Sunday, February 13, 2011

Downtown Frederick in the '60s

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.


  1. I am a native of Tillman County. My great-grandfather acquired land in the Oklahoma lottery. I love reading all this history. Both of my parents were born and raised there. Bobby Perkins Jr. and Donna Lewis. I am writing a book about my grandmother and her sisters growing up on the Red River in the 1930's. I love to come to these pages. My granddad Jack Lewis coached girls basketball in Frederick for over 30yrs. and my grandmother Freeda Washburn Lewis still lives there today. Thanks for all the info!! I love it and it is helping sooo much.

  2. This was so wonderful to see these pictures.I am trying to find as much as I can about the history of Frederick, Oklahoma, and when I can, I want to go to Frederick and look up articles in the archives of the Frederick Leader. Both of my parents were from Frederick and my Grandfather and Grandmother moved there (I think)before the 20's. My Grandfather on my Mother's side was the president of one of the banks before the depression. In the 60's my sisters, cousins, and I would visit my Grandmother, and drag main. We passed all these businesses. When I know more about the history of my family in Frederick, I would love to get back with you. Linda Otey ( My Grandfather was J.D. Moore, and my other Grandfather lived there also. His name was Benton Parris.

  3. I am the grandson of F.P. Fry Sr. and son of Dr. F.P. Fry, Jr. and Dorothy Sims Fry. Hardee Joe Crudup's daughter is looking for pix of her Dad's Crescent Drug in the 50's. My email is If you have a log in for this link contains valuable history of's an interview done in 1937 with Polk Fry, Sr. (partners with Joe Crudup in Crescent Drug).

    Francis Polk Fry - Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian and Pioneer Historical Collection, 1937