It’s a tribute to the website’s original creator, Justin Tyler Moore, that we were able to cruise along for so long with a site that first debuted in 2010.
The site reflected its founders, a group of people with assorted backgrounds but a shared interest in making our city’s history more accessible, fun and informative.
Over the years we’ve gathered together to hear accounts of our history from those who lived it. They included the late John Belt, who pioneered the Paseo into the arts district it is today; and Jessie Coit, who shared the stories of her family’s beloved drive-in restaurants before her passing and the closing of the cafes. We visited with the family of the founders of the long ago faded landmark Delores’ restaurant and got to sample the restaurant’s secret recipe sauce. We were treated to the history of another long ago beloved restaurant, Herman’s Seafood, and treated to the famous Herman’s coleslaw (still served at The Garage restaurants around the metro).
We saved two historic railroad logos that were a part of viaduct bridges torn down to make way for the new Interstate 40. Those logos and the railing that were atop of them are now on display at the Oklahoma Railway Museum.
Retro Metro OKC members have enjoyed adventures including tours of the State Capitol, a rarely seen city clerk archives safe and the kitchen of historic Kaiser’s Ice Cream in Midtown.
We have a generous collection of videos, many provided by veteran ad man Jon Spence. They include interviews with WKY-TV veterans, commercials, color film of the city’s original Interurbans and streetcars, and speakers who have visited with our group.
All websites need a rebuilt by and 2017 it was apparent we needed a 2.0. But with thousands of photos, videos and documents ranging from restaurant menus to a ransom letter sent to the Hightower family, a rebuild would not be easy.
While we no longer had the assistance of Justin Moore, we were fortunate enough to be introduced by friend Casey Cornett to designer Ralph Miller, aremInteractive. The original site, brilliant in so many ways, always had flaws that we could never resolve.
The collections list was clunky and difficult to browse. The captions never displayed. We are thankful to Ralph for keeping intact the ease of browsing through the collections, clicking through as one used a children’s View-Master.
As the site relaunches, visitors will be treated to a new 1903 Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Collection and a Skirvin Hotel Collection. Updates will resume for the first time in three years.
This relaunch wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Inasmuch Foundation, Chip Fudge, Kenyon Morgan, Steve Mason, Howard Berry Jr. Elise Kilpatrick, Gary Brooks and Judy Burns.
Every year we’ve been blessed with members contributing their time and money to keep our history of Oklahoma City alive for future generations. Thank you to everyone.
Sincerely, Steve Lackmeyer, president of Retro Metro OKC.