Washington or Main Street

Click on any image to enlarge and see the slide show. Read some words about Ryan’s Main Street from an interview with Laura below the images.

The building of The Parlor was a funeral home, the owner Mr. Grantham sold insurance alongside. This was not a small town to me growing up. There where lots of people in the street here on Saturdays. Living on the countryside, Ryan seemed like a big town to me. It was only about 1200 people, but all the business where open these days. Bartling insurance is a company out of Waurika, ten miles away. “Funeral home” is in very small letters and “Bartling insurance” is in huge letters. The building did not have a brick storefront at first. When they modernized this part of the street they covered up large parts of the fronts with sheet metal. It was probably all sand stone, like the other buildings down the road on this side, now empty.

The town’s businesses almost did run along main street until the water tower on the other side of Route 81, long before my time. I love the brick street, it adds so much to our little town. There is not really many businesses open now, a flower shop with a connected beauty shop. A feed and hardware store, that’s it. 

It was a booming little town back in the fifties. Everyone came to town to do their weekly shopping. Get your shoes fixed or whatever you needed. There were jewelers stores here and shops for everything for your body, like clothes, shoes. Things for your house you got at Brown Brothers, a family owned business. There were many grocery stores, two drugstores, a lumber yard. 

The people of the Chickasaw nation built that house at the corner, it was their federal court house before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. It had two storeys, they got the sand rock from west of town here. Later, they took the second storey off, I don’t know why they did it. 

A man called Hersh had a workshop in the house with the large windows at the opposite corner. My husband said about hin: “Hersh could fix anything under the sun, except a broken heart.” The owner is repairing old cars in there today. On the side of the building is a painted Coca-Cola advertisement, covered by another one. We couldn’t figure it out close enough to repaint it. Someone should get in touch with them to ask them if they would do it, because they fixed one Comanche, an old Dr. Pepper ad. It looks brand new now.

The painting is on the side of what used to be Armstrong Grocery Store, which we tried to rebuild in the Parlor, at least its interior. That’s where my mother used to shop most of the time. There were four or five grocery stores downtown. A man from Bowie, Texas, came and did the painting on that framework. People donated to have their name, their brand put on the cattle and the horses out in this painting of rural Oklahoma. It shows the gateway to Oklahoma along the Chisholm Trail. It got really faded over time, the painter did not put a sealer on it. Many of his paintings in Bowie disappered, too. One of the daughters of a man who lived all his live in Ryan wanted to donate her time to repaint it and bring back some of the original color to it. The Chisholm trail actually did not lead through town, it run somewhere to the east.

Enter The Parlor and meet Laura, her daughter and their friends in the Front Office.