Monday, May 9, 2016

Ghost Town 2

This is the easily identifiable Oklahoma-style home of the period,
and many surviving cookie-cutter homes may still be found in almost 
any of the old towns.

The town of Lenora sprang up in the bend of the Canadian River on Cheyenne-Arapaho land when it was opened for non-Indian settlement in 1892.  The first post office appeared in 1896 when this little dot on the map was the largest town in what would become Dewey County.  By 1900, it would have a population of about 400, and at one time there was consideration of moving the county seat from Taloga to Lenora.  It then claimed a hotel, restaurant, two saloons (the mark of any successful Western town), two doctors that would make house calls night or day, three general stores, a meat market, confectionery, drugstore, hardware store, harness shop, a bank, lumberyard, a well-driller, cotton gin, gristmill, a school, churches, a weekly newspaper, and several civic organizations including the Masons, Eastern Star, Royal Neighbors, Woodsmen of the World, and Odd Fellows.  As the world marched by, Lenora withered, and even the post office left town in 1955.  At the time Morris’ book was published, the Methodist church was still in use and a gas station and garage still operated on Main Street.

One of a home's most useful tools just discarded.

There is now little evidence of any of this Land Run prosperity.  There are a couple of the old houses still standing, one of which stands by itself, while another one or two are so entangled in weeds, brush, and trees to be made unidentifiable.  The Methodist church was abandoned for a new one, and I believe we found the old garage with a painted admonition still visible on the wall to keep work areas clean.  Beyond that, even the ghosts have left town, and Lenora exists in name only.

This is the South Canadian River.

Found in the woods near the new bridge is the trestle of the original
bridge that the settlers would have used.  It is interesting in some of
these areas to find old relics.  At one site, I found the remains of the
original bridge trestle written about as the one used by covered supply
wagons carrying settlers and U.S. Army supplies from one fort to another,
like from Fort Reno to Fort Supply and beyond.  If interested, you can
read more of the Fort Supply and wagon train era in archives for June
10,11, and 12, 2012.

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