Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
November 10, 2009
|100 Block of Frederick's West Grand Avenue in the 1960s|
|200 Block of Frederick's West Grand Avenue in the 1960s|
Photos Capture Downtown Frederick in 1960s
Many of us remember downtown Frederick as a place that was quite different in the past than it is today.
Two pictures in the historical society’s archives capture Frederick’s downtown during the 1960s. Both photos were taken by the late Madge Cohea Dombrowski who, along with her sister Norene Cohea Armour, took pictures of Frederick and Tillman County for decades as the owners of Cohea Studio.
Businesses on the north side of the 200 block of West Grand, as captured in the photo, included Langston’s Drug Store, Cassidy Finance, Curtis Café, McHugh Sporting Goods, Brown’s Appliance Store, and Frederick Hardware.
Langston’s Drug, a longtime Frederick drug store, was actually Langston-McFall Drug. Howard and Ruth Langston were the original owners. Jack and Nadine McFall became partners in the operation in about 1954.
The building at 207 West Grand that is currently occupied by KYBE/KTAT Radio appears to be empty and under renovation when the photo was taken. In the 1960s, the station was KTAT-AM only. Before moving to 207 West Grand, the station was located in the Hotel Frederick.
Curtis Café was a Frederick institution that was operated by the Curtis family beginning in 1917. It was a popular Frederick restaurant for 70 years.
Note that downtown Frederick still used parking meters in the 1960s and that many of the downtown businesses had TV antennas mounted on the roof of their business. Cable television would not come to Frederick until 1976.
Out of camera range at right of the photo (and not pictured) were Oklahoma Tire and Supply and the Corner Drug Store.
The photo of the 100 block of West Grand, taken on a Sunday when the streets were empty, captures offices of the Tillman County Farm Bureau (located at the corner of 9th and Grand), Rex E. Curtis and Son Menswear, Sam Dennis’ barber shop, State Farm Insurance, the Montgomery Ward catalogue store, Crescent Drug Store, and Norwoods Department Store.
To the right and out of camera range was the Dillingham Building which included Hughes Jewelry Store.
From the photographer’s position on the south side of the street, the overhanging Bumpas Drug Store sign is barely captured in the picture.
Norwood family had operated stores in Tillman County since 1903, establishing the Frederick store in 1941. It was closed in 1971.
The Montgomery Ward catalogue store was operated in the 1960s by the Gebert family and was a busy place. The Montgomery Ward building had originally housed the OKLA Theater, one of three Frederick movie theaters.