Monday, September 20, 2010

Modern Wagoneers Tour Historic Guthrie

The Modern Wagoneer Sams RV Club toured historic Guthrie, Oklahoma this past weekend. Our club is dwindling and is now down to six couples. We're in the process of a recruitment drive to find new members that share our interests. Friends and relatives with RVs are encouraged to join and come along on our travels. Only three couples showed up for the camp out, but we kept busy and the time passed by way too fast. Here's an example of what we do!

Bill and Phyllis Haivala served as Wagon Masters this trip and did an excellent job of planning a fun-filled weekend. We sat up camp at Cedar Valley RV Park Resort on Highway 33 just west of Guthrie. The park is adjacent to beautiful Cedar Valley Golf Club and sports its own par-3 golf course.

The RV Park is on a hill top and gets a nice breeze throughout the day.

We began Friday morning with Bill and Phyllis treating us to coffee and donuts for breakfast. We later met for lunch at El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, then toured the Oklahoma Territorial Museum.

While at the museum, Susan discovered the published list of the original 1889 Oklahoma Land Run homesteaders. She scrolled down the list until she found one of her ancestors, "Isabella Jones," who was Susan's Great, Great Grandmother. She also found the name of "Caleb Magill," who may or may not have been related to me. Who knows? Nevertheless, it's interesting!

Afterwards, we all returned to the RV Park and prepared for dinner. Phyllis made wonderful potato salad, baked beans, and cole slaw, and Floyd and Joyce Cook provided hamburger patties that Floyd cooked on his new grill. The RV Park provided us with a meeting room that contained a full kitchen and private bathroom. Following dinner, the meeting room doubled for a game room and Susan and I learned how to pay "Hand & Foot."

We gathered Saturday morning for another round of coffee and donuts and discussed the previous evening's card game, which kept us up till 2:00 A.M. While planning the day's tour, we were treated to a visit from an unexpected guest. Duffy Martin is the owner of Cedar Valley RV Park Resort and a PGA Champion golfer. Duffy has built a number of golf courses including the Cedar Valley Golf Club. Duffy is now 94years young and is offering his RV Park for sale at a mere $750,000. Duffy is quite the character and we all enjoyed his visit. For a brief, but interesting, article on Duffy, visit

The picture above left is Phyllis, Bill, Duffy and Susan. Above right is a picture of Duffy in the early 1960s seated across from Jackie Kennedy and Peter Lawford.

We later caravaned to lunch at the R&R Restaurant & Event Center, which is the former Santa Fe Train Depot of Guthrie. The old depot contains what was once "The Harvey House," an upscale restaurant designed by Fredrick Henry Harvey in the late 1800s.

Harvey was said to be "appalled by the conditions travelers endured in the United States as compared to his home country, England, where there was a long tradition of hospitality on the roads. So, he developed a restaurant that would provide a respectable, comfortable place for travelers to enjoy their meals and persuade the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe railroad line to sponsor his effort."

Harvey grew angry with the conduct of his male waiters, who would come to work drunk and fight with the customers, so he "implemented a policy of hiring only female waitresses" called "Harvey Girls." The waitresses had to endure very strict rules, including 10:00 P.M. curfew, official starched black and white uniforms, "Elsie" collars, black stockings and black shoes. Their hair had to be "restrained in a net and tied with a regulation white ribbon, and makeup was prohibited." Harvey died in 1901, but the Harvey Houses and Girls thrived into the 1940s. As trains became faster and automobiles became the preferred mode of transportation, the Harvey Houses eventually disappeared and all were gone by 1960 (R&R Restaurant & Event Center advertising brochure).

Lunch at the R&R was wonderful and I would recommend it if you visit Guthrie! Sue and I are certain to dine there again. We then headed over to Downtown Guthrie and visited the "State Capital Publishing Museum."

The State Capital Publishing Company building was constructed in 1902 and is listed on the "National Register of Historic Places." Frank Hilton Greer, founder of State Capital Publishing Company, was said to have published the first newspaper in Oklahoma. Greer was also elected to the Territorial House of Representatives and designated the official printer of the territory by Territorial Governor W.C. Renfrow.

We then caught the trolley and toured the historical neighborhoods of Guthrie. Many of the turn-of-the-century homes are still beautiful, but other homes in the area are dilapidated and in need of repair.

Later that evening, we were joined by Rosie Wagner. Her friend, Gene Holm, was visiting friends and relatives in Washington State and unable to attend the camp out. But we were all glad to see Rosie. We enjoyed a final evening meal together at "The Stables Cafe," then returned to the RV Park for a game of cards.

Suz and I are headed for Wichita Falls to visit Katherine, followed by a trip to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. We'll be posting as we go!

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