I'm good with that. But, modifications won't be picked up as "new posts" at all, since they are not.

The Spinglake topic is in that vein ...

Afer my 1st post, I've updated it 2x today ... 1st, to add 12-16 additional pics, but that's not so important. But, what is, is this:

In my original post, I just took the Oklahoman's "Race Riot" headline and article toward the end of the post to be true and I wasn't "critical" (I took it to be true) in my first post. Since then, I am now informed elsewise that there is reason to believe that there was bad blood between Staton (Springlake's owner) and E.K. Gaylord (everyone knows who he is) and that because of that the Oklahoman's front page news story may have either been exaggerated or even fictional at least in part. Personally, I don't know. But, regardless, this has to do with "substantive" content as opposed to eye candy, so I was moved to post this comment and I hope you don't mind.

I tend to be leary of the 4th Estate, particularly when it has a local monopoly, and particularly when it may involve some item of "personal" interest to the owner of the 4th Estate's publication.

Given my caution about the Oklahoman's newspaper articles when written about matters which may be personally important to the Oklahoman's owner, and now understanding that a personal item may well have been involved with could have affected the objectivity of the "reporting" in the race riot story, I do now have reason for pause (not disbelief, just pause) in taking the Oklahoman story at face value as I initially did.

I am not disinclined to disregard what has been privately reported to me because it is by a close source (i.e., not too many levels of hearsay) to Sringlake's owner (Mr. Staton) and since I have a reasonable basis to trust what has been reported to me privately, even though it is, strictly speaking, "hearsay" as reported by Mr. Staton to the speaker and then to me. That said, neither am I inclined to accept an anectotal report I've received as necessarily true, particularly when it's hearsay, even if one step removed.

So, historically, I think it's important to put an asterisk by the Oklahoman's race riot report in my blog post about Springlake. My amended blog post has been modified toward its end and in this regard.

Didn't mean to be intrusive, but I thought this was important to say.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 3, 2007 5:57 PM.

Belfast writer wishes Bob wouldn't holler was the previous entry in this blog.

Preposterous Papa: Max Meyer's rules for tourist court clerks is the next entry in this blog.

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