Updated 7/22 to add more background about the group and on 7/15 to add RetroMetro debut party pics

Oklahoma City has a new history kid in town … RetroMetro OKC. Click the above video for a quick preview, but see below for much greater detail. For RetroMetro OKC’s Facebook page, click here.

By the way, the musical background in the above is the 1928 tune Crazy Rhythm performed by Roger Wolfe Kahn & his orchestra.

Here is another video, this one produced by Justin Tyler Moore, Retro Metro’s outstanding web designer …

orm_01_250-1506113And here is yet another video, this one featuring the Oklahoma Railway Museum’s Chuck Shinn and RetroMetro’s web designer and one of RetroMetro’s founding members, Justin Tyler Moore (of Abandoned Oklahoma), shown on Fox News 25 on July 20, 2010. This video shows how Retro Metro OKC is working with existing Okc historical organizations to further our mutual purposes.

HOW DID THIS COME TO BE? Probably for many years, many individuals in Oklahoma City have yearned for Oklahoma City to have “a place” where our city’s history would be presented and be freely available to anyone that wants it — since such a place has heretofore never existed. The founding members of Retro Metro OKC doubtless had different paths until they eventually converged. As for me, I recall having lunch at the downtown Interurban restaurant with Blair Humphreys, Buddy Johnson, and A.J. Kirkpatrick in the summer of 2007 (I think, memory fails me, might have been 2008) at which we discussed some possibilities, but time passed without further activity. In late spring 2009, Steve Lackmeyer and others sort of pulled various threads of people together and we began to meet to consider the possibilities. New people were identified and added into the core of those people who are identified as Retro Metro “founders” and, after a year of behind-the-scenes work, Retro Metro OKC was ready to announce its first venture — the Retro Metro OKC website … notice that I said “first venture” … I’m still hoping for a physical museum down the road. The 1st press release is shown below.

Press Release, July 14, 2010

      A year-long effort to make Oklahoma City history more accessible goes public Thursday with the unveiling of Retro Metro OKC and the group’s website, www.retrometrookc.org.
      Retro Metro OKC is pending 501c3 organization whose goal is to create an online exhibit of thousands of photos and documents relating to our city’s history, culture and heritage. The website debuts with more than 1,200 such materials, and thanks to a cooperative effort with the Oklahoma Historical Society and other area historical organizations, we hope to be adding many more historical Oklahoma City images in the near future.
      Retro Metro OKC operates differently from other organizations in that we have no museum, we have no physical collections, and in most instances the materials we display remain in private ownership. In a typical situation our volunteer crews go to a home or business to scan an owner’s collection and the owner participates in the project by sharing information about the photos and documents as they are being scanned. The materials never have to leave an owner’s possession – the owner is simply asked to sign a release that allows for the materials to be displayed online.
      The owner of such materials is given a disc of the digitized images and documents – and copies also will be given to the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Metropolitan Library System to ensure they will be preserved for future generations.
      Retro Metro OKC’s founding members include historians, authors, planners, a preservation architect, a retired Greater Oklahoma City Chamber executive, a city councilman, a city clerk, business owners, graphic designers and filmmakers. Our common history is Oklahoma City history. Our youngest member is 17; our oldest members are in their 70s.
      Over the past year our members have tried to carefully assess the needs and wants of our community. In addition to creating on online display of historic materials, we’re also using our experience, talent and resources to help other history organizations. For us, we check egos at the door. It’s about the history.
      Our city’s history is waiting to be revealed and enjoyed. It resides in the photos left to us by our grandparents; it can be found in the postcards, souvenirs and letters gathering dust in the attic, in the stories of our relatives and in the archeology of old places.
      Our city’s history can only be truly appreciated and kept intact if it’s found, revealed, shared, enjoyed and passed on to future generations.
      Please feel free to visit www.retrometrookc.org and email any comments or questions to info@retrometrookc.org. The site is interactive and allows for visitors to leave comments about photos and documents as they view specific collections. Updates about our activities can be followed via our Twitter account @retrometrookc.
                  – Steve Lackmeyer, president, Retro Metro OKC

Here are a few potential Frequently Asked Questions put together by our president Lackmeyer:

Q: The membership includes popular bloggers like Doug Loudenback. Does this mean he will no longer be operating www.dougloudenback.blogspot.com?

A: Gosh no! Doug’s website has an international audience and he will be continuing to provide his own take on history, the city’s heritage and current events. Doug’s influence can be found in kindergartens where his “Oklahoma Rising” video is played in classrooms, or on the Oklahoma River Cruisers where guides share history of the city they learned from Doug’s blog. Likewise, Steve Lackmeyer and Jack Money will continue to operate www.okchistory.com, and Buddy Johnson will continue to dig into history with his Oklahoma Images collection at the downtown library. Justin Tyler Moore and Cody Cooper can hardly go a day without exploring an abandoned historic property and sharing their discoveries at www.abandonedok.com.

Q: Does one have to pay to view images at www.retrometrookc?

A: No. They are meant for viewing by the public. We also encourage people to use the photos on their own blogs and websites as long as proper credit is given to the collection’s owner.

Q: Will the images be for sale?

A: We have no such plans at this time. Anyone wishing to obtain a higher resolution version of an image should email info@retrometrookc.org to determine availability of such images (those wanting images belonging to the Oklahoma Historical Society will be directed to the museum, which sells photos for very reasonable prices).

Q: How can I get involved?

A: Look in your attic. Look in your closets. Look in your basement. What photos and materials do you have in your very own home that might make a good addition to our collections? Retro Metro OKC will also be providing updates on activities and needs as warranted.

Q: How did you get all of this work done? It must have cost a fortune.

A: Nope. We are a volunteer organization that raised no money for ourselves in getting to this point (we did help raise $5,000 to help the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society display the I.M. Pei model in May). So far our costs have been kept under $1,000 with all work paid for or performed by Retro Metro OKC members.

Q: What’s next?

A: Just wait. The fun has just begun.

Q: Can I donate?

A: Soon. We are a pending 501c3 organization. Contact us for more information.

Here’s a small taste of the kind of rare photos you can find there … click on the images for larger views …

From the Robert Allison Collection


From the W.T. Hales Collection


rmokc_debutparty_00s-2506858RETRO METRO OKC DEBUT PARTY. From 6pm – 8:30pm on July 15, Retro Metro held its coming out party. Where better a place to host the event than the restored Sieber Hotel at 1305 North Hudson and what better a hostess than Marva Ellard who did the restoration.

And, it was a fine party, indeed. I’m wholly crappy with remembering names and so while I either knew or met most of the people shown in the photos below, I apologize, very sincerely, in advance for those whose names did not stick in my memory.

Enjoy the pics … click on any for a larger view.

Katie Friddle, James & Dale Cobb
Norman Thompson
Dean Schirf, Pete White, Tiana Douglas
Dean Schirf, Pete White, Tiana Douglas
Jack Money
David Wanzer, Bradley Wynn
A.J. Kirkpatrick

Marc Weinmeister, Jack Money
Katie Friddle, Elaine Weinmeister
Norman Thompon, Elaine Allison
Blair Humphreys, Steve Mason

Bob Allison, Norman Thompson
Elaine Allison

Meg Salyer, Mickey Clagg
Brenda Johnston, Randy Johnston
Marc Weinmeister

Norman Thompson, Steve Mason
Marva Ellard

Elaine Allison, Meg Salyer
Catherine Montgomery, Sara Werneke
Steve Mason

Frances Kersey, Rachael Mosman, Bill Welge
Steve Mason, Nancy Coggins, Jim Cobb
Randy Johnston, Brenda Johnston
Steve Lackmeyer
Katie Friddle, Dean Schirf
Blair Humphreys

Catherine Montgomery, Sara Werneke
Justin Tyler Moore
Justin Tyler Moore
Meg Salyer, Bob Blackburn
Buddy Johnson, Blair Humphreys
Bunee Tomlinson, Marc Weinmeister
Justin Tyler Moore

Elaine Weinmeister, Cody Cooper
Bunee Tomlinson

Bob Blackburn, Steve Lackmeyer
Doug Loudenback


And, so, Retro Metro OKC has begun. It is still a puppy, but it is being fed well by lots of local folk who are interested in Oklahoma City history, and I predict that it will have a long and prosperous life.

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