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Archive for July, 2022

Richardson Building

Sad to say but Oklahoma has a problem with tearing down and ignoring history. On Friday July 22, 2022, Union City lost one of the oldest buildings in town- the Richardson Building. I loved driving through Union City just to see this 112-year-old building standing quietly on the corner.

Founded in 1900, Dr. David Richardson bought the bank in 1906. The bank got its new building in 1910 at the northeast corner of Division St and Main St. (now Kate Boevers Ave.). Built across from the school, this building not only housed the bank on the corner but to the east was a hardware store that later became a grocery. The building suffered a fire in the interior in 1928 and was rebuilt. It was used as a bank until 1977 when a new building was constructed on Highway 81. The old building then sat vacant for many years. It was added to the National Register of Historic Properties in 1983.

The town on Union City was founded on April 10, 1894. Dr. David Richardson moved to town not long after to establish his medical practice. He not only was the town doctor, and later banker, but served as postmaster for Union City. He was appointed as State Bank Commissioner by Governor E.W. Marland in 1938 and served 1 year.

As I stated, this building has been abandoned since at least 1977, it was a cool building but also old and falling apart. I had heard rumors on July 22, 2022, that it would be demolished that day, I waited for a few days before I drove to Union City. There was just a dusty concrete pad where the 112-year-old Richardson Building had sat, another historical building gone.

These pics I took in Aug 2016. As time went on, more things were missing such as the arrow sign.

These pics were taken July 2022. You can see the brick footing for the building.

Coffee Corner: 918 Coffee

During a recent trip to Tulsa, we decided that we wanted to try something different for breakfast. It was this desire for difference that led us to 918 Coffee. I ordered a ham and cheddar bagel sandwich and a hot Heath Bar Latte. The bagel sandwich was perfectly toasted and provided the morning fuel that I needed for the rest of our trip. The latte was warm and satisfying, and the baristas even took the time to create a latte art leaf on the top. It was called a Heath Bar Latte as it tasted like a Heath Bar. I highly recommend 918 Coffee to anyone in the Tulsa area. Written by Mae.

From the backseat Mae suggested this place and her dad was a second on this, so I turned the Jeep around and we stopped. Located in an old service station right along Historic Route 66, I was pleasantly surprised. You can go in either the older section or through what was once huge garage doors. Up to the counter where the young ladies working there were super friendly. We all got bagel sandwiches with ham and cheddar. Miss Mae got the latte while me and Big K wanted something cooler. We both went with frappes, I had a peppermint patty and he had a Reese’s peanut butter. They were really good, mine was cool and minty, perfect for the hot day ahead. The sandwiches were also really good, toasted. The atmosphere was great for automobile history fans like us (Big K is also a mechanic so he loves this stuff), sitting in the old bays of the shop. They also had nice automobilia with signs and an old tool cabinet. The entrance was built in 1928, with the shop part built in 1946. It became a coffee shop in 2013. Just really cool to sit on Route 66 and eat in a former gas station and auto shop. I will go back the next time I’m in Tulsa. 5 strips of bacon.

Address: 2446 E. 11th St., Tulsa.

Center of the Universe

So I like to visit silly places and tourist attractions. Some live up to the hype, some don’t. The Center of the Universe in Tulsa sounds silly and a waste of time but in reality, it was cool.

First up is to find parking near the attraction, looks like parking is free on weekends and at night. You can park near the Union Depot, in one of the parking garages or just on the street. You then walk up onto the bridge that goes over the railroad tracks. When you get to the brick circle you are there, no signs or anything to point it out. Just go and stand in the center of the brick circle and speak. Sounds like you’re in a tunnel or in a pipe with the echo. I was skeptical at first but it really is strange. Just stand there and start talking, you will hear yourself. You can still hear those outside the circle and they can hear you.

No one is really sure why this happens, the bridge was reconstructed in 1983 after a fire damaged the original bridge. It wasn’t designed to be an “acoustic anomaly” but for some reason it is. Many people have theories, nothing scientifically proven. On the south side of the circle is a statue called The Artificial Cloud by Robert Haozous, it was placed there in 1991. It just seems to help with the eeriness of the location. If you’re in Tulsa this is a good place for a short side trip. Also it’s free unless you have to pay to park. Shouldn’t take any longer than 15 minutes unless there’s a crowd.

Address: 1 S Boston Ave., Tulsa.

Food Friday: Birdie’s Fried Fried Chicken

Yes you are reading my title correctly- Birdie’s Fried Fried Chicken just opened in N Oklahoma City or West Edmond, which ever map you’re looking at, a few months ago and it’s really good. Now why is fried in the name twice, because the chicken is twice-fried. This concept is common in Korean cooking and is just getting a foothold in this country.

We stopped by a few weekends ago since I had heard so many good things about it. Got right in with no problem, even had a nice table in the back. Our order was taken quickly, we did wait about 10 minutes for the food to come out, which wasn’t so bad since they were busy. We got cheddar chive biscuits and mac and cheese bites for the table with Big K getting his chicken with the chile garlic honey and I went with the og parm. Started on the mac and cheese bites first, these were good, run of the mill though, I just would have liked more flavor to them. Then we tried the biscuits, I liked these much better. Add the butter and honey that they come with, they are great. Lots of flavor all while being light and buttery. Then we tackled our chicken. I had never tried chicken that had been fried twice but it was really good. I liked the flavor even without the seasoning. The chicken itself was very juicy and the breading had a really good flavor. My “dry” seasoning of parmesan was really good as was Big K’s “wet” seasoning with the chile garlic honey. I tried a bite of his and didn’t notice the heat but he said that it kicks in later. There was plenty of food for the two of us and we walked away with stuffed bellies.

I’m ready to go back and try some of their other offerings soon. I’ll give them 5 strips of bacon.

Address: 2201 NW 150th St. Suite 200, Oklahoma City.

Coffee Corner: Starbucks (OU Student Union)

Starbucks is a classic in the coffee shop community. With hundreds of stores across the country, they are dedicated to serving quality coffee to their customers and creating new and trendy products for them to try. I personally am a regular at the Starbucks in the OU Student Union. This store recently moved to a new, larger location, as their previous store was small and cramped, not good for all of the students waiting to order. Their new location is larger than any Starbucks I have personally ever been in, with carved wooden seats and glass walls giving a view into the primary hallway of the Student Union. My personal order is always the Crispy Grilled Cheese, which has a mix of cheeses on sourdough bread, topped with a layer of crispy baked cheese. My usual drink is a simple mocha, which is sweeter than any other coffee shop I have been to. I’m there so often they know my name and start preparing my order before I even get to the counter. They offer all of the typical items on the Starbucks menu, and their friendly staff is ready to serve whatever you are feeling that day. This is only a review for the Starbucks at the Student Union of the University of Oklahoma. Not all are the same and there are many locations to choose from now. Written by Mae.

Fat Okie Far from Home: Needles Highway

I love living in Oklahoma, been here my whole life and my family has been here for 5 generations, but if I were to move, it would be to the Black Hills of South Dakota. So beautiful there, mountains, streams, and lots of wildlife. We first visited this area in 2011, I hated leaving and have wanted to go back for many years. I finally got my wish this past May, we packed my little Jeep and headed north. Once there, I found many fun things to do but the one I liked best was taking on the Needles Highway.

I normally hate being on curvy mountain roads, Big K has always driven and I sat in the passenger seat, taking pictures and looking down the side of the mountain. We’ve done several roads like this- the Blue Ridge Parkway and Route 66 to Oatman AZ are 2 that I really hated. But this time was different, I drove. I don’t drive on vacation since we have always taken Big K’s vehicles but this time we took my new Jeep and I wanted to drive. The long stretches of interstate were boring but when I got into the mountains, it was different. I had to pay attention to the curves and where the side of the road was, plus make sure I could squeeze through the one-lane tunnels.

Beaver Creek Bridge, South Dakota
Bison on the side of South Dakota State Highway 87

Officially this is South Dakota State Highway 87, it starts at the junction with US 385 and heads north into Custer State Park. This part is the calm before the storm- yes there are plenty of hairpin turns and the 1-lane Beaver Creek bridge (built in 1929) but it’s really not so bad. Goes through some nice rolling hills with plenty of wildlife. Nothing like coming around a curve and seeing a huge male bison on the side of the road. I even stopped to enjoy the beautiful mountain streams that flow through the area. Eventually you intersect with US 16A, just head east with a stop at Legion Lake, then another mile to go back north.

Legion Lake, Custer State Park, South Dakota
French Creek, Custer State Park, South Dakota

Now you are more into the mountains, lots more curves until you eventually get to the first tunnel. The Iron Creek tunnel is 1-lane (8 feet 9 inches wide and 10 feet 10 inches tall) but not too long. You just keep going, not realizing that you are actually going up into the mountains. The first time you get to turn off and enjoy the scenery is at West Custer Township View parking lot. That’s where you can look to the north and see the “needles” that you will be driving into, literally. There are also lots of turnoffs to stop and enjoy the scenery or take a break from driving. After a short drive you find yourself in the “Cathedral Spires”. These are named because the granite formations look like spires on a cathedral. There is also a place to park for hiking the trail, looks to be about a mile and a half and listed as strenuous. I didn’t try it this time but would like to go back and attempt it. Not too far from this you get to the needles part of the road and where you go through the “Needles Eye” tunnel. This tunnel is also 1-lane and when I say that I mean it, it’s only 8 feet wide and 9 feet 9 inches tall. This is the longest of the 3 tunnels, seems like it takes forever but really maybe only a minute. Best to make sure nothing is coming through the tunnel from the opposite direction or someone will have to backup. It’s tight but honestly thrilling to drive through. Then you start down from the needles past some more trailheads to Sylvan Lake, where there is a rock formation in the lake.

Cathedral Spires, Custer State Park, South Dakota
“Needles”, Custer State Park, South Dakota
Needles Eye Tunnel, Custer State Park, South Dakota
Needles Eye Tunnel, Custer State Park, South Dakota

Just past the lake you meet up with SD Highway 89, just keep going north to experience the Hood Tunnel (8 feet 9 inches wide and 9 feet 8 inches tall) and down a bunch more switchbacks. Lots more curves finally take you back to US 385 where you can head north to Hill City or south to Custer.

Going through Hood Tunnel on the Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota

This is definitely not a drive for a beginner or someone who is afraid of driving tunnels and mountains. Also don’t take a big vehicle or try to drag a trailer through here. I’ve heard some try and they have even succeeded but it would make the drive so much more stressful. My recommendation is get a car you love and take it. I also recommend a lot of patience, put something good on the radio and leave it. Don’t be in a hurry, there are times you maybe only get up to 15mph. If you are taking kids, tell them to look out the window and be quiet. This drive is totally worth the time and effort. I’m ready to do it again.

Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park, South Dakota

A bit of history, this highway was completed in 1922. It was planned by former South Dakota governor Peter Norbeck who marked the entire course by foot and horseback. This road is closed after the first snowfall of the year and reopens in the spring.

Custer State Park, South Dakota

Coffee Corner: Einstein Bros. Bagel Company

Possibly one of my favorite coffee shops in the world is Einstein Bros Bagel Company. Years ago, the only way that I ever enjoyed Einstein Bros was from the few they sold at Target, usually the asiago flavor. I remember that my mom would buy one for each of us, and for dinner that night we would have bagel sandwiches, which I always enjoyed. When Target ceased to carry Einstein Bros, I had no way of enjoying them anymore. However, upon first visiting the location in Headington Hall at the University of Oklahoma, I immediately fell back in love. This became my regular Saturday morning breakfast, and my regular food item of choice is simple. The six-cheese bagel is rich and cheesy, crisp on the edges and melty in the middle, and is best when paired with onion and chive cream cheese (referred to on the menu as “shmear”). As far as coffee goes, I prefer either a cold brew shake or a hot mocha. A cold brew shake is similar to a Frappuchino, but due to being made with cold brew is more bitter and coffee flavored, but still much sweeter than straight cold brew. The mochas are similar to Starbucks, if a little less sweet.

Overall, I rate Einstein Bros Bagel Company 10/10. Written by Mae.

Address: 100 E Lindsey St., Norman; 6500 S MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City; 2660 E 21st. St., Tulsa; 440 s Gary Ave., Tulsa; 8125 E 101st. St., Tulsa; 7777E Apache St., Tulsa.

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