October 15, 1996
Mary Witter recently let me look at some mementos that came from her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Enright, and her uncle, Barney Enright, the pioneer Perry photographer. Among the collection was a story written in longhand, titled "Radio Mixup." The writer's name is not given, but a note at the bottom indicates the little piece was provided "compliments of radio station KCRC, Enid." This probably originated in the early 1930s when radio was still a newfangled gadget and KCRC, with studios in the Youngblood Hotel, was very popular in this area. Here's the story:
"It was a radio mixup that caused the following experience for a man who had just installed a radio. He tuned in, getting three stations on the same wave length. One was a minister, one was a man giving the conditions of the road, and the third was a lecturer on poultry. This is what he heard:
"The Old Testament tells us that baby chicks should detour one mile south to Salina and listen to the words of the prophets. Be careful in the selections of your eggs, and you will find hard surfaced roads on to Garden City. We find in Genesis that roads are muddy just west of the hen house and clean straw is essential if you would save your soul.
"After passing through Leavenworth, turn north to Jericho. Three wise men bought a large sized incubator on account of a bad detour. The baby chicks were troubled with pip and a bond issue is being talked of in the Holy Land. Keep the feet dry and clean, live a life of righteousness, and turn south one mile west of the schoolhouse. Much care should be exercised in commanding the sun to stand still, as there is a washout just south of Paola, and the road to salvation is under repair, making it necessary for 70 degrees in the brooder house at all times.
"After you leave Winfield, unless you do these things, the wrath of the Lord will cause the pin feathers to fall out and detour one mile south. Many are called but few have any luck unless the road between Topeka and Lawrence is mixed with the feed. Out of 500 eggs, one should get good roads from Coffeyville to Tulsa and he commanded Noah to build the ark just one mile west of Wichita. It rained 40 days and 40 nights and caused an eight-mile detour, just west of the brooder house. Many tourists from the House of David are trying the Plymouth Rocks mixed with concrete and a desire to do right!"
I think that's still a good story after all these years, and worth a few chuckles. Thanks to Mary Witter for passing it along.
From the same bag of goodies came several old Perry newspapers, some dating back 65 years. One of these was from December 13, 1933, containing a front page story about the oil boom then underway in Noble county. The article, headlined "County Field Is Leading In State Secondary Areas," went on to say: "The Lucien field in the southwestern part of Noble county was rated this week as the leading secondary field in the state by the state corporation commission, which set the potential of 12 producers in the field at 43,517 barrels per day.... Wells included in the potential rating making the county field the leading secondary field in the state are the No. 1 Whitten, No. 1 Jerome, No. 1 Wolff, No. 1 Ed Farr, No. 1 Miller, No. 1 J. Bolay A, No. 1 Magey, No, 1 Schonwald, No. 1 Webber, No. 2 Webber, all Shell Petroleum company tests; and the Stanolind No. 1 Belay and the Minnehoma No. 2 Schonwald."
The article also noted that the Lucien field had seen a rapid growth since the first well, the No. 1 Wolff discovery, was brought in for a producer by oilman L.W. Wentz of Ponca City, and others, in the fall of 1932. Of those completed, all but five had been producers, ranging in production from 100 barrels per day to 10,000 barrels per day.
Such stories help us remember one of the major oil booms experienced by Noble county at a time when wells were being drilled feverishly in this area and fabulous riches reportedly were being reaped by some. Such boom times, of course, were invariably followed by busts, with concurrent emotional and financial letdowns. Those were the days, weren't they?