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 Post subject: Ghost town of Avery, Oklahoma
PostPosted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 pm30 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20th, 2011 pm31 10:33 pm
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Location: Ralston, Oklahoma
Originally settled in the 1890s, the small community south of present day Cushing, Oklahoma was called Mound City. With the arrival of the railway, George Castiller deeded land for a town site and the town was plotted in 1901. Selecting the name Avery, named after a local railroad official, he town was officially established in September of 1902 with the opening of its post office. Roads were poor at best, and at the time, no large towns existed in the immediate area. Ironically, the poor transportation was one of the primary reasons for Avery's early success. Avery never experienced the rapid growth of the boom towns, but became a thriving community in the early part of the 20th century.

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The Krogmans, one of the original founding families.

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Due to its rail access, it became a key agricultural and shipping center, moving large amounts of cattle, hogs, wheat, cotton, poultry and other agricultural products from a large surrounding area. It was not uncommon to see as many as one hundred twenty-five cotton wagons during one day at the peak of the cotton season. Four passenger trains a day passed through Avery and the railroad also brought in much needed items, such as seed, coal and machinery.

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At one time, this small town boasted at least two grocery stores, two cafes, a millinery and dress shop, barber shop, hotel, two churches, drugstore, grain elevator, cotton gin, lumber yard, blacksmith shop, saloon, meat market and livery stable. One could buy milk, butter and eggs from individual homes. Initially, Avery had no school building, so children walked to a school district one mile east of town, known as Pleasant View. Avery's first school house was built in 1907 and served until it was replaced by a built WPA school in 1938. Avery had two banks during its existance. The Citizens Bank, which later moved to the oil boom town of Shamrock (now also a ghost town) on January, 11th, 1916, and the First State Bank of Avery, voluntarily liquidated on May 5th, 1935.

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Mail was delivered via three rural routes delivered by horse drawn mail hack, The brothers Oscar and Bruner Hoyt, owned the saloon, which was probably the most frequently visited establishment in town. The towns two hotels were in constant competition so a person could get a hotel room and breakfast for fifty cents, or a home cooked meal for twenty five cents. The Matthews hotel also had a Mad Stone, which was used for people suspected of being bitten by a rabid dog. I'd never heard of such a thing, but apparently they've been around for centuries. A Mad Stone is a stoney concretion, essentially a hair ball, taken from the stomach of a deer. Freaky. For more, go here: http://thelibrary.org/lochist/periodica ... /su83k.htm

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There was a dance hall above the drug store and dances and magic lantern shows were held on Saturdays. Magic Lanterns were sort of a combination of an overhead projector and viewmaster. If you know what a viewmaster was, you're showing your age.

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Beginning in 1913-14, the first automobiles began showing up and service stations and garages, along with horseless carriages, eased out the livery stable business. The general merchandise store owned by G. A. Robertson was just that. One could buy anything from fresh meat to hardware items, from toothpicks to funeral services. General merchandise stores of the day were kind of the local Wal-Mart, except the service was better.

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The town began a rapid decline in the depression years. Oil had been discovered nearby, but Avery never experienced any benefit. About the only full time work was as a section hand on the railroad or part time with the Works Progress Administration. Many young men joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. The new WPA built in 1938 did little to restore the town. Overuse of the soil and lack of fertilizers resulted in lower crop productions and many of the farms consolidated and returned to pasture. The nearby oil booms now meant much larger towns now surrounded Avery, attracting away people in search of jobs.

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The post office closed in 1957 and little remains of the community today. In fact, if the cemetery wasn't there, it would almost be impossible to tell a town had existed at all. Standing in viewing distance the the Cushing oil tank farm, a few scattered homes, a church, the cemetery, and the old WPA school are all that remain.

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The school was built of field stone, not uncommon with many of the WPA schools, with quarried sandstone on the corners. Large windows with concrete sills face west, with smaller windows in the remainder of the building. The building has a decorative arched main entry, and three smaller entries on all sides of the building. The building had a wooden floor with a large crawl space, accessible from the rear of the building. From the concrete remnants, the playground was also in the rear of the building. A storm cellar was south of the main entrance.

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The building was originally heated by two coal stoves and had indoor plumbing. Originally abandoned in the 1960s, the school was purchased in the mid 1990s and converted to a home, so nothing of the original interior remains. It has since been abandoned again, though it did receive a new roof, which is still in good repair.

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Within about three miles of Avery was the Happy Valley School. Unlike Avery, this school district experienced direct benefits from from the Cushing oil field, and the building rellects it. The Happy Valley School, district 10, was an independant school district built in 1922 during the oil boom, and was built for the local oil field families. The school is considerably larger than the Avery school, and much more ornate. This is the same school Fiend found awhile back, and not much has changed, except perhaps even more junk is now in the school.

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The building is of red brick with some interesting accents of concrete and iron. Layout was typical, a central auditorium with wings to the left and right for grade school and high schools students, and a partial basement. Additions where added over the years, including the gymnasium, built by the WPA in 1939, about the same time the Avery school was being built. Like most of these schools, it reverted to a grade school for several years before it was closed in the 1980s. The school property is now privately owned. I did catch the owner at home and he allowed me to photograph the outside but was unwilling to allow me inside as he had experienced some forced entry and theft. Forced entry I could believe, but I didn't see anything that someone would want to steal. There were "Smile for the camera" signs everywhere. Yeah, right.

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The original school was fairly intact, but the roof is leaking in the additions and gymnasium, badly in some areas, ergo the floors collapsing that Fiend mentioned. The original play ground equipment is still on the site, as well as the large storm cellar. The owners daughter said she played throughout the school as a child. She thought it was the ultimate play house.

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 Post subject: Re: Ghost town of Avery, Oklahoma
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 pm30 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 3rd, 2009 pm31 5:38 pm
Posts: 541
Location: The 918
Nice! I wonder where that old depot was...

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 Post subject: Re: Ghost town of Avery, Oklahoma
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22nd, 2011 pm31 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22nd, 2011 pm31 12:14 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Broken Arrow
We visited Avery while doing a "ghost town ride" last year. Here are a few of my pic's:

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