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OKC: 1942

October 1942. "Oklahoma City, Oklahoma." An aerial view of West California (seeds) and West Reno (Fords). Acetate negative by John Vachon, Office of War Information. View full size.

October 1942. "Oklahoma City, Oklahoma." An aerial view of West California (seeds) and West Reno (Fords). Acetate negative by John Vachon, Office of War Information. View full size.


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Myriad Gardens

The Fred Jones automobile dealership was located at 220 West Reno Avenue. The street on the left side of the picture, running perpendicular to Reno and California in this 1942 view, was South Robinson Avenue (now renamed Ron Norwick Boulevard). None of the buildings seen in this 1942 photo stand today. What was then California Avenue is now the center of Myriad Gardens. Vachon's camera was pointed south-southeast. The picture was probably taken from atop the Biltmore Hotel building, which had stood along the south side of Grand Avenue (now Sheridan Avenue) on land also now part of the Myriad Gardens' site. The Fred Jones property on the south side of Reno Avenue was also cleared-off during the "urban renewal" of the 1960s. It remains privately owned land -- still vacant -- still pending development.

Seedin' and feedin'

From the store names, it looks like there's a whole lotta seedin' and feedin' goin' on.


Good location for a Ford Seedsons.

Fidelity Hotel

One can only hope that it was the opposite of Infidelity Hotel ... but it doesn't look promising.

Meanwhile Doug Floor Plan mentioned "that new Hilton" ... that would be the now-historic Skirvin Hilton, where my husband and I were guests in March of 2022. It just happened to be my sixty-fifth birthday and I marched (because that's what you do in March) right up to the desk and told them so. We had reservations that would have suited us just fine, but instead they bumped us up to the Presidential Suite. True story. It was fun.

Most Cars I've Seen in an Old Photo

I can't recall ever seeing an old photo (pre 1970s?) with so many parked cars lining the streets. There are practically no available parking spots in view! That's always been a marvel to me: how *empty* of cars streets were in the old days, how much available parking there was, and how free-flowing the traffic was, compared to now. Meanwhile, I spot only two pedestrians; whereas, in most old photos of city scenes the sidewalks are bustling with folks on foot. Odd. (Or have I just not been paying attention?) (No smart-aleck editors' remarks, please; I'm simply baffled by a pattern that doesn't compute with my usual viewing of Shorpy city scenes.)

Car lot with a view

According to the Automotive Hall of Fame, of which he is a member, Fred Jones was once the nation's number-one seller of Ford cars and trucks. He had so many cars to sell, he put them on the roof -- something I don't think I've ever seen before.

Not necessarily sketchy, but --

Between Horn, Miller, Superior, Grisham and Merit, the street in the foreground is definitely the "seedy" part of town.

How did this not become a nationwide chain?

I was surprised to see a lodging named Fidelity Hotel. I guess it was the owner's way of letting the public know there would be no hanky-panky going on here. Take your sinful ways to that new Hilton ... they're bound to fail.

The hotel and everything in the photo is gone. This section of West California Street was replaced by the block engulfing Myriad Botanical Gardens.

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