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March 9, 2005

Answering unanswered questions

It's time to tackle a couple of unanswered questions that have been accumulating lately. Here's the first one:

Don Stoddard writes - "I've asked this question before and am still awaiting an answer. In The First Generation a ‘Harvey House’ is listed under Restaurants, with no address. However, in a recent edition of The Daily Oklahoman Perry is not listed as one of the towns having a Harvey House in Oklahoma. Could the one in Perry have been an eating place operated by someone with the name of Harvey?"

Don is very interested in the early-day history of Perry and I can understand his frustration. Information about that period of time is rather sketchy, as you might imagine, and almost non-existent in this case. I really have no answer for his inquiry, but through the years I have heard several individuals talking about a "Harvey House" located here in the early days. There were hotels near the Santa Fe Railroad station and I am sure that travelers who stayed there needed something to eat, and the Harvey Houses were created for that purpose. Incidentally, I had a cousin who served tables at a Harvey House (not in Perry) and, of course, Judy Garland made the chain famous in one of her movies. Does anyone have the answer to Don's question?

Here's a related question from the same inquirer, Don Stoddard: "It looks like we are going to lose the 'Heartland Flyer' passenger train and it will never be able to come north through Perry. (It now serves the Oklahoma City-Fort Worth corridor.) As a lover and enthusiast of trains, especially the old steam engines and the heavy loads they pulled, this makes me sad. I wonder now what will happen to the old train depot that was once our Santa Fe Depot in the heyday of the passenger trains. It is already slowly crumbling and it looks sad sitting there. Will it go the way of the old Frisco Depot, which should have been preserved and made into a museum? I hope something can be done to save the little depot that now belongs to BNSFRR!"

If you can help Don out on these inquiries, contact him and share the information. For now, let's turn briefly to a different subject. The other night I was surfing channels in hopes of finding something worth watching (hah!). Instead, I turned to the OETA channel in Oklahoma City and stumbled onto their annual on-the-air fund-raiser. You know, when they practically get down on their knees and plead for public subscriptions to pay for the shows they plan to give us in the upcoming months, whether we contribute or not.

I have no personal objection to this sort of thing, although I wish it would terminate in short order, but this one began with a movie that was specially made, we were told, to lure business to come to Oklahoma. Good. We have raised plenty of outstanding people, but my beef concerns one who is consistently overlooked when the discussion gets around to famous people who came from Oklahoma. They again left out Buster Keaton, who had a very authentic background in this state (and in Perry) and should have been listed with Will Rogers, and other luminaries. When will people in charge of such stuff wake up to reality.