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May 21, 1995

Postcard of the Planters Hotel about 1908
The Planters Hotel, about 1908, in Perry. Do you have any information about this place? See today’s Northwest Corner below.

Today we're looking for a little information. Maybe you can help. Please read on.

Clarence and Jean Koch have a five-cent token that can be used to purchase a fountain drink or merchandise from "Young's Drug Store" in Perry. Trouble is, that store has been gone for perhaps 70 or 80 years. Does anyone know where it was located or who ran the business? The Kochs acquired the token in a purchase they made at the recent Paul W. Cress estate sale and they're curious about the store, not that they expect to get a free Coke or anything.

Clarence's father, Clarence Koch Sr., was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps detachment which built our Perry CCC Park back in 1934. The story of that park was the subject of a recent series in this column. Perhaps there are other families out there who had relatives in the CCC here. Information about them would be welcome.

Clarence Sr. and Bernard Schwartz were young men here in the 1930s and they were good friends. Jean Koch says the two of them brought pine seedlings to Perry to be planted at CCC Park during the time work was underway there, although Bernard himself was not in the CCC. No one is quite certain where the seedlings came from. Clarence and Bernard later were co-workers on the Perry Stadium when it was built in the late 1930s by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), and they also were fellow officers in the Perry police department years after that.

The Kochs also acquired a copy of the 1922 Perry high school yearbook, "Peroma," from the estate sale. Jean says it contains pictures and several references to an organization called "the Bullers," which apparently was for high school boys of that era. Anyone know something about that group?

Speaking of old-time Perry drug stores, Paul and Sandy Morrow found an antique glass prescription bottle recently with the name "Hutchinson's Drug Store" embossed on it. The store is believed to have been on the west side of the square approximately where the Royce Hobbs law office is now located at 319 Seventh street. Perhaps some reader can shed a bit of light on that store. Sandy found an ad for the store in a Perry newspaper dated in 1918, so it was in business then.

A 1917 issue of the Perry Republican states that at that time, the only two drug stores were the South Side Pharmacy, operated by Everett Nelson and Ralph Foster Sr., and the City Drug Store, operated by my dad, Fred W Beers. Mr. Foster later opened his own store, the Corner Drug, on the east side where Mr. and Mrs. Mike Shannon now operate the business but we're in need of some information about the Young store and the Hutchinson store

I am also seeking a few details about the Planters Hotel, which was located here in the early 1900s, probably around 1908. A friend has loaned me a picture postcard showing the hotel but bearing no additional information. The photo shows a three-story building of interesting design, with balconies facing the street on the second and third levels, and twin cupolas framing a double-arched roof flanked by a flat roof section over bay windows leading onto the balconies. White railings were provided for the safety of hotel guests who cared to sit on the verandas on a pleasant summer evening.

According to Judge E. W. Jones' "Early Day History of Perry, Oklahoma," the Planters was on the north side of Cedar street about where the Sheets family plumbing business is now located. Judge Jones, in his book, said the hotel occupied two lots and was originally known as the Perry Hotel, with Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Stahl as proprietors and Tommy Finn as "desk sergeant." At some point the frame building was destroyed by fire. If anyone can shed further light on this hotel or any of the matters discussed above, I will appreciate hearing from you.