Calumet to Hydro - An Old
Stretch of 66
Heading west from
El Reno on
Route 66, the old highway
travels through a number of small towns that show the obvious suffering
that results from superhighways bypassing small towns. The first
Bridgeport were cut off very early in the Mother Road's
history, when the El Reno bypass took them off the route in 1933.
Though very small, both Calument and
Geary are still intact today. Calument originally established in 1893, supports a population of just
over 500. In the very early days of
Route 66, the old dirt road ran
right through the center of town, which still provides a peek at its vintage past with several
wall murals painted on its buildings.
Geary fared a little better and is still called home to about
1,400 souls. Established in 1892, Geary provides a couple of old views worth a stop. The
Canadian Rivers Museum features a log jail, railroad caboose and many
antiques of the area. Jesse Chisholm, the founder of the
Chisholm Trail is buried just northeast of Geary. Southwest of town, you’ll find a very old portion of
the old dirt
as well as the ruins of an old suspension bridge.
Oklahoma water towers,
courtesy Geary Central
After leaving Geary, you will soon come upon a long steep hill called
Bridgeport Hill. Legend has it that in the early days of the
many of the old Model A’s and Model T’s had to climb the hill in
reverse in order to generate enough power to climb the hill.
you will come upon a Pony Bridge, famous for its 38 trusses that form
a nearly 4,000 foot span across the Canadian River. Built in
1933, the bridge is the longest truss bridge in the state of
bridge was along the newer section of
Route 66 that
bypassed these three small towns, replacing the old suspension bridge
Bridgeport. Properly referred to as the Canadian River
Bridge, the west end of the span appeared in the 1939 classic
film "The Grapes of Wrath.” This was the scene were Grandpa dies
and is buried.
Geary was able to hold on, Bridgeport died and today is little more than a ghost town. Although
Bridgeport is still called home to a few residents, all of its
businesses have long past their prime. Here, you have several
great photograph opportunities at the First Methodist Church, built in
1907; the fading remains of the old post office; rusty water tower;
and an abandoned motel and café at the intersection with N2590 Road.
Abandoned service station in
The Road Wanderer
continue the short thirteen miles to Hydro,
Route 66 winds through the
Oklahoma countryside where
you can see multiple old bridges along this stretch of the old road.
Established in 1901,
Hydro was named for its abundance
of good well water. The town grew with an economic base of
agriculture but really began to bustle as
Route 66 came through town. The
Mother Road skirts the
southern edge of the community, but taking the time to see
Hydro’s downtown district will reward you with several vintage peeks,
Route 66 Soda Fountain, where
you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time and the Graffiti Grill,
featuring a restored 1940 purple Cadillac out front. Both businesses
are located on
Hydro’s Main Street. Another stop is the Johnson Peanut Company,
located at the intersection of Highway 68 and
Route 66. This place has
been doing business for more than 60 years along the old highway, offering
every kind of peanut, peanut candy, and peanut oil available. Try the hot
and spicy peanuts as you take a tour through this historic facility.
Lucille Hamons' Station in
November, 2005, Kathy Weiser. This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
Hydro is Lucille Hamons’ Station, for which
Hydro is best known. Built in 1927 by Carl Ditmore, Carl and
Lucille Hamons bought the gas station and auto court in 1941. However, their timing wasn’t very good as World War II started just two
months after they purchased the property. Carl began hauling hay to the
northern states to support the family and Lucille learned how to pump gas,
change headlights and fix flat tires.
The Hamons lived at the station in quarters
located behind and above the business. In addition to taking care of
her three children, Lucille also maintained the seven cabins, doing the
wash in an old wringer washing machine.
On January 31, 1971, Carl Hamons died and Lucille was left
alone to run the business. Before long, I-40 would arrive through
Route 66 off the maps. Many of the old businesses died, but Lucille, who had long tended to
travelers of the
Mother Road, hung on.
In the 1990s, when
Route 66 began to see a revival,
Lucille was made famous and dubbed "The Mother of the
Mother Road." In
July, 1997, Lucille’s station was placed on the National Historic Register
and in 1999, Lucille received the
Route 66 Hall of Fame Award.
to run the store until the day she died, 59 years after buying the
property. Mrs. Hamons died on August 18, 2000, but is lovingly
remembered by the many long time travelers of
Today, this classic
old gas station is only one of two upper-story over style stations left on
Route 66. Route 66 enthusiast
Rick Koch shored up the gas station building in 2007 as a photo-op and
built the popular Lucille's Roadhouse restaurant in nearby Weatherford in
you continue your journey west towards
Weatherford at night, keep your
eyes open because legend has it that this part of the old
is haunted by an elderly humped back man. Said to appear in a
brown trench coat, wearing a Bogie style hat pulled down over his
eyes, he has often been spotted walking along the old highway,
especially on foggy or rainy nights. Reportedly, one person
picked this old figure up one wet night and the eerie little man
wouldn't talk to him. Soon, the vagabond tried to jump out of
the moving car. The driver pulled over to the side and let him
out only to spot the man walking again several miles ahead of the
driver on down the road. Another person said that they thought they
had hit the man with their vehicle but when they stopped to check on
him, no one was there.
Do you believe it?
Keep your eyes peeled!
updated March, 2013 with additional edits by Ron Warnick, Route 66 News.
courtesy Route 66
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